It is well known that Google is one of the primary traffic source for blogs. Almost every webmaster in the world, work every day to get free traffic especially from Google. I am sure that you would have learnt a lot about SEO and applied lot of those stuffs to your web sites or blogs. Of course, it may work some time and it may not work some other time. That’s all about SEO because you don’t have much control over it. However, you can always optimize your site to the best for search engines esp. Google, it helps to get better results as expected.

SEO ranking factors and Google’s algorithms are undergoing changes almost every week. New forms of updates in the name of panda, penguin were rolled and they are hitting web sites hardly. Many lost traffic and many gained too. The industry is always dynamic in nature. You must be attentive to those changes or atleast try to understand them. This way, you can go along with the market and make your web sites always optimized correctly for search engines.

Today, social signals are playing a vital role in ranking web pages on Google (the number of Facebook Likes, Tweets, Google Pluses) apart from backlink’s that was considered as one of the important parameter earlier. At the same time, considering these new parameters you should not forget those old SEO advices/recommendations.

I mean, on-page SEO optimizations are still relevant and 100% well-grounded. That’s where this case study comes into picture.

Recently, I updated my theme title section to use a div style format and while doing that, unknowing I removed something. What happened you know? I lost bulk of  Google Traffic in few days (less than a week).

I was surprised.

Later, I thought back to the last change that I did in my theme and I noticed that something were missing.

I added it back to the title and traffic came back to normal, in few days.

Sound’s interesting ?

One Tweak To Lose Google Traffic.

Okay, now you may ask, what’s that one small tweak that helped to lose my Google Traffic ?

That’s simply, H1 Tags.

How I Lost Google Traffic ?

This happened accidently, when I removed the H1 tag from the theme’s source code. The effect, Google traffic came down more than 50% !

I was working on this new design for my blog (what you are seeing today). It got an option to disable the blog post titles (titled using H1 tag).

I disabled it and formatted the title using div style instead of H1 tag.

Once Google started re-indexing the pages, it didn’t found any H1 tags and hence most of my blog posts were slowly ranked down on the result pages. Traffic came down slowly and in less than a week, it came more than 50% down.

Because when h1 tags are missing, search engines could not understand the sole purpose of that page.

This clearly tells that, “Google is seriously looking for H1 tags”.

How I Recovered Google Traffic ?

Simply, I added back H1 tag to my theme. The effect as expected, Google traffic recovered back to where it was earlier.

I know, I can recover this traffic loss back.

Once Google started re-indexing the pages, this time it found H1 tags. Slowly, it repositioned all my blog posts back to the original position on the result pages and hence traffic came back to its original level.

This again clearly tells that, Google is seriously looking for H1 tags.

The following capture from Google Analytics shows, how the traffic came down immediately after the change (H1 tag removed) and how it recovered back once i reverted the change (added H1 tag).Google_Traffic_Lost_And_Recovered

The Learning.

Make sure the titles in your blog posts/pages are tagged with <h1>.

The content tagged with H1 tag clearly tells, what’s the page is all about. Without title, search engines could not recognize or understand the purpose of the page and hence it can’t show your pages on its result pages (even though, you have enough content on the page).

There are so many factors considered by search engines in order to rank a page on the top including social signals, backlinks etc. However, the very basic stuff – the on-page optimization (esp. H1 tags) still holds a major share in ranking your pages. Hence you should always pay much attention to on-page optimization than any thing else.

Here in BlashO, I always make sure:

  • Using clean design, optimized WordPress theme like Avada.
  • Being focused on my topic without compromising quality.

I hope this case study helps you to understand the major impact of this minor change and how important, the h1 tags. Again, make sure the titles in your posts/pages are <h1> tagged.

Have you ever experienced such traffic loss ? and how did you recovered back ?


About the Author:

I love-to-code, passionate-to-write, an upcoming author, and WordPress enthusiast. Here at BlashO, I mostly share WordPress tips. Connect with me @Twitter.

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