How to Recover Your Lost SEO Traffic from 2021

Jenna Lamb, online marketing analyst at Ontario SEO
Jenna Lamb
January 24, 2022
How to Recover Your Lost Traffic from 2021

2021 was a challenge for businesses in more ways than one. Just when you most needed your website to have good search rankings because so many were doing business remotely or shopping online, Google launched several significant Core Updates and changes to their algorithms that affected websites around the world. Many sites lost traffic because of these changes. Recovering that search traffic in 2022 should be a top priority for your business. 

Why did my organic traffic decline?

The changes to Google’s search algorithms and three core updates, all overlapping or being launched in the same time frame, wreaked havoc for those who weren’t prepared. Add that the immense and unpredictable changes in search volume caused by lockdowns and remote working during COVID, and volatility in organic traffic was primed to happen.

Diagnosing the exact reasons for losing organic traffic can be complex. We recommend using Google Analytics to start analyzing if, and when, your pages dropped organic traffic. Then using Google Search Console to identify specific page and sitewide issues.

Here are a few factors that may lead to organic traffic declines for businesses in 2021:

Core Web Vitals & User Experience Updates

The three-month rollout of Google’s Page Experience Update wrapped up in September. However, in early summer we saw many of our clients’ websites affected, particularly by the importance of the new “Core Web Vitals” metrics in ranking.

Currently, a high page rating on Core Web Vitals requires secure, fast-loading pages on mobile. Just under 2/3rds of Google searches are performed on mobile devices. Make sure your pages are optimized speed on mobile devices. Google has announced plans to have this same speed and security update rolled out for desktop in early 2022.

Link Spam & Guest Blogs 

The number and quality of backlinks have been a mainstay in how a site ranks in organic search results. In 2021, the quality of those backlinks was scrutinized more than ever. Google frowns on unnatural links, those that come from spammy guest blogs, sponsored content, or affiliate links. These unvalued, lackluster links are now being filtered out with Google algorithms. 

Quality or natural backlinks, those from trusted websites, industry publications, and media outlets, can be the most important part of your SEO strategy. These aren’t easy to obtain and rely on quality content. 


Serve your users. Deliver expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT). Google’s algorithms are much better at understanding the quality of content in 2022. This is particularly important for Your money or your life (YMYL) sites, like finance or healthcare.

How does your site hold up under EAT scrutiny? Make sure your business name, phone number and physical address (where applicable) are transparent and easily identifiable on your website. Align your website with your Google Business Profile and update your off-site web citations to align with your website information (I.e. update that old BBB profile and Yellow Pages listing!).

Quality Content

Ask yourself if your site is truly addressing your users’ needs. Thin content, keyword stuffing, and poor page structure, all impact the user experience and your Google organic search rankings.

Ask yourself:

  • Does your content answer a question or solve a problem? 
  • Is the language on your site plain and easy to read? 
  • Does your content have as much information as your competitors? 
  • Is an expert writing the copy for your website? 
  • Are your site pages clean, not cluttered with pop-ups or ads? 

Content has been king in SEO for a long time. In 2022 it also has to be good content.  

Navigating organic traffic losses is challenging. Ontario SEO can help you regain the traffic you lost in 2021.  We are experts at diagnosing SEO issues and addressing them.