What to do when your site traffic suddenly drops
There are many reasons for a website traffic decline, but if this happens to you it’s important to avoid blaming external forces that are outside of your control, as tempting as this might be.
Sure, Google’s regular algorithm updates can have a significant impact in certain instances, but simply assuming that you’ve fallen foul of yet more of the search giant’s tinkering is not going to help you get to the root of the problem and find out why your site is in a slump.
So before you go laying the blame elsewhere, take a look at the potential causes for a website traffic decline which you can influence yourself and improve through optimisation. Some of this may only be minor, but can deliver striking results.
Has traffic dropped due to mobile search?
If your site isn’t mobile friendly then you can guarantee that fewer people will be clicking through to your landing pages, no matter how carefully you have honed the layout and content. And with most people now searching from smartphones and tablets, getting the user experience for mobile users right should be at the top of the agenda for every webmaster out there.
Google and Bing even show people whether or not a site is mobile-friendly before they visit it, making this something that benefits SEO as well as visitors. So if you don’t make the necessary changes, your site will stick out like a sore thumb even before visitors arrive.
Has traffic dropped due to changes to your site?
If you have multiple teams working to manage your site, there can occasionally be issues which simply arise from a lack of communication. Specifically, if those who are responsible for optimising pages to make sure they perform well on search engines are not told about alterations to the technical underpinnings of the site as a whole, then problems may arise and remain undetected for some time.
Updates rolled out by developers, whether to do with URL structures or indexing permissions, might have SEO ramifications. And so if there is a dip in traffic which cannot be accounted for by outside forces, then checking for any internal changes may highlight the culprit.
Has traffic dropped due to content quality issues?
It can be easy to look at the content you add to your site through rose-tinted glasses, or at least you may struggle to have the right perspective on it and thus be incapable of judging its quality in an objective way. So when traffic dives, it may be time to put your content under the microscope and work out if there are any ways in which improvements can be made.
The quality of content is determined by a number of things, from the relevance and uniqueness of the copy to the effectiveness with which target keywords are integrated. To work out where you are going wrong, it is a good idea to check out higher ranking content found on other sites. Remember the principle of leadership by example? The glorious thing about today’s digital economy is its sheer transparency. If you want to know what good looks like, spend some time looking at the market leaders in your space.