Recently, one of our clients experienced a 30% drop in organic traffic compared to that same month last year. There had been a lot of aesthetic work done to the website as of late and we knew this can briefly impact rankings as Google recrawls the new design. However, if this was the case we would have expected a brief dip followed by a rebound. What we were seeing is more of a slow consistent decline. Most of these pages had also received some type of minor re-optimization, yet there had been no change in the trend for traffic, thus we suspected the decline in traffic was unlikely to have been an issue with the on-page optimization of this content. Due to this, we determined that we need to also consider potential changes in search behavior over the last year. Using Google Trends we reviewed the historical activity for our client’s keywords that were related to the impacted pages and we found a clear decline in activity for these types of searches. We then took this data and compared it side-by-side to the website traffic and discovered very similar trend lines where activity dropped, picked up briefly, then dropped again, all of which were on the same timelines as the Google Trends report. Additionally, when looking at the actual search results, we noticed a change in the layout of the search results page, specifically, the addition of the “People Also Ask” snippet. Google has continued to roll out this snippet for more searches and now it’s common to find this displaying before any actual search results. Because our client had been ranking towards the top of page 1, we suspected this could be playing a role in the traffic drop as well. Unless your website is occupying each question in that snippet, which is pretty much unheard of, it can certainly impact the traffic to the website as it’s a modified version of a first-place result in some cases. Even if you are ranking #1 organically, you can be losing traffic if you don’t also occupy at least some of the snippet questions. In our client’s case, they went from being ranked #1 with no snippet, to being ranked #2 with a snippet present above their search result that they were not being featured in. Both of these factors contributed to our client’s performance that month and warranted a deeper dive into this search behavior to identify a potential shift in content creation strategy and content optimization strategy based on these findings.