Is your traffic dropping sharply? Is your natural visibility fading? Find out below 14 possible causes and how to remedy them. So far, everything seemed perfect with your natural referencing. Your visitors were more and more numerous and with them, your sales soared. But here is that one day, by consulting the curve of your traffic, you notice a plummeting of the frequentation of your website. Combat action! What is going on? A penalty? Quick, we must act!
STOP! First, take a deep breath and don’t panic (well, not right away)! Do you know where this fall comes from? No! Most of these reductions are not worrying, but to be sure and not impact your profitability, it is first of all necessary to identify the cause. Understanding this reduction will allow you to put in place adequate corrective actions instead of rushing headlong onto the first solution that comes up, often ineffective and which could even have the opposite effect.
Understand website traffic to explain this descent into hell
To ensure that your site experiences a real drop in traffic, go to the interface of your tracking tool.
In our article, we will talk about Google Analytics considering that it is the best known web analysis tool and one of the ones we use within the agency.
To find out the sources of traffic, see the “Acquisition” report, “All traffic” then “Channels”.
Let’s take a break which seems important to me for the rest.
There are 8 levers of web acquisition:
- Paid: traffic coming from advertisements such as sponsored links on search engines.
- Display: traffic from graphic banners and videos on the network of Google and Bing partner websites.
- Organic: traffic from natural results coming from any search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo)
- Social: traffic from social networks.
- Direct: traffic resulting from sessions for which the user entered the website URL in the address bar of his browser or put it in his favourites.
- Referrer: traffic from websites other than search engines and social networks or visitors that Analytics cannot classify.
- Email: traffic from emailing campaigns and newsletters (provided you have tagged them and put “email” for support).
- Affiliate: traffic resulting from advertising campaigns (in the form of advertising banners) managed by advertising networks.
Now you know the definition of each acquisition channel. Let’s go to the next step.
You must select a date range at the top right of the report. We recommend that you include a fairly long period and compare it with the same period in previous years.
Then ask yourself questions:
- Is this an overall drop in your traffic or does it relate to a particular acquisition channel?
- Is it a sudden or gradual fall?
- Has it lasted for several days, weeks or months?
- Are there peaks of visits during the period?
- Is this a general decrease or does it only affect part of your site (home page, category pages, product or service pages, blog articles, etc.)?
- Have you recently updated your site or your content?
- Does it lower the conversion?
- Are you seeing the arrival of new competitors on the internet?
Horror! You see that the decline is very real. Immediately discover 14 possible reasons for it as well as the corrective actions to put in place to remedy them. You see a sudden and temporary drop in traffic. Overnight, you lose a lot of visitors but you find that they come back afterwards.
Internet service provider down
Let’s imagine that Free, Orange, SFR or another well-known ISP suffered a breakdown for a few hours. Consequence: millions of private Internet users which will prevent access to your site.
> Solution: none because there is no cause for excessive concern. The problem is one-off.
An internal server error on your installation or at your host can make your website unavailable for several minutes or even a few hours. For some sites, such cuts can lead to considerable loss of traffic and therefore money. For example, a failure of the Amazon site in 2013 for 40 minutes would have made him lose $5 million.
> Solution: change host if server failures or slowness are recurrent.
Events such as the presidential elections, an attack, the football world cup etc. can encourage Internet users to lose interest for a certain time in your online store or your services, which are too busy with news. For example, during the yellow vest demonstrations on Saturdays in November and December 2018, a large part of our customers’ sites recorded a drop in traffic on these days.
You notice a gradual but punctual decrease
Your traffic gradually drops for a certain period of time but after a few days (or weeks), it returns to its usual level.
Certain activities are subject to seasonality, such as toy shops, which operate mainly around Christmas. Why would it be different with your website?
Take, for example, an online store of sunglasses. His visits will mainly focus on the period January-March (before the ski holidays) and May-August (before the summer ones). In addition, it is common to record a decrease in the number of visits during the summer holidays, the end of year celebrations and bridges. To ensure this seasonality, you must compare the traffic period (where you have recorded a decrease) with the same period in previous years.
> Do you notice a seasonal effect? Do not panic. This drop in traffic is not worrying.
You notice a gradual and prolonged loss of traffic. The number of visitors to your website is slowly decreasing but this has been going on for some time.
Your site no longer meets the expectations of your users
An obsolete design, a bad user experience, unpleasant content or a site that is not compatible in a mobile version. Your website may no longer satisfy regular visitors to the point of not coming back more or less often. In this case, the decrease in traffic mainly concerns direct traffic.
> Solution: perhaps consider a redesign of your website and update your editorial strategy.
Your competitors have overtaken you. New entrants in your sector that make the competition fierce or your main competitor who reaches the first positions of Google, occupied until now by you, on keywords with high potential can make you tumble in the classification of SERP.
According to a study by the WebRankInfo site, going from the first position to the second, you go from 35% click-through rate to 16%, or half as much.