It’s an awful feeling when you see a significant drop in your traffic. This will almost certainly mean a decrease in sales too, which means less revenue. The question is, why has your traffic dropped? Is this simply a legitimate drop in traffic, due to things like seasonality, or do you have a problem that needs to be fixed?
Often, a drop in traffic won’t just be due to one factor, and will have a number of causes. This can make tackling the issue more challenging, but if you know what you’re looking out for, it shouldn’t be too hard to fix any problems. We’ve explored four of the most common reasons for traffic drops below, so that you know which areas to check first!
1. Deleted Pages
One reason for a decline in traffic is deleted webpages. If you had a particular page that drew in a lot of traffic, if this is accidentally deleted, you could see a significant drop in site visitors. It’s unlikely that one of your main landing pages would be deleted, but a section or page on a longstanding blog could be deemed irrelevant, or deleted to improve site speed.
Sometimes such blog posts can be out of date, so do need to be removed, but it’s important that you redirect the links first! And if you’re able to just update the content, rather than get rid of it, that’s generally a better option. In fact, refreshing content can be a great way to increase the traffic on your site, and boost your rankings!
2. Broken Links
Another reason you may see a drop in traffic is due to broken or removed links. If you’ve already found that a few of your pages have been deleted, if these included high authority links, this could explain your drop in traffic. Though it’s more likely that links pointing to your website have been removed, or are broken for whatever reason.
Often, businesses will have backlinks embedded in local news articles and publications, which can be taken down when they’re no longer relevant. And if this publication has multiple sites, your link could be removed across the board, which can really damage your rankings and traffic.
Another possibility is that affiliates you were working with were offered a better deal by your competitors, and start directing their traffic to these sources. This would mean that not only would your backlink profile be reduced, your competitors would have also expanded their reach.
The best way to keep on top of your backlink profile is to track it, regularly checking whether the links are working or if they’ve been removed. You can do this via platforms such as Semrush or Ahrefs.
3. Algorithm Updates
In some cases, especially if you see a sudden change in your traffic volumes, this will be due to a Google algorithm update. Perhaps your content is not ranked as highly, your domain authority has dropped, or the algorithm update favours your competitors over you. And while you may think that only the big changes will affect your traffic numbers, some of the smaller updates can make a significant difference. Not to mention the fact that the bigger releases are rolled out over several months – there are near constant tweaks and amendments to the algorithm.
The best way to combat Google algorithm updates impacting your traffic is to keep on top of the release dates. There are ranking tools you can subscribe to, like Ahrefs or Searchmetrics, or you can sign up to newsletters with respected SEO publications, such as Search Engine Land. Google is pretty good at letting marketers know about their updates ahead of time, so you can prepare for them, and make sure you optimise your site beforehand.
4. You Have a Tracking Error
There’s a chance that your traffic hasn’t dropped at all, but you instead have a tracking error. While this is a good thing in the sense that you haven’t lost traffic, it can be a bit of a pain to fix. And if you’re not sure when the error started, you may have to discard all your previous collected data and start from scratch. Hardly ideal!
Your tracking code in Google Analytics can be impacted by a number of factors, though is generally due to changes or updates you make to your website or plugins. The code could be accidentally overwritten or even deleted by an update.
To check for a tracking error, you’ll need to go to your Google Analytics page, and open the Admin Toolbar. Next, click on Tracking Info, and then Tracking Code – here you can check the status of your code. Should you identify an issue, you may need to speak to one of your web developers or an external expert to fix it. Hopefully it won’t be too complicated to get the tracking code up and running again!