How to Correct Declining Website Traffic
It’s quite normal if your website’s traffic has flows and ebbs. These random surges and dips can be attributed to typical user behavior. However, you should be concerned if your site’s high traffic becomes reduced to low numbers. To resolve this problem, you should first analyze its cause. For your reference, we provide pointers on some common reasons for traffic reduction as well as suggestions on how to correct them.
Diagnosing Decline in Website Traffic
To start, put aside your worries as all common traffic decline issues are solvable. Begin by diagnosing the concern. Follow the below steps to identify the reason for the traffic decrease.
Is Your Site Analytics Functioning Properly?
A common reason for traffic decline is the incorrect working of your measuring solutions such as Google Analytics. Even if you make a small mistake, you could miss some valuable data reported by these tools. Your website may be working fine, but the issue may be with the gauging. For instance, if you make some alterations to your site, the tracking code of your analytics may stop monitoring. Another reason could be an outdated plugin on the site that requires updating.
Therefore, start by checking your analytics product. Most people use Google Analytics so check if your Google Search Console or Analytics dashboard provides any error alerts that could inform you about a tracking problem.
Does the Tracking Code Match the Source Code?
Quite often, the data could be wrong. Google Analytics matches a website’s source code to its tracking code. There should be an exact match between these numbers. Otherwise, the site is wrong and the information is not accurate. If these aspects are working properly, you need to do further diagnosis for which you first need some more info.
What is the Timeline over which the Site Traffic Reduced?
Study your traffic curve over the past 3 to 6 months to get a complete picture and view the changes. Then, use the below checklist items to find out the cause and note it for later reference.
Did Your Traffic Decline over Time or Suddenly?
This data can tell you how urgently you need to tackle the matter. If the issue happened suddenly, it means the situation is dire and needs prompt action. Steep traffic drops could be because of a hacker attack, a competitor weaning away your site traffic, or a Google penalty. If the traffic decline has occurred gradually over a period of time, the issue is persistent and you need to intervene and set things right.
Rule out Temporary or Seasonal Drop
There could be temporary or seasonal dips in your site traffic. These can be resolved by careful strategy and planning. For this, you can use Google Analytics’ compare feature in its dashboard. Go back and view your website’s traffic history in the past few years and identify any trends which could reveal a seasonal dip in traffic.
The seasonal decline will end after the season gets over. But you can prevent it from happening in the first instance by adopting an appropriate strategy. To analyze your site traffic thoroughly, you should reviews factors such as the latest stats offered by your analytics tool, the websites of your competitors, backlinks, and historical changes in your website’s traffic.
Which Traffic Metrics have been Affected the Most?
The next step is to determine which metrics have been impacted. The first thing to look at here is the organic traffic flowing to your site. You should also dig deeper and look at other factors like:
Analyze traffic sources. See if you can find any traffic sources which stopped delivering visitors to your website. This could be a social platform post whose link has got broken because of which it is no longer sending traffic to your website.
Learn about your visitors. Compare your site’s returning visitors with new visitors. If there is a drop in the number of new visitors, something may be wrong with your website’s SEO. This can means you could be losing traffic to your competitors.
Further, if there is a steep drop in returning visitors, the reason could be a non-functional link in a marketing message that you sent. Or, the retention and conversion elements of your brand’s marketing plan may need enhancements.
Learn about devices’ contributions to your site traffic. Find out the number of visitors coming to your website from mobile devices versus desktops. Check if either shows an abnormal traffic drop. The reasons could be that your site does not appear properly on one of the devices, or you may have removed content that targeted one of the two segments.
How to Identify Potential Causes of Traffic Decline
Next, let’s look in detail at potential problem areas for your site’s traffic:
Check for Lost or Broken Backlinks
A broken or lost backlink to your site may be the issue. The source site may be a big contributor to your traffic and its admin may have taken off the link by mistake or intentionally, or the site may no longer be functional. You can fix this issue by sending an email to the person who created the backlink to your website so that they can correct the mistake and have the backlink restored.
Analyze Recently Completed Advertising Campaigns
The completion of a recent marketing or pay-per-click (PPC) campaign could be a reason for traffic loss. This is normal and it also means that the ad or marketing campaign has been effective. Therefore, you should restart it or launch a similar initiative to sustain the gains. Keep checking periodically after restarting a winning campaign to make sure your site traffic continues to increase.
