Getting to the Bottom of What’s Killing Your Traffic

Traffic SignNobody wants to login to their analytics utility, only to find out that their website has suddenly taken a beating in terms of traffic. In the modern era, brands and businesses have to strive to generate traffic through a variety of sources: direct hits, organic search traffic, social media and backlinks. Failure to do so can result sooner or later in massive reductions in traffic; having all of your eggs in one basket is a terrible idea. Still, getting to the bottom of any drop in traffic across one or more sources is absolutely essential. Below, we’ll review how to figure out what is causing your traffic to plummet, so that you can fix the root cause of the problem.

Analyze All Traffic Sources Carefully

Once you’ve noticed an abrupt change in overall traffic patterns, the first part of analysis should focus on each and every avenue for traffic. If you are using Google Analytics, then this means going to the Acquisition section of your metrics and inspecting the overview. From here, it should be relatively easy to determine which traffic source(s) is responsible for the problem. In addition, pinging servers on Analytics for this information may also give you an idea of the broader root cause. For instance, if organic traffic from search engines is down, then you know that there is likely an issue with search engine optimization. If social media traffic has plummeted, then there must be an issue with post visibility. This will help make identifying the right remedy a lot easier.

Check for Manual Penalties

It is possible that your drop in traffic has occurred because of direct and manual penalties assigned by Google or other search engines. In the case of Google, logging into Webmaster Tools will provide some information and clarity on the matter. If a manual penalty has been assigned, there will be a message in your account noting such. While less common that other algorithm-related penalties, it is important to verify that nothing egregious – to the extent that it required Google’s personal attention – has occurred to cause a drop in traffic.

Review Page Elements

Have you recently changed any page titles or tags? Is it possible that some information has mistakenly been altered? These elements can cause problems with web traffic with search engines and should be verified before proceeding further. Nofollow tags, title tags and metadata in general are all elements that can drastically affect traffic quotas if altered or deleted in some capacity. Pinging servers with altered or incorrect information can cause temporary or permanent drops in traffic, depending on the circumstance.

Inspect Other Potential Problems

Page redirect issues are another example of problematic behaviour that can affect search engine traffic and beyond. Be sure that any redirects that have been set up are still functioning properly. In addition, now would be a good time to verify that there have not been any drastic changes in your social media posting behaviour or email marketing techniques. Both of these elements can also play roles in how much traffic is coming to your website. If there have been drops in these categories, then be sure to give each of these potential problems a careful consideration.

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