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4 Culprits Behind Your Major Drop in Website Traffic

Inbound Marketing | 9 minute read


These days, your website is your ultimate marketing tool. Regardless of what type of business you run or who your audience is, you need to ensure people are able to easily find and use your website.  

Whether you’re a small business owner, marketer, or any worker who contributes to a website, seeing your hard work pay off with higher traffic is very rewarding. On the other hand, seeing a major drop in website traffic leaves a terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach. 

Drops in website traffic are more common than you might think. In fact, there are plenty of culprits that make worried marketers ask, “Why isn’t my website getting traffic?”  

Let’s take a closer look at what might be causing your website to not get traffic, as well as solutions for each culprit. 

Why Isn’t My Website Getting Traffic? 

If you’ve noticed a major drop in your website traffic, it could have been caused by one of a number of different things. Some of these are user errors, while others might have been caused by the powers that be. The good news is that you can easily narrow down the source of your troubles and work to fix it. 

Tracking Errors 

If your website isn’t getting traffic, or has had a major drop in traffic, the first thing to look at are your tracking codes. Believe it or not, it’s common for webmasters and site owners to accidentally remove tracking codes from their website. 

Your Google Analytics tracking code or ID, for example, is a unique number that gives Google the power to collect data on your website. If the tracking code gets removed from your website, Google can’t track the traffic you’re receiving and it will look like you’re not getting any.  

So, if you see that Google Analytics is suddenly recording zero sessions for your website, there is likely an error with your tracking codes, or they’ve been removed from your website. 

tracking-error

Or you may have had the same tracking code across multiple subdomains and one of those subdomains went away. This would potentially result in a significant traffic loss but it may not drop to zero. 

If that’s your issue, it’s possible that someone inadvertently removed the tracking code. However, it’s also common for theme updates to rip the tracking code off your website. If this happened to you after a theme update, that’s likely your culprit. 

The good news here is that tracking errors are very easy to fix, and it means you never had a traffic problem; it just means you had a tracking problem. The downside, however, is that you’ll miss out on valuable website data until the issue is fixed. 

Algorithm Updates 

If you’re unfamiliar, Google relies on a search algorithm and a variety of ranking factors in order to deliver the best search results when someone makes a query. Google typically updates its search algorithm multiple times each year, with some of the updates being weightier than others.  

With these updates being relatively common, it’s not surprising that the world’s most widely used search engine could cause your website traffic to drop. If the algorithm is no longer recommending your website for certain search queries, you’ll miss out on traffic you used to have. 

google-algo-updates

The tough part here is that there’s no definitive way of knowing whether your website traffic has been affected by an algorithm update. Google usually plays pretty close to the chest with these updates, so you’re not likely to see proof or details of what has been changed. 

However, it’s still possible to deduce whether an update is the cause of your troubles. Tools such as SEMrush Sensor and Algoroo keep track of these changes and how they’re influencing search results. 

If you’re able to pin your troubles on a recent update, you can use these tools to analyze which sites have been affected by it–both positively and negatively–to get an idea of what caused your website traffic to drop. This should arm you with the information you need to begin working to bring it back up. 

Also, if your website was a victim of an algorithm update, try not to take it personally. It just means your website content isn’t exactly what Google is looking for at the moment. For example, Google has more recently placed value in longform expert-level content. If your website lacks that type of content, it might be time to change that.  

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Redesign or Redirect Issues 

If you’re committing to a website redesign or website rebuild, you must make sure you’re handling the process properly from start to finish.  

One aspect of this is easily overlooked: 301 redirects. Whether you’re launching a new website, making some structural changes to your navigation, or even migrating to a new server, failing to employ a proper 301 redirect plan could cause a drop in traffic. 

If you’re unfamiliar, 301 redirects are very similar to moving to a new home and updating your address. If you move and don’t let the postal service know, you’re not going to be getting your mail. If you move a page on your website, or even the whole website, you’ll have to use 301 redirects to let the Internet know. 

So, if you’ve experienced a major drop in website traffic following a redesign, redirect issues could be the culprit. Luckily, there are tools out there that help identify if you have any 301 redirect issues. If you have a redirect plan in place and want to make sure it works properly, you can also rely on a web crawler–SEMrush allows you to do this–to check all the redirects. 

A Manual Action 

The issues discussed above typically occur due to human or computer error, but manual actions are intentional actions made by workers at Google. While this is rare, it’s worth looking into if none of the other issues seem to be your culprit. 

If Google has issued a manual action against your website, that means they determined that certain pages on your website, or your website as a whole, do not line up with their webmaster quality guidelines. Google says that most manual actions are in response to websites attempting to manipulate their search index.  

google-manual-actions

Manual actions will result in your website being ranked lower, or even being omitted from search results entirely. If you think this may be the reason why your website isn’t getting traffic, visit this Google page and click “open the manual actions report.” If you do indeed have manual actions against your website, they’ll be displayed at the top of the report.  

The good news is that it’s possible to have these manual actions removed, which will allow your website or webpages to rank again. Google outlines it in this article. However, the gist is that you need to assess the issues, fix them, and then request a review from Google. These reviews may take weeks, just to give you a heads up. 

Building Your Website Traffic Back Up 

If your website isn’t getting traffic like it used to, identify the problem above and take the necessary actions to get things back on track. Losing website traffic can be frustrating and intimidating, but here’s one important thing to remember: You did something that caused your website to lose traffic, which means you can retrace your steps and fix the issue. 

However, if you’re struggling to identify the source of your traffic issues or you can’t seem to fix the problem you’ve identified, you can always ask PIC for help. We are a full-service Internet marketing agency with website design and development services, as well as 20 years of SEO expertise. 

If you’re asking “Why isn’t my website getting traffic?”, PIC will work with you to identify the problem and create a solution. Contact us today to get started. 

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Michael Dill

No website, email, blog, or marketing campaign is complete without content, which is where Michael comes in. Whether you need to succinctly and effectively address certain pain points, communicate the many benefits of your products and services, or just want stand out from the crowd, Michael will use his years of experience to make it happen.

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