Removal of Best-Performing Content
If you have performed some cleaning recently and taken out content or pages that you thought were not useful, you should think about restoring them. It’s better to analyze your existing content thoroughly before you decide to delete it. Be aware of how much traffic it is generating for your site. Don’t assume anything but make decisions based on hard analytics facts.
Note Alterations to Content Promotion Initiatives
Your traffic could be negatively impacted by changes to your promotional efforts for your blog posts or website. For instance, you may have stopped publishing social platform posts or stopped including content links in your brand’s weekly newsletter. These can certainly reduce your number of visitors. To counteract this effect, you should improve your brand’s content promotion plans. If a content piece is performing exceptionally well, you can utilize that inspiration and base new content on it for promotion.
Not Updating Your Content Regularly
Another possible reason for site traffic drop changes to existing content. You need to regularly update your site’s content including its blog. Have a regular publishing schedule for your blog and keep posting fresh content on other sections of your site too. If there is a tough competition for certain targeted keywords, aim to post about 3 or 4 times a week. The benefits are added value to your visitors as well as the provision of more number of web pages for indexing to Google’s search algorithm.
If you do not regularly update your pages and content, Google will view your site as stale and old. This will impact your site’s visibility in search results. Therefore, implement an effective content maintenance strategy for your site.
High Bounce Rates
If your site’s bounce rate is high, it means visitors are quickly exiting your site. This reduces your chances of converting them. The reason for the high bounce rate could be non-engaging content which doesn’t give visitors what they are looking for. The bounce rate is a vital ranking factor so you should tackle and resolve this issue quickly.
Apart from the lack of relevant content, other contributing reasons for a high bounce rate are difficulty in navigation and slow site loading time. If your site shows a high bounce rate, contact a web developer and designer who can properly assess your website and recommend fixes to the problems they identify.
Web Design Issues
Recent changes to your website’s functionality or design could have impacted the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). It’s important for your website to provide a positive UX to facilitate closer engagement with visitors. If visitors face difficulty in navigation, they’ll quickly leave your site and not come back at all. Therefore, ensure your website is designed based on the principles provided by organizations like the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
Also, remember to test any design changes before making them permanent. Introduce alterations in small groups and individually test each change. Don’t make all the alterations simultaneously.
A Google Algorithm Update Could Have Affected Your Site
Changes to Google’s algorithm can weaken a site’s ranking and reduce its traffic. Google delivers vital updates 4 times per year. So, check if recent updates are the reason for your site’s traffic woes. Then, find out more about the changes made and identify which specific one could be impacting your site. Next, make the needed changes and reassess your strategy to tackle the update’s requirement so that traffic is restored to your site.
Your Website Faced a Google Penalty
Even if your site is penalized by Google, you can reverse it. Google may issue an official manual penalty if your site breaks its guidelines for webmaster quality. The severity of the penalty depends on the website and the problem identified with it by Google. You should take this issue seriously and rectify it as fast as possible.
To find out if you received a penalty, check if there is a notification in your Google Search Console. Google also provides resources to instruct and educate website owners about how they can resolve the penalty and get their website back up to speed. After fixing the concerning issue, you can request Google to review and remove the penalty. If Google is satisfied with the resolution, they’ll take away the penalty and your site can start gaining traffic again.
Competitors are Taking Away Your Site Traffic
Check if your competitors are taking away your website traffic, and re-assess your SEO strategies to manage this problem. It’s not enough to just get a high ranking in search results pages. You also need to implement effective content strategies to maintain a high ranking.
Otherwise, your competitors can gain control over your main keywords. Therefore, your SEO strategies should also focus on attracting traffic from your competitors’ sites too. If your site’s traffic is reducing because it ranks below your competitors, you should reanalyze your strategy. Hire a digital marketing specialist to make your SEO plan effective again.
Web Host Restrictions
Some web hosting providers limit important features like the number of visitors, site speed, and others. This is not an issue for non-business, small websites as they do not get loads of traffic and can save money too.
But if your business website is hosted on this type of package and you face an unexplained loss in site traffic, you should analyze your website’s error logs. Quite possibly, an alteration to your web hosting plan could be the reason for your traffic drop.
Hire Pros to Fix the Problems
As our article shows, there could be many possible reasons for a website’s declining traffic. You need to analyze and resolve the concern by troubleshooting one issue at a time. Try all the above-provided strategies and you’ll certainly be able to identify and resolve the problem. Then, your website will start gaining traffic once again and keep it for good.