Website traffic monitoring tools (like Google Analytics) give business owners the power to gauge website traffic—but it comes with a downfall. Business owners can see when website traffic increases (yeah!) and drops suddenly (bad). (It is important to note that every website experiences periodic decreases in website traffic.) A sharp (and continual) drop in website traffic interrupts reaching marketing goals and occurs for an infinite number of reasons.
Not every busy business owner has time to sift through an endless list of reasons for a website traffic drop, especially when every minute is incredibly valuable. This list of the most common reasons for drops in website traffic can give any website owner a start in correcting the problem (and, hopefully, a resolution). For a full analysis, contact professionals that can diagnose the issue and recommend future actions that resolve the issue and enhance current marketing efforts.
Sometimes the reason for a drop in website traffic is not related to traffic at all. The actual reason for the sudden decrease occurs because of an error with the measurement tool.
Search engine giant Google lists an incorrect URL as one of the most common reasons. This problem can easily be fixed by double checking every character of the URL entered. One letter or an incorrect character can be the source of a data problem.
The drop can also be attributed to an incorrect report, such as the wrong type of report or dates. A second glance at the report can minimize any panic attacks or headaches. When using Google Analytics, ensure that the report reflects the desired data time (i.e. hourly, daily, monthly).
Search engines continuously crawl the web and index website pages. Google gives a brief overview of the process in this article. Most website owners expect that continual process to occur immediately, especially after requesting a website crawl. In reality, there can be delays in crawling and indexing. If the website is not indexed seven days after the request, it may be time to get more information.
The process for finding out if a website or page has been indexed is a simple one. Simply, open a browser and do a search for the website URL. Again, ensure that the URL is accurate. If the website is not indexed, the next step is to request a website crawl or contact the professionals to find out if there is a reason for the oversight.
There are several changes to a website that can show up as a website traffic drop. A website outage or interruption in service can trigger a drop in website traffic.
More drastic changes are also a source of a decrease in website traffic. A major change in website structure or a broken link (or many broken links) can trigger a drop in website traffic. Broken links, which occur when users get an error message instead of a page, are a major culprit in website traffic drops.
A loss in backlinks, which are links to the website from other sources, can also cause a sharp decrease to show up on the website traffic graph. Backlinks are an important ranking factor to search engines. For that reason, backlinks should be checked periodically to monitor this situation.
Search Engine Penalty
The sooner a business recognizes a search engine penalty, the sooner the recovery process can begin. A sharp decrease in website traffic can be a sign of a search engine penalty. Search engine penalties can be issued because of user-generated spam, duplicate content, broken links, and redirects. (A full list of reasons for search engine penalties can be found in this article.) The exact reason can be found in the Google Search Console. Businesses should make every effort to initiate the recovery process as soon as possible, or consult a search engine firm that can assist and recommend other ways to generate website traffic.
Search engines use a complex formula to determine website rankings. Periodically, these algorithms are changed, such as when preference was given to mobile-friendly websites. Search engine firms typically stay on top of these changes (it is, literally, their jobs) and can prepare websites for the change without a website traffic drop. Unless business owners and managers plan on staying on top of every algorithm change, it makes cents (literally, pun intended) to consult with or outsource to a search engine firm with experience and expertise.
This may be the most annoying reason for a website traffic drop. Sometimes website traffic is lost to other competitors. When this occurs, an analysis of the situation is the next step. Answer these questions: 1) What website is now receiving the website traffic? 2) Why is this site receiving the website traffic? These questions can be answered with search engine tools or by consulting a search engine firm with the tools. The end result of the analysis should get marketing results—and a return of that invaluable website traffic.