7 Reasons for a Sudden Drop in Website Traffic
One fine day, you realize that your website traffic is dropping. Why? It would be best if you had an answer (and a solution) quickly. Of course, a drop in traffic to a site can occur for a variety of reasons.
This post covers the 7 most common causes for drop in website traffic, along with solutions to each problem.
Is Your data Accurate?
When organic traffic drops and search results rankings change, check the accuracy of your data first. Ensure that you don’t go wrong by omitting data, device type, or page type for a certain period.
In addition, there is nothing abnormal in the fluctuations. Sometimes you may observe that there was some turbulence, but the page recovered on its own. You have no idea what caused this sudden drop. Google probably played with its algorithm before backing down.
It is therefore essential to keep a cool head and see if the situation resolves on its own. To relax, you can analyze the statistics by calculating the average fluctuation in traffic. For example, you can look at your monthly traffic over the past 12 months and calculate the average deviation.
If the decline seems lasting to you, then read on! We will see together what are the avenues to follow and how to correct the situation.
1. Manual penalty of a search engine
Manual actions are taken by Google human reviewers when they determine that one or more pages on your site do not meet Google’s guidelines for webmasters.
The sanctions imposed by Google have several causes, the most common of which are:
- Your site has been hacked
- You misuse markup
- You indulge in keyword stuffing
- Your site contains spam
- Your site contains hidden text
- You have unnatural backlinks
- You have content without added value
You can learn more about getting out of this situation by reading How to Get Out of a Google Penalty?
2. An update of the algorithm
The most common reason for decreased website traffic is an algorithm update.
Search engines like Google and Bing are always looking to improve the search experience because a better search experience means happy users. Happy users represent greater loyalty and, therefore, more significant market share.
It is, therefore, common for search engines to update their algorithms. However, this update may change your website’s ranking in search results. It can improve or decrease your rankings, but it almost always impacts your site traffic.
If the Google algorithm changes and your website moves up a page for a keyword, it can result in a drastic drop in site traffic. It would help if you adapted your SEO strategy to take these updates into account. A cross-channel marketing strategy, for example, can help your business gain website traffic from multiple sources.
While search engines like Google rarely comment on changes to their algorithm, SEO experts often publish their research and highlight what the update has brought about. This information can help your team audit your site and make any corrections to improve your rankings.
3. Your keyword strategy is outdated
An aging keyword strategy can also lead to a decline in traffic. If your site is facing a gradual decrease in traffic, you need to evaluate your keyword strategy.
Because people (and their search habits) change, so does your content and how it ranks in search results.
Google Trends shows you for free how search (and even buying) habits are changing. Before the advent of the smartphone, people tended to search for “cell phones”. But today, the vast majority of users use the word “smartphone”.
Your website traffic could be affected if your business doesn’t adapt to the changes in your industry. Since the content on your site will no longer seem relevant or helpful to users, search engines will gradually downgrade it in their results.
Even if you only have a small website, your team should invest time to optimize and revise its content. The return on investment is substantial.
Increase your website traffic by auditing your keyword strategy, which should follow these steps:
- Search for obsolete keywords,
- Search for alternative keywords with higher search volume
- Revision of your content to include these alternative keywords (headers, titles, content.)
This new content can help your business not only catch up to its old level in the SERPS but also improve its ranking in search results, ultimately gaining additional traffic.
4. The competition is catching up with you
Nothing may be wrong with your website, but your competition has improved. Even though this is rare, it can cause a drop in rankings. However, you should investigate your competitor’s activities if you lose a few places on several queries.
Use the SERPS history to see the evolution of the ranking for you and your competitors:
- If the changes are ‘chaotic’ (new websites appear, frequent changes, lots of movement), you are probably experiencing the Google’ dance’ – a short period of high SERPS volatility due to minor changes. algorithms. In this specific case, no action is necessary.
- If you discover that few same websites are taking over several of your positions, it is time to investigate. If a competitor has beaten you on many keywords, they’ve probably improved their entire site. In that case, take a look at their website and see if the competitor outperforms you, either in terms of technical optimization or the size and quality of their backlink profile.
- If you have seen changes in only a few keywords. In that case, the cause is probably on-page optimization: The competitor has followed point #3 of this article and is updating their pages one by one, improving the content by optimizing its keywords, headers, and HTML tags. In that case, visit the pages in question, see the difference with your pages, and borrow optimization ideas.
5. Loss of backlinks
Just as acquiring new low-quality links can impact your performance in the SERPS, losing the high-quality links you already have can also affect your SEO. To check if lost links are the reason for your ranking, you will need to assess your backlink situation and see if there have been any critical losses.
If you want to recover a lost backlink, the first thing is to contact the webmaster. The way to proceed depends on the nature of the links.
- Do you have a relationship with the owner of the site? If this is the case, a simple phone call may be enough to retrieve the link.
- If you don’t know the webmaster, you can use email, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
6. Changes to your site
If you make significant changes to your site, like a redesign or a CMS change, the risk of seeing it in your rankings is excellent. The trouble is even greater if you have not consulted. How to migrate a site without impacting SEO?
A simple oversight can have severe consequences for your SEO performance and lead to a reasonably marked drop in traffic.
If you’ve recently made any changes to your site, open the Google Search Console and go to Index> Coverage. A sharp increase in errors or warnings corresponding to the dates of site changes should be enough to confirm your suspicions. Switch between tabs and view the Error Report to see any issues since you implemented the changes to your site.
Luckily, Google records and describes all crawling and indexing issues discovered in the Coverage tab, making it relatively easy to identify and fix the problem.
7. Mobile-First Indexing
Search engines are mainly concerned with making the web mobile. When it comes to Google’s ranking, mobile-friendly websites have taken priority.
Not having a mobile version of your site can also explain a sudden change in rankings as well as a drop in traffic.
Or, more simply, one of your competitors could have optimized their site for mobile devices and, as a result, have outperformed you in this area.
I may have forgotten one or more of the possible causes of a sudden drop in the rankings. However, it seems to me to cover the leading causes, and I am curious if you have ever experienced such a situation and your way of solving the problem.
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