If you are experiencing a traffic drop, there are many reasons why this could be the case. There might be an issue with your site, or it might just be that the search terms you were ranking highly for in the past are no longer bringing in traffic to your site. Whatever the reason, if you want to figure out what’s causing the traffic drop, it’s best to understand the 15 most common reasons why site traffic drops. Then, take steps to resolve any issues you may have with your site and its content that are preventing people from finding it or coming back again.
What to Do if Website Traffic Is Low
First, identify whether this drop in traffic is the result of a real marketing or SEO problem, or if it is the result of a tracking error.
A website’s traffic can be difficult to measure due to the multitude of platforms and tools available for the task, plus the complex set of metrics, which can make the task even more challenging. Whether you have implemented Google Analytics, tracked code directly on your website, or incorporated Google Tag Manager for tracking does not matter. You can check some key areas to determine if the decline in traffic is due to a tracking issue.
In an estimated 15-20% of cases, this may seem like a silly step to you.
Common Reasons for the Drop In Traffic Could be Incorrect Tracking
Here are a few of the most frequently encountered real-world reasons for tracking to be broken on client websites:
- A poorly implemented GDPR compliance banner led to the user losing 95% of its user data from EU countries.
- A website update or migration accidentally dropped the UA tracking code across the entire site OR on a specific subset of pages (either directly in the HTML/code of the site OR via removing/unpublishing a GTM container.)
- A poorly implemented GA event classified nearly every user with the label “returning visitors” for a client – rendering the latest visitor report incorrectly low.
Scenarios that involve subordinate domains and several domains are also susceptible to these issues since the cross-domain tracker creates a myriad of unique challenges.
Other Reasons for Your Low Traffic
If you want to know 15 possible reasons for your low website traffic, then stay with us.
1. Recent Website Changes & Redesign
If you have made any recent changes or redesigns to your website, that could be the reason for your traffic drop. Maybe you changed the navigation or updated the design and layout, and now potential customers cannot find what they are looking for.
Whatever the case, it is important to check your website analytics to see if there has been a drop in traffic since the change. If so, you will need to make adjustments to ensure potential customers can easily find what they are looking for on your site.
To check your website analytics, you can use a tool like WatchThemLive, which has many useful features. You can easily see your traffic and the source from which users visit your website. It also has a heatmapping feature that you can use to perform A/B testing. You can set a heatmap for each variation to see which one is bringing the results you’re looking for. Stop overthinking, sign up and see the result for yourself.
2. Algorithm updates
Search engines always change their algorithms. In addition, while some updates can cause traffic to increase, others can result in a drop. If you have noticed a recent decrease in traffic, it could be due to one of these algorithm updates:
- Google Panda
- Google Penguin
- Google Hummingbird
- Google Pigeon
3. Robots.txt Rules
One common reason for a traffic drop is that Google has caught your site in an algorithmic penalty. This can happen if you accidentally block Google’s bots from crawling your site with your robots.txt file. If this is the case, you will need to fix your robots.txt file and resubmit your sitemap to Google. Developers often leave robots.txt files unchanged after migrating from a development or staging site.
Redirects can happen for a number of reasons. Maybe you changed the URL of a page and forgot to update your internal links, or maybe you changed domain names and did not set up proper redirects. Redirects can also be caused by malicious code injected into your site or by changing DNS settings. If you are experiencing a traffic drop, check for redirects on your site and fix any that you find.
5. Crawl Errors
A sudden drop in traffic can be frustrating and worrisome. After all, your website is like your digital storefront. If people can’t find it, they cannot do business with you. There are many potential reasons for a traffic drop, but one of the most common is crawl errors.
These errors occur when search engines have difficulty accessing your site’s content. As a result, your site may not show up in search results, or visitors may have difficulty loading your pages.
Crawl errors can be caused by several factors, including changes to your website’s structure, problems with your server, or even an issue with how Google crawls your site. Fortunately, there are ways to fix crawl errors.
6. Poor Grammar or Spelling Errors
Visitors will quickly lose faith in your brand if your site is filled with grammar and spelling errors. Not only does it make you look unprofessional, but it also makes it difficult for visitors to understand what you are trying to say. If you want people to take your site seriously, take the time to proofread your content before hitting publish.
7. No New Content for Months
Nowadays, the most common reason for a traffic drop is toxic backlinks. Backlinks from low quality or spammy websites can hurt your site’s ranking. You can check for toxic backlinks using Google Search Console or a tool like Ahrefs. If you find any, you can try to disavow them using Google’s disavow tool.
8. Toxic Backlinks
Not all backlinks are created equally. Some backlinks can hurt your website’s ranking. These are called toxic backlinks and can come from various sources, including low-quality websites, hacked websites, and spammy directories. If you suspect that your site has bad and toxic backlinks, you should take action to remove them as soon as possible. Here is how:
- Use Google Search Console to find toxic backlinks.
- Identify the source of the toxic backlink.
- Contact the site owner and ask them to remove the link.
9. Page Speed
Slow page speed can also cause traffic to drop. Visitors will likely click away if your pages are loading slowly before they can fully engage with your content. Start optimizing your images and videos for faster loading times to improve your page speed. You can also try caching your pages, minifying your code, and using a content delivery network (CDN).
10. SSL Certificates
Your site might be experiencing a traffic drop if you do not have an SSL certificate. Secure Socket Layer, is a protocol that encrypts data sent between your site and visitors’ web browsers. Without SSL certificates, visitors will see a warning message in their browser when they try to access your site, which could cause them to click away. You can get SSL certificate from your web-hosting provider or a third-party SSL certificate provider.
11. You’re Tracking the Wrong Rankings
The next step is to check your website’s analytics to see where your traffic is coming from. If you are tracking the wrong rankings, you could be getting an inaccurate picture of your website’s performance. Check your website’s source code to make sure you are tracking the right rankings. Businesses make a common mistake when they first start tracking their site’s performance.
12. Geolocation Discrepancies
It happens when the location data reported by your server does not match up with the location data reported by visitors’ browsers. There are a few possible explanations: either your server is incorrectly configured, or visitors are using VPNs or proxy servers that mask and change their true location. Before displaying your search results, Google checks what sites you have previously visited, where you are located, and even what type of device you are using.
13. Not Updating the Information
The first reason your traffic might have dropped may be because the information on your site is no longer accurate. If you have not updated your site for a long time, it is possible that what you have written is no longer relevant to your audience. You can fix it by keeping your content up-to-date.
14. Duplicate Content
Google defines duplicate content as substantial blocks of content that appear across or within domains significantly similar to or completely match other content.
Duplicate content is one of the most common reasons for a traffic drop. It happens when you have the same or similar content on more than one page of your website. It confuses search engines and can lead to lower rankings and less traffic. To avoid this, check for duplicate content before publishing anything new on your site.
15. Server Overload
Many site owners panic when they see a sudden drop in traffic. However, in most cases, it is not as serious as it seems. Server Overload also may cause the traffic to drop. This happens when your server cannot handle the traffic you are getting. The solution is to upgrade your server or use a content delivery network (CDN).
If your site traffic has dropped, it could be for several reasons. Maybe you did not keep up with your SEO or changed your domain name and did not redirect the old one. Perhaps you switched web hosts or your SSL certificate provider. Any of the things mentioned above could lead to a drop in traffic. The best thing to do is figure out what happened and then take steps to fix it.