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Here's What To Do If Your Website is Suddenly Losing Traffic

website traffic dropped

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a dedicated business owner who has poured your heart and soul into building an online presence, only to suddenly experience a significant drop in website traffic. Your once thriving source of revenue is now dwindling, impacting your hard-earned profits. We understand the frustration and anxiety that comes with such a situation. It can be disheartening to witness the fruits of your labor diminish before your eyes. Many companies find themselves at a loss when faced with this situation, unaware of how to navigate the complex landscape of web traffic analysis. Has your website traffic dropped and you’re unsure of what to do?

In this blog post, we will guide you through a systematic approach to identify the root causes of traffic loss using Google Search Console and provide actionable steps to recover your website’s lost traffic.

If you don’t have Google Search Console set up, you can use Google Analytics, but keep in mind that most keyword data will be omitted, so you will need to skip step 4 below. If you don’t have either of these set up, well then you’re sh*t out of luck.

Let’s get started.

Step 1: Compare Traffic Data in Google Search Console

If your boat is sinking, find the holes and plug them. Sounds simple enough, right? Similarly, when your website experiences a sudden drop in traffic, you need to identify where the sudden loss in traffic is occurring and take corrective measures. It really is that simple. Here’s how to find the holes: Access your Google Search Console account and navigate to the Performance section. Compare traffic data from different time periods to identify any significant drops. It may help to zoom out to the last 3, 6 or even 12 months to identify when the traffic decline first started to occur. Once you find that date, use this as the start date to select in the date picker. Use the most recent date (today or yesterday) as the end date. Then select Compare in the date picker, and it should automatically select a custom date range for you to compare against, that is equivalent in length to the first time period.
Recover lost organic traffic with google search console

Step 2: Identify the URLs That Show the Biggest Traffic Losses

Next, identify the specific URLs that experienced the most substantial declines in traffic. To do so, navigate to the table below the traffic chart, and select the Pages tab. Then filter the list by Clicks Difference from lowest to highest. Negative numbers should appear at the top of the list. You’ve now found the holes in your boat.

web pages that declined in traffic

Step 3: Dig Into the Data of Each URL

Within Google Search Console, examine the data of each URL by selecting them one by one. Navigate through each of the tabs displayed for that URL, including Queries, Countries, Devices and Search Appearance. Is there any information here that jumps out at you in an alarming way? Where is the biggest decrease on this page coming from? For example, look for any notable drops in rankings for specific keywords. This additional step will provide insights into where the traffic decline is coming from.

Step 4: Identify Changes and Causative Factors

Once you’ve identified the URLs with the largest traffic decline and dug into the data, investigate recent changes that may have caused the drop. Look into content updates, design changes, site structure modifications, or any other alterations made around the time the traffic loss occurred. Search through the page’s revision history, your communications with your web dev or SEO team, or other documentation and look for any changes made around that time. If you can’t find anything, you may want to consider external factors that may have occurred.

Here are some common issues we’ve encountered with companies who’ve come to us for help.

1) URL Changes

Of all the times we investigated websites that were experiencing such a dramatic decline in traffic, 99% of the time we would uncover that the URLs for some of their top pages or posts were changed. In some cases, this was due to a website redesign in which the URL structure changed for some pages, and their SEO team didn’t properly redirect them. Other times, top blog posts or pages were removed entirely because they didn’t realize these were bringing in so much traffic. Sometimes, we noticed that they changed their AMP pages to non-AMP pages, and simply didn’t redirect them.

It’s important when making any major changes to your website that you carefully plan and execute them to minimize negative impacts. Ensure proper redirection of URLs, preserve valuable backlinks, and conduct thorough testing before and after the changes to address any issues promptly.

2) Algorithm Updates

In some cases, it’s possible that your site got hit with a major algorithm update. In this case, you should see a major drop in your keyword rankings. It’s important to stay informed about search engine algorithm updates and adapt your SEO strategies accordingly. Analyze the impact of the update on your website’s performance and make necessary adjustments to improve rankings and traffic.

3) Google Penalties

You may have gotten hit with a Google Penalty. Identify the reason for the penalty and take immediate action to rectify the issue. Remove or disavow any spammy or low-quality backlinks, address content or technical issues that violate search engine guidelines, and submit a reconsideration request if necessary.

4) Seasonal or Cyclical Changes

If your website experiences seasonal or cyclical drops in traffic, plan ahead. Create content and marketing campaigns specifically tailored to capitalize on peak seasons. Diversify your content and explore opportunities in related niches to maintain consistent traffic levels throughout the year.

5) Loss of Backlinks

Use backlink analysis tools to identify if you’ve lost any backlinks that were bringing in significant referral traffic. Focus on building a strong backlink profile by reaching out to authoritative websites, creating high-quality content that naturally attracts backlinks, and leveraging social media and content promotion strategies to gain exposure and attract relevant traffic.

6) External Factors

Adapt your marketing and content strategies to align with changing economic, industry, or regulatory landscapes. Anticipate shifts in user behavior and adjust your offerings accordingly. Stay agile and responsive to external factors to mitigate any negative impact on your website’s traffic.

7) Poor or Outdated SEO Practices

Review your SEO practices and ensure compliance with search engine guidelines. Optimize your website for relevant keywords, improve on-page elements, build high-quality backlinks, and stay updated with SEO best practices to enhance visibility and attract organic traffic. SEO is constantly evolving. Make sure to keep up-to-date with the latest SEO practices.

Remember, each situation requires a thorough analysis of your website’s data and a tailored approach. Regular monitoring, continuous optimization, and staying informed about industry trends and search engine updates are key to addressing and recovering from traffic loss effectively.

Step 5: Reverse or Adjust the Changes

Based on your investigation, devise a plan to reverse or adjust the changes that may have contributed to the traffic loss. For instance, if content updates or design changes negatively impacted performance, consider rolling back those modifications. Address technical issues promptly to ensure a smooth user experience.

Step 6: Monitor, Analyze, and Adapt

Continuously monitor your website analytics and observe the impact of your efforts. Regularly check Google Search Console for any fluctuations in traffic and keyword rankings. Analyze user behavior, stay updated with search engine algorithm changes, and adapt your strategies accordingly. Implement ongoing optimization and improvements based on the data you gather.

Experiencing a sudden drop in website traffic can be alarming, but by following this step-by-step guide, you can systematically address and recover from the situation. Utilizing Google Search Console and analyzing traffic data, identifying changes, optimizing content, and developing a fresh content strategy will help you regain and surpass previous traffic levels. Remember to continuously monitor, analyze, and adapt to ensure long-term success. With the right approach and persistence, you can steer your website back on track and achieve sustainable traffic growth.

Website Traffic Dropped? Contact Us For Help Recovering Your Web Traffic

If you’re struggling to recover your website’s traffic and need expert assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We have a dedicated team of professionals ready to help you identify the root causes of your traffic loss and implement effective strategies to regain and surpass your previous levels. Contact us today and let’s work together to revive your website’s visibility and drive sustainable traffic growth. If your website’s traffic dropped significantly, we can help you recover it. Your online success is our priority!

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