Why is Ecommerce Traffic Down?

A question that will continue to be asked in 2023

Part of being in the SEO business is answering people’s questions, even when they are not a customer. We’ve been getting the same question from large ecommerce sites starting mostly in the second half of 2022; their traffic has dropped and they don’t know why. No matter that we do an independent audit for each site, the answer is usually the same. Here’s a recent response to you might find valuable. I have obscured identifiable information.

************************************************

Hello,

Thanks for reaching out, happy to help! I have a lot to say here based on what we’re seeing with our customers, and what we found auding your site.

Market conditions:

From the data I am looking at, the main reason for your traffic drop is a reduction in search volume (market conditions), and not anything you are doing right or wrong. The reason I say this is your keyword rank is actually improving; you’ve gained 2,700 new keywords in the last 30 days and have either held or improved the position on your top existing keywords. For example, you have maintained your #1 position for for “####”, yet traffic for this keyword is down by 9,600. When rank has either maintained or improved, yet traffic is down, that can only be from a reduction in the number of searches. We have been seeing a reduction in search volume in nearly all industries this entire year, but especially starting around the second half of 2022.

Google algorithm changes:

Google released its Helpful Content update this year and it hit ecommerce sites hard. The main reason is product descriptions. Many ecommerce sites with hundreds or thousands of product pages do not write unique product descriptions and instead copy/paste what the manufacturer provides. The result is thousands of product pages on the internet all with the same content; Google is quickly de-prioritizing pages like this in favor of websites who take the time and effort to write their own. If you have taken the time to write unique content, the next thing to check is if the word count is high enough – each product page should have ~hundreds of words of content and include things like FAQ and other information that sets the page apart from the thousands of other similar pages Google has seen before. Also be careful with pages that do product reviews or comparisons – Google doesn’t want to see this unless the author of the page has first-hand experience with the products. This is absolutely destroying affiliate sites (and meant to). I realize you are not an affiliate site, but you might have product review pages.

I am confident the main reason for your traffic drop is market conditions. I realize many of your customers are in recession-proof industries such as healthcare, but others are in hospitality and similar. The media seems reluctant to admit we’re in a recession, but we work with over 100 customers each month and many came to use because sales have dropped ~30% for no apparent reason and need to get them back. Thankfully there are steps that can be taken to improve this.

The good news is your SEO and rank is doing excellent and whether you are doing your own SEO or working with an agency, you/they deserve kudos. Because of your excellent SEO, you are probably experiencing less of a traffic drop than many of your competitors. Whatever SEO you are doing, I recommend not only continuing, but increasing it. When search volume is down, the answer is to increase your SEO to get a larger share of the available market.

If you want to hear about the SEO services we offer, just ask!

Thanks!
Rank Harvest