It’s every marketer’s worst nightmare: logging into Google Analytics and seeing an abrupt and significant drop in traffic.

Fortunately, there are some straightforward solutions to diagnose website traffic drops. This blog post will explore the top 5 reasons your website is declining and what you can do to fix it.

Google Algorithm Update

Google makes multiple algorithm updates per year that tweak the way it rates websites. These changes can be a significant factor in your website’s performance and may contribute to a drop in traffic.

While Google typically announces most of their algorithm updates, there are times when they don’t. This can make them hard to detect, especially for experienced SEOs. Fortunately, the SEO community is up to the challenge of finding these “shadow” updates. There are forums, blogs and even apps that can help you keep tabs on the latest changes. Check out sites like Marie Haynes’ Google Algorithm Update List, GSC Guardian (a Chrome extension by Darwin Santos that overlays updates and uptime issues from Google onto Search Console charts) and SEO Trends to stay on top of the latest changes in Google’s algorithm.

It’s also important to keep in mind that a drop in traffic is not always due to a single factor or issue. For example, if you’re running a WordPress site and your site URL starts with HTTP, it’s a good idea to switch over to HTTPS. This helps protect your website visitors’ data and signals to Google that your site is trustworthy.

So if your website’s security measures aren’t up to par, that could be a reason why your traffic is declining. However, it’s best to rule out this possibility first before diving into deeper troubleshooting. This is because it’s easy to get distracted by other potential culprits when you’re in the middle of a traffic decline. This will help you identify and solve the actual problem more quickly. Then, you can move on to other factors that may be contributing to the problem.

Content Updates

One of the best ways to diagnose website traffic decline is to look at your content – in line with the advice of Rank Revival. Search engines like websites that are regularly updated and provide relevant information to their users. For example, imagine a library that has a great collection of books but does not add any new ones or update the old ones. This could cause a regular visitor to lose interest and eventually stop visiting the library altogether. The same is true for search engine optimization (SEO): sites that update their content and make sure it is aligned with current user intent will be rewarded over time. If a site has a large volume of older content that no longer meets current standards, it will have to move down the rankings until it is updated or removed.

Taking a close look at your Google Analytics trendline is essential when diagnosing website traffic decline. A sudden drop is usually a red flag and may indicate a penalty or a technical issue that needs to be addressed quickly. However, a gradual trendline can also mean that there are smaller technical issues that have been stacking up over time and are now impacting performance.

It is also worth looking at your web server logs to see what has changed since the last time you looked at website traffic. This will tell you if any external factors, such as connectivity problems, have had an effect on traffic. You should also check your Ad accounts to see if you have paused or changed your Ad campaigns, which may explain the decrease in traffic. In this case, you will need to contact your Ad account manager or Google Search Console to find out what happened.

New Competitors

All businesses have competitors, and knowing them is vital for ensuring your products, services, and marketing stand out from the crowd. But identifying your competition isn’t always easy. It requires an in-depth understanding of the industry, current trends, and potential threats from new entrants. While it’s impossible to monitor every potential competitor, there are a few key categories of competitors to keep an eye on.

Direct competitors are companies that offer similar products and services in the same market, vying for the same customers. Indirect competitors offer different products and services but share a target audience with your business, such as Salesforce, Hubspot, Zoho, Oracle, and SAP (a suite of integrated business applications). In some cases, your business may not serve any direct or indirect competitors.

You can identify your direct and indirect competitors by performing keyword searches for the keywords you rank for. This will reveal a list of sites that rank for the same keywords. By analyzing their pages, you can see what makes them successful and determine how you might improve your own page to compete with them.

Social referral traffic is a major source of website traffic for many businesses. However, if one of your top social media referrals stops sharing your content, it can have a drastic impact on your traffic. To avoid this, be sure to regularly check your analytics for a decrease in social referrals and take action accordingly.

Slow Page Load Time

When web pages are slow to load, users get frustrated and leave. In addition, search engines consider website performance as a ranking factor. Therefore, optimizing website speed is essential to boosting organic traffic.

Website speed metrics like DNS lookup time, socket connection time, server response time (time to first byte), and network response time can all have an impact on page load times. They can be measured by tools such as Cronitor RUM. Using these metrics, you can see where most of the page load time is spent. For example, some of the time might be devoted to loading scripts such as jQuery and JavaScript, whereas other time might be used to load images and data.

Bounce rate is also a key indicator of website performance. A high bounce rate indicates that visitors are not finding what they’re looking for and may turn to a competitor instead. Bounce rates increase when a website takes more than three seconds to load, so it’s important that your site is fast enough to keep visitors engaged.

A sudden drop in website traffic can be discouraging, but it’s always worth investigating. With the right knowledge and strategy, you can diagnose problems quickly and take action to recover lost website traffic. Start by running reports to identify any recent changes in your website’s traffic. Then, you can determine if the problem is related to SEO, content, or user experience. If it is, you can develop a plan to fix the issue and return your website to its previous glory!

Error Pages

Whether you are a business owner, in-house marketer, or an SEO agency, it can be scary when your traffic numbers take a sudden and unexpected plunge. But, it is important to diagnose the drop correctly, so that you can determine what caused the decline and fix it appropriately.

One way to do this is to look for errors in your server logs. If there are any errors, it could be the reason your website’s traffic has decreased. However, this can be time-consuming and requires a thorough understanding of how to read logs.

Another great way to determine if an error has caused a decrease in your site’s traffic is to use a tool like Screaming Frog to check for broken links on your website. This tool can analyze your entire website and give you a list of all the pages that have been broken. If you have a lot of broken links, it may be time to clean up your site and get them redirected to new pages.

Finally, it is also important to check your branded keyword rankings in Google Analytics. If you have lost your branded rankings, it could be the reason why your website’s traffic has declined. This is because it has become harder for users to find your website.

It is always best to investigate a decline in your website’s traffic on your own before you hire someone to help you recover from the drop. Hopefully, this article will have provided you with enough information to do just that! Being able to diagnose the cause of a traffic decline will be beneficial to your business in the long run. You can then make adjustments to your SEO strategy and avoid future declines.