Website traffic is a crucial indicator of business performance. Traffic leads to sales and inquiries. Consistent visits from the same users mean repeat customers. If your website traffic drops suddenly or your rankings drop, you will lose opportunities that can impact your conversions as well as your sales.
Your website is losing visitors.
Finding out the reason your site is losing visitors is the first step in fixing this problem. These are the top 10 reasons website traffic drops.
1. Trends and updates on algorithmic trends
An algorithmic update could cause a drop in your web rankings. Google’s algorithm updates adjust factors to produce the best results. They are based on submitted queries and page relevance. Google could have penalized your website as a result.
A website traffic problem caused by an algorithm update could be illustrated in the 2012 case where several websites saw huge drops in traffic. The Penguin Algorithm Update, which changed link-building strategies dramatically, was released in 2012.
Websites were automatically ranked higher based on inbound links in 2012. Some marketers took advantage of this signal and created all sorts of linking strategies to get backlinks to their websites. Unfortunately, these black-hat strategies drove irrelevant content higher up search engine results pages. Google responded with the Penguin update. This update was created to detect web spam, reduce shady hyperlinks, and encourage high-quality content.
This case perfectly illustrates a situation where marketers use tactics they consider normal and then have those tactics invalidated or withdrawn by Google. As a result, their rankings dropped, or their websites didn’t show up in search engines due to the update.
Check if your website has been penalized by a search engine. For example, if your website is not ranking on one search engine but still ranks on another.
Google Search Console will show you warnings. It also has a Manual Action section that will allow you to see if there are any broken or non-compliances Google might have found on your site. These issues can be avoided by focusing on high-quality, informative content and not leveraging cheap or shady techniques.
2. Website and design changes
Other than algorithm updates, there may be website changes that impact the site’s performance. For example, most website speed and load times are affected by design changes. Also, make sure to check if the website traffic has been migrated.
Here are some things you should be aware of:
- Correctly mapped are 301 redirects
- Images load correctly
- No issues are reported with the content
- Your new site has an inbound link structure.
Google Analytics is a great tool to monitor traffic sources and determine if any errors have occurred.
3. Keyword cannibalization
Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages on your website compete for the same keyword search query or keyword. It could be because some pages have the same topic as others or because you accidentally optimized pages for the exact keyphrase.
Google Search Console allows you to check for keyword cannibalization. Go to the performance report, and you will automatically see a list containing queries that people use to locate your site. You can click on any of these queries by clicking the “pages tab,” and you’ll be able to see a list with URLs and pages that rank for it. It could indicate that multiple URLs are showing. It will also have associated stats that will allow you to determine which page is most valuable for your query. Make the adjustments.
4. Tracking code errors
Are you sure your tracking codes are working correctly?
An issue with Google Analytics or Tags may cause a traffic drop.
Verify that your code works correctly. If you have any questions, please get in touch with your web developer.
5. Failed redirects
Broken redirects can be the reason your ranking drops, especially when you have just launched a website or moved to a new server.
You should ensure that your 301 redirect strategy is in place. 301 redirects will notify search engines that a page or page on your site has been removed. You’re asking them for all visitors to the new address, not your old one.
Search engines may take some time to rank a page when it is moved to a different URL.
Your hosting server or site will determine the implementation of 301 redirects. In addition, many platforms provide plugins or solutions that make it easy to implement redirects.
6. Competitors are improving
Your competitors may be increasing their marketing efforts and causing a drop in traffic.
Analyze and compare the activities, SEO strategies, content, and other information of your competitors. You can use tools such as Semrush, a competitor analysis tool, to gather data about their backlinking activities, keywords that they are using, and any other activities they’re engaging in.
You can also work with an SEO company to determine your competitors’ strategies and how you could outperform them. They will then help you implement the appropriate activities.
You can find out what your competitors are doing to be ahead of you by analyzing their ranking and how they are outranking you.
7. Inadequacy of meta-information
Although meta information is an important ranking signal for Google, it’s often overlooked. Google uses Meta information to match keywords to users’ search queries. It also allows Google to determine the content of a website quickly.
You should check if there is any meta-information on a page. Next, check if your meta title and description contain the root keywords that accurately describe this page.
Google Analytics can be accessed to determine if the dip was due to organic search, paid searches, or social media.
Check your Google Ads keywords and metadata to determine if the traffic is coming from paid advertisements. If the traffic is organic, you should review your sitemap.xml, SSL, and robots.txt.
8. Server overload
Server problems are not uncommon and may cause your traffic to drop. It could be due to a broken caching function or an empty markup by a Googlebot.
Google’s Fetch and Render tool in Google Search Console can be used to determine if the problem is a server issue. This tool will display how your website’s URLs or pages are crawled and how they render.
9. Speed of page
Page speed is a critical factor in user experience. Google’s Page Experience update addresses this metric under Core Web Vitals.
If a page takes more than three seconds to load, it will get bounced higher, which means Google knows that people don’t want to view your content. Page speed is affected by many elements, including large image files, unneeded plugins, and web design.
Google PageSpeed Insights will show you how pages perform.
You can fix, update, or remove any elements on your website that are slow to load. For example, large files can slow down page speed.
10. Lost links
Losing links can have a significant impact on your website and lead to considerable traffic drops. Google considers losing an inbound link to a page a sign that it is less authoritative. Therefore, it can lead to lower rankings, fewer site visits, and reduced traffic.
Link building is one of the best ways to increase your website’s rank on search engines. It is because it validates your content as well as your website’s credibility.
You can validate your hypothesis using Ahrefs backlink checker tool.
Ahrefs is a tool that will allow you to find information about:
- Site-wide link decline
- Link decline for a page
- Link decline on external pages which provided an inbound link to your website
By using other link-building strategies, you can always recover lost links:
- Guest posting
- Influencer marketing offers links to earn affiliate links
- Social media marketing: Earn more social shares by diving into it
Be calm and optimize
Although traffic decline can be a source of anxiety for marketers, it is a natural part of the cycle.
There will be adjustments to the system as with any marketing strategy. You can only adapt to the changes and be equipped with the necessary SEO tools and knowledge to create a better plan.
Search engine optimization will continue to exist for as long as people use the internet. It will also continue to evolve. There may be other issues that you are facing. You can take a calm approach to the problem and use the list to help you evaluate it. You’ll find the causes of traffic problems and be able to fix them.
Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in this article are the authors Judge Napolitano.