A sharp and unexpected decline in traffic can be a dangerous occurrence that must be dealt with quickly and effectively. Panic can lead to poor business decisions, which is why you should have a set procedure in place if your traffic suddenly decreases.
To do a traffic drop study, use this 9-point checklist. A contingency plan like this one will eventually isolate the root of the problem, allowing you to apply the proper solution.
Verify Your Tracking Information
Assume you’ve opened your analytics account and seen a significant decrease in visitors. A sharp and rapid reduction in traffic is a sporadic event if you’re not performing black hat SEO. The first step is to double-check that you’re dealing with the correct data.
In the admin part of your analytics account, check the status of your tracking codes.
Open the “tracking code” tab in the top-right area of your admin page under “tracking info.” Under “Status,” there is a notification that indicates whether or not your code has been submitting data for the past 48 hours.
It’s possible that a site update or migration removed or changed the code, which would explain why your analytics account is lacking data. You may inspect the code on your website by right-clicking on any page in your browser. Choose “inspect.” To identify where your code is installed, use command + f (control + f on a PC) to open a search window and enter in “analytics.”
Verify that your code has been properly installed on your website. You may have addressed your problem if there are any errors in its installation. If your code is intact, you must double-check your information in the search console.
Use Search Console to double-check your information
The search console is your go-to resource for learning more about what’s going on with your site. A big decline in traffic could indicate that you’ve lost visibility and coverage, which could result in a revenue loss.
- Analyze your site’s impressions, clicks, and position on Google
- Review your index coverage
- Send you alerts about issues Google discovers on your site
- Assist you in understanding how Google perceives your site
- Remove the potential of pages being de-indexed and penalties being imposed.
- Penalties from Google
Go to “security and manual actions” and look for “manual actions” under “security and manual actions” to discover if you’ve gotten a manual punishment. You should get a message like “No Issues Detected” because manual actions are quite severe.
If you are subjected to manual action, you will be provided guidance on how to resolve the issue and resubmit your site for review so that your pages can be restored.
To see if there has been a decline in the number of pages indexed on your site, go to the coverage tab and look at the number of pages indexed. No pages have been lost, and the site’s URLs have not been affected, as shown in the graph below.
Someone may have mistakenly used a noindex command or inserted a disallow rule to the robots.txt file, resulting in a reduction in the number of indexed pages.
On a WordPress site, the option to “discourage search engines from indexing” can be found in the general settings tab. Your site’s pages will be de-indexed if you choose this option.
The same option is available in the advanced tab beneath your text if you’re using Yoast as an SEO plugin. Fix any noindex and prohibit directives, then resubmit your sitemap in the search console if your pages were mistakenly de-indexed. Despite the fact that there is a simple remedy to this problem, the scenario is extremely risky because you will lose all search engine visibility.
Re-indexing your pages might take anything from a few hours to several weeks, depending on the size of your site and how many pages were de-indexed. If your pages have been indexed and your data gathering in analytics has been confirmed, move on to the next step.
Perform a Competitive Analysis
Google is the arena where companies compete against one another. It’s possible that your company isn’t the only one using SEO to obtain a competitive advantage (check out the best SEO Sydney agency to improve your profit). It’s possible that another website has simply outranked you due to superior content marketing and/or link-building tactics.
A competitive examination of the site that has pushed you down the SERP and stolen your traffic is the solution to this. You can begin by looking at how your competitors have responded to search intent, which is the most crucial component of ranking.
Look up the keywords that their page ranks for to determine if there are any gaps in the content. Some parts of your page are possibly out of date or no longer deliver the information that readers require. Update your page to reflect any missing content and to more thoroughly cover your keyword topic.
Examine your competitors’ backlink profiles to see if any links can assist you in gaining authority over them. Regaining the first position may simply require a few high-quality connections if the material is substantially comparable to yours.
Verify the information in your keyword tracking software
Falling rankings result in a decrease in traffic. To keep track of your SERP ranks, create a Rankwatch keyword tracking report. The statistics in analytics and search console will corroborate the keywords that have declined significantly.
A keyword’s ranking might drop for a variety of reasons. If the issue isn’t immediately apparent, eliminate the alternatives one by one. To prioritize a plan of action, make a list of likely factors that could have caused the reduction in ranks. The most common causes of changes in search visibility are listed below.
Ascertain that your content is pertinent to the user’s aim
The most crucial ranking factor is whether your content is relevant to the searcher’s intent. Users searching for your target keywords should find value in your content since it speaks directly to their search intent.
Now that BERT is fully functional, we have a better understanding of what a user is looking for in a search query. Despite the fact that the BERT update only affected 10% of search queries, its impact will be felt as Google continues to learn more about how people search.
If your website is lacking in specifics, adding focused material in response to user intent will increase the page’s performance by meeting search intent appropriately. Improve your keyword ranks with better content to reclaim lost traffic.
Evaluate Dropped Backlinks
A decline in ranking and, as a result, a drop in visits could happen from the loss of significant backlinks pointing to your page.
Check your backlinks to check if any critical links were lost during the time when traffic was down.
The most typical reasons for link removal are as follows:
- The page was moved, merged, or removed
- They failed to add your link back into the text.
Contact the proprietors of the sites that removed the links to see if they may be reinstated. You can make a better argument for link replacement by correcting any issues that led to their removal in the first place if you can figure out why they were deleted in the first place.
A few low-quality links will have no effect on your ranking or cause a significant decline in traffic. If no big links to your site have been lost, proceed to the following step and conduct a competitive analysis.
Keep an eye out for new SERP features
The introduction of Google SERP features is a trend that has been going on for quite some time. This is a problem that has resulted in more than half of all Google searches landing in a zero-click result.
Confirm whether a new SERP feature has emerged by searching Google for your term. A featured snippet, PAA box, local pack, or an increase in the number of ads may be absorbing a percentage of the query’s available clicks.
Examine Harmful Information and Recommendations
The phrase “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” isn’t always true, especially when you want to improve your business. A public accident or a series of unfavorable reviews might swiftly erase your visitors if the content is serious enough to harm your reputation.
Social listening solutions have become an important part of reputation management since they allow you to track any relevant mentions about your brand and competitors. Your version of the tale may influence public opinion and preserve your reputation in the aftermath of a devastating PR catastrophe. Early retaliation to negative news or reviews can help safeguard traffic and avoid potential client loss.
Take Away the Chances Of A Google Update
It’s always possible that Google has released an update that has caused the ranks to shift. Large fluctuations in ranks owing to big changes in how Google analyzes the content and backlinks are not rare, according to the history of Google upgrades.
There are a few websites, such as seroundtable.com and searchengineland.com that keep up with the latest Google developments and can provide you with the most up-to-date information.
Your company’s website is a significant asset. Dropping traffic counts are terrible for both your website’s growth and the bottom line of your business. Organic traffic takes time to build, but you may accelerate the process by using content marketing to produce leads. However, a minor increase in traffic as a result of these attacks will not be detrimental.