Why has your website traffic dropped?

There can be many reasons why your website dropped in rankings: more often than not it drops suddenly, leaving you questioning what on earth has happened. Knowing why is half the battle so being able to correct and boost your traffic will consequently improve rankings and more customers.

Traffic drop analysis is not a path leading to a quick fix – you have to check for every tiny detail and work out why there’s been a decline and how you can fix it but the below information can assist you in your search and improve your traffic and rankings.

8 Reasons your website traffic has dropped:

1. Visibility

Are you actually on Google as an available site when searched? You can check this using Google Search Console.

Just because you’ve made content live on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean that it is visible on a search engine. Using keywords and structuring your web pages for Google search are a couple of ways to improve this.

Recommended read: 8 common technical SEO issues and how to fix them

2. Have you been penalised by Google?

Using outdated or spam links can incur a penalty from Google; they have clear guidelines on what they consider to be low-quality links here. Whilst on the subject of Google penalties, duplicate content penalties are a problem for your rankings which in turn harms your SEO. Duplicate content occurs when two or more URLs have the same content.

When Google issues your website with a penalty you will receive a ‘manual action’ (penalty) report in the Google Search Console. The message will describe what the problem is and examples of URLs where the manual action has been applied.

If you haven’t received a notification about a penalty, then you’ll need to investigate further to find out what is causing the dip in traffic to your website.

Example of manual penalty warning from Google Search Console

3. Changes in the trends

Natural changes or trends in Google searches can be a source of traffic decline. Google is constantly learning and responds to what is being searched in order to provide the latest information.

A sudden increase in searches for a specific topic could push your content further down the search results. Check Google Trends to see if this is why your website traffic has.

4. Keyword ranking changes

Ranking data refreshes every 24 hours so fluctuations in keyword data isn’t unusual. A competitor who is on top of updating their content more frequently is likely to increase their website traffic further. Updating your rankings regularly will help to keep your website traffic high. Depending on your business it can be anything between hourly and weekly.

5. Algorithm changes

You may have heard of this term thanks to social media (Instagram’s algorithm change means certain people can’t see my content). 

Search engines are constantly altering their algorithms to optimise and improve search results. Algorithms are essentially a data retrieval system – this system ranks searched data to deliver the most appropriate website when keywords are entered. Effective marketing uses a variety of channels to avoid major algorithm changes plummeting your traffic.

6. Geolocation discrepancies

A performance report for your website can reveal a number of things regarding search data categorised into mobile data, page specific, media specific, or global location. 

Ensure that your site settings enable accessibility from the locations being searched such as language version.

Recommended read: Setting up your website’s multilingual SEO: What you should be doing

7. UX (User Experience)

If it’s information your customers are looking for, then you just need to keep it simple; be precise, a first read is often a scan, if your website delivers an optimal user experience and your customers can find the content they’re looking for in an initial scan read then they’re more likely to come back to or continue reading more in depth.

8. Site speed

Similarly, the speed at which your pages load have an impact on the time a customer would spend on your site.

Long gone have the days of dial-up connection taking 6 minutes to load a short paragraph. Using Google’s PageSpeed tool, you can check the speed. If your pages are loading slowly, a few solutions include but not limited to: upgrading your host, reducing the number of external resources or enabling browser caching. Need help with that? Get in touch with our technical SEO team!

Don't panic, traffic drops are very common

Google updates its algorithm very often, and often does so without a warning.

These changes are likely to affect you. Quite often a redesign will change how your content will be seen not just by customers but by Google as well. The time to be concerned about a drop in Google traffic is if your rankings don’t return to a similar level before you implemented said changes.

Think of it like moving your furniture around so you’re not walking past in front of the TV every time you want to leave the room but you’re yet to get used to the new layout so you’re a little out of sorts. You soon get used to it but it doesn’t happen in an instant.

Keeping on top of your website traffic is a minefield of terms and information but sticking a plaster on a burst pipe only delays the inevitable. SEO plays the long game that is required for improving your ranking and in turn gaining more website traffic which equals more customers.

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