Official Google help: rankings are up but traffic is down

On Twitter, travel blogger Valerie Stimac complained that her traffic numbers from Google search were down although her website ranked better than over on Google Search. Google’s Danny Sullivan explained why this can happen.

Official Google help

What exactly happened?

Travel blogger Valerie Stimac shared some numbers: the position of her website in Google’s search results was up, but CTR was down, impressions were down almost 50%, and clicks were down 70%. Her conclusion was that Google eroded organic traffic.

Google’s Danny Sullivan joined the discussion on Twitter and he gave some reasons why traffic can be down although the position is up.

Reason 1: the topic is no longer popular

If the website is about a topic that is no longer popular, it is likely that the number of visitors drop. For example, if you had a page about something more popular in 2019 than 2020, impressions could totally drop because of that, even if you ranked higher.

As people travel less during the COVID-19 pandemic, this might be the reason why the website gets fewer visitors.

Valerie accepted the answer as an explanation for the impressions drop. However, it was still unclear why the click-through-rate (CTR) would drop with fewer impressions and higher positions.

Reason 2: other pages are listed in the search results

Danny Sullivan said that the website might be ranking better for a less popular thing, and the page or title or description are less attractive to people.

If a website is listed with uninteresting pages in the search results, it’s likely that these pages won’t get many clicks from searchers.

How to optimize your web pages

Getting high rankings for the right search terms is important if you want to get many website visitors. It is also important that your web pages look good in Google’s search results. The SEO tools in SEOprofiler help you with that:

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".