Has there been any recent drop in your website traffic?
If yes, then did you try finding out the reason behind it?
Not really, right?
That’s the scenario with most of the website owners and novice SEO professionals. Even expert SEO guys also overlook those sudden decreases in traffic sometimes.
A day or two can be bad. In your busy schedule with other works, you may avoid analyzing your site’s performance. But its time you stop doing that now. Drawing more visitors to your website is the primary purpose of having a website. Then even a day drop in traffic is alarming.
If you don’t take appropriate actions on time, your site is likely to lose search ranking. Even though at present your website is performing well, remember that it is not permanent. Various analytic tools and quality control checking tools of the search engine is keeping a close watch on your website. The moment you violate Google’s SEO guidelines, you are at the receiving end for sure.
Hence, keep tracking your website performance. And if you observe any abnormalities in the site traffic, audit your website to find out the cause.
Here is a list of the reasons that may lead to a decline in website traffic. Have a look at them to prepare for the future.
One of the primary and common reasons for a drop in website traffic is site changes. If you have recently made any changes in the design of the website or the content, then traffic drip may occur. Hence, once you have done changes to your site, pay attention to its impact.
Before it’s too late and you end up amazed by sudden changes in the number of visitors, do your part. You can make use of Google Search Console (GSC) to monitor and track your site’s performance after site renovation.
Updates in Google Algorithm
Ranking on the search results is not easy? What algorithm works today may not be the same tomorrow. That’s because Google keeps updating its list of algorithms now and then. As a result of which, one may notice abrupt changes in their site traffic which may either be good or bad.
Any shift in Google’s search results ranking algorithms such as Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird may hurt your site rankings. This impacts your site visibility on the Google search results, causing a decrease in visitors. Hence, the moment you find a drop in traffic, you must go and check Google updates because that may be the reason for it.
To track the Google algorithm updates, you can make use of tracking tools such as a SEMrush sensor, MoZCast, etc. These tools will report the algorithm graph of a particular day or the last few days reflecting the changes if any. Such tools notify the ranking changes, SERP fluctuations, and other necessary information.
Search Engine Penalties
It’s not just the Google algorithm updates or site changes that may lead to a decline in your web traffic. You can become the subject of Google’s wrath if you violate the search engine’s webmaster quality guidelines. When caught doing so by human patrol, you will get a notice sent to your GSC account. However, if hackers are messing with your site and causing violations that you are unaware of, there is a help. You can contact the team to guide you through Google’s recovery guide in such cases.
Let’s check the scenarios for which Google may penalize your site:
Spammy and Irrelevant Links
As part of the customer engagement strategy, websites will have comment or review boxes below their blog posts, landing pages, testimonials, etc. However, such publicly available forums are often dangerous for brand reputation as well as for website. It’s not that every time the visitor makes a positive statement in your tweets, comment boxes, and other such forums. As a result of their posting of spammy and irrelevant links on the comment section of your site, you end up with violation charges.
Hence, to keep a check on such spam links and timely detect the violations due to this, adopt preventive measures. You can use anti-spam protections like reCAPTCHA plugin. Also, you can set up a nofollow link so that such hyperlinks do not impact the ranking of the link’s target in the search engine.
May be at times as part of link exchange policy, you might have let some external links enter your site. Often, such sneaky redirects to a suspicious or unforeseen site may hurt the brand reputation. Also, you may have to pay penalties for the violation of such paid links causes. The apparent impact of unnatural links on your site is sudden fluctuations in web traffic.
Therefore, what you need to do is check pages with redirects to revise the authenticity of destination URLs. Also, you can crawl your site with Fetch as Google tool to find out any discrepancies related to external links. If there is any risky link, the tool will show you how likely you are going to get a penalty. Based on your observation you can manually remove such links and submit a reconsideration request to Google for site revision.
You don’t need an effective SEO strategy to rank high in the search engine result pages (SERPs). It is the quality content that plays a crucial role in giving your website proper visibility on the Internet. The use of keywords greatly depends on the optimization of content that adds value to your site.
No matter how many pages you add, if your content is irrelevant, it is of no value. On the contrary, it will bring in trouble for your site, inviting Google violation penalties for thin content. Filling your page with too many links, duplicate and meaningless content can impact your on-page reputation in front of the search engine.
With content that doesn’t reflect relevant information about the services or product you offer, your overall site quality is going to suffer. As a result, your website visitor count gets poorly affected. Hence, audit your website using various SEO tools to keep a track on content quality, word count, backlinks, etc.
Sometimes, a traffic drop may be because of competitors doing well than you. Their strategies and efforts may have brought them to the top of search results, pushing your ranking down. Hence, when you notice something like this, go and do competitor analysis to check their ranking. Compare your site with theirs to note what they have done better than your website. Check competitor sites to find what new pages they have added, how is the quality of the content, what new they got, etc.
It may also happen because of a PPC campaigns set up by your competitor. Hence, find out whether they are targeting and bidding for those keywords for which you rank high. By doing so, they are driving away traffic from your site to theirs. If that is the scenario, you must start overbidding for the same keywords or target some other queries.
Loss of Valuable Backlinks
One of the main reasons for losing site traffic is the removal of backlinks from a reputed website. When trustworthy sites give backlink to your site, they help you build brand reputation and improve search visibility. Search engines find such references as a decisive factor based on which they consider your SEO ranking.
However, if they stop linking to your site or nofollows an existing followed link, you are likely to drop in ranking. And along with that witness decrease in website visits. Hence, at regular intervals analyze your backlink profile to pinpoint any loophole. You can use link analysis tools like Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, etc. to locate the problem.
Once you get to know from which source you have lost backlink, try to figure out the reason behind it. There may be multiple reasons for it such as design enhancements, changes in the URL structure, etc. The next step you should do is try gaining those links back. And for that, contact the website owner or webmaster to request them to place the link to your site. Also, work towards recovering affected pages to convince the site owners for giving backlinks again.
Error in Site Code
It’s not that always outside factors are responsible for site traffic upside down. Your developer can also be at fault for committing silly mistakes. Often, while testing a new functionality on the site’s main version, developers forget to give access in robots.txt. As a result, the page of the specific part of the site can go invisible from search bots. This may cause a drop in ranking. Hence, make sure that they set up .htaccess and robots.txt files in the proper way.
Also, there are times when developers while adding new functionality to the site may unfollow, noindex a specific page. The problem arises when they forget to index, follow the same page which after a site update. Such SEO mistake on the part of your website developer may impact SERP rankings, causing a decrease in traffic.
Clumsy Website Structure and Poor User Experience
Both search crawlers and your users hate going through websites with poor structure. You might be thinking what does clumsy site mean? Well! If your site is hard to navigate, comprises out-of-style designs, long inquiry forms, and slow to load, you have the answer. It not only drives away visitors but also annoys the search engine, impacting your rankings on the SERP.
The best way to offer your customers a seamless website experience is to design it in a way that delivers convenience. From your site URL to internal links, redirects, and the overall user experience should aim at giving comfort while navigating.
Ranking high in the SERP is a challenging process. Today your site can be at the top and tomorrow out of nowhere you can see a drop in its SERP position. However, nothing is consistent in the world of SEO, not even the search results. There are difficulties while on the other hand there are also ways to deal with it.
Drop in website traffic may disappoint you. However, if your SEO strategizes are in place, and you can study the situation and respond immediately to it, you are good to go. You can bring back the dropped ranking again with the right set of skills.