Admit it, you’re worried.
Your website traffic is down, which means your bottom line is suffering. Company leaders are turning to you with one simple question: “Why is my website traffic going down?” You need an answer (and a solution) fast.
A drop in site traffic can happen for a variety of reasons.
This post covers the four most common causes of a website traffic drop, as well as solutions for each issue. Keep reading to find out why your website traffic is going down. If you need immediate assistance our experienced team will help you find and fix the problem!
1. A new algorithm update launched
For many companies, an algorithm update is the most common culprit for lower website traffic.
Search engines like Google and Bing aren’t lounging around. They’re always looking for ways to improve the search experience because a better search experience means happier users, and satisfied users mean increased loyalty and market share.
That’s why it’s common for search engines to update their algorithms regularly. An updated algorithm, however, can change your website’s ranking in search results. It can improve your ranking or decrease it, which impacts your site traffic.
If a search engine like Google, for example, updates their algorithm and that results in your website moving from page one to page two for a competitive keyword, it can cut your site traffic substantially. That’s because only 25 percent of users view the second page of search results.
While your company can’t do anything about search engines improving their algorithms, you can adapt your online strategy to account for these updates. A cross-channel marketing strategy, for example, can help your business earn website traffic from multiple sources.
A few examples include:
- Paid ads
- Social Media
If your website traffic drops because of an algorithm update, it’s also worth investigating the update. While search engines like Google rarely comment on algorithm changes, industry experts often compile research that highlights what the update included.
2. Your website is HTTP, not HTTPS
An unsecured website can also experience a significant (and permanent) drop in site traffic.
Online security is essential, which is why most websites use Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPS). HTTPS, in comparison to HyperText Transfer Protocol, encrypts and transfers user data, like credit card information safely.
Back in 2014, Google announced that HTTPS would serve as a small ranking signal for its search engine algorithm. In the years since, however, cybersecurity has become critical, which is why Internet browsers, like Google Chrome, now alert users when visiting a site that uses HTTP versus HTTPS.
The full-page notification stops a user from arriving on your site and encourages them to go “Back to Safety.” Even if a user does decide to visit your website, their browser will show that your site is unsecure.
That’s why a website that uses HTTP, instead of HTTPS, can experience not only less website traffic but also fewer sales. If a user realizes that your site is unsecure, they won’t feel safe enough to make an online purchase.
If you’re asking, “Why is my website traffic going down?” and your site uses HTTP, you’re going to need the help of a developer. With the assistance of your development team (or a trusted agency like Great Web), you can update your website to HTTPS, which can restore your site traffic fast.
Get HTTPS for your website with the following steps:
- Acquire a dedicated IP address for your site, unless you have one already
- Purchase a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
- Activate your SSL certificate with your web host
- Install the SSL certificate on your domain
The activation and installation of your SSL certificate can take a few days.
It’s also essential for your web development team to redirect users (and search engines) to your secure site. Without a redirect, it’s possible for search engines and users to access your HTTP site, which can hurt your user experience and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
3. Your keyword strategy is outdated
An old keyword strategy can also create a slow, steady, and consistent traffic decrease.
Companies that experience a gradual decrease in website traffic need to evaluate their keyword strategy. Even if you don’t have a keyword strategy for SEO, it’s essential to review your content and what it ranks for in search results.
That’s because people (and their search habits) change.
Google Trends, a free tool, shows how search and even shopping habits change. Before the launch of the iPhone, and eventual takeover of the smartphone, people tended to search for “cellphone.” Now, however, most users search for “smartphone.”
If your company doesn’t adapt to these kinds of changes in your industry, you risk losing valuable website traffic. That’s because your site content won’t seem relevant or useful to search engines or users, which can result in lower rankings in search results.
Updating your keyword strategy is a time- and resource-intensive process. Even if you have a small website, your team needs to invest the time to optimize and revise content. The return on investment (ROI), however, is substantial and well worth the investment.
Build your website traffic back up with the following steps:
- Audit your keyword strategy, looking for outdated or generic keywords
- Research alternative keywords with a higher search volume and overall value
- Revise your content to include these alternative keywords
In most cases, your company will discover new content topics in your keyword research.
This is a big win for your business because it improves your content marketing plan and SEO strategy. Plus, new content can help your company rank in valuable search results and earn additional site traffic.
4. Your website’s design forgot about SEO
A site design that doesn’t consider SEO can cause devastating damage to your website traffic.
Redesigning your website is an excellent decision, especially if you have an older site. A refreshed website looks modern and professional, plus provides a better user experience, which can increase your bottom line.
The problem, however, is that many companies forget about SEO when designing their site.
Even web design agencies make this mistake. While they understand design and how to create an attractive and usable website, they don’t recognize the relationship between web design and SEO, and how a redesigned (or newly designed) website can tank traffic.
A few ways a website redesign can hurt your SEO and traffic include:
- Replacing page content, including title tags and meta descriptions, with unoptimized content
- Creating brand-new pages for existing pages, without setting up a 301 redirect
- Changing the site structure, without updating the sitemap
- Redesigning the website without including your Google Analytics tracking code
In comparison, a site design can prevent your website from ever achieving its dream levels of traffic. That’s because, without SEO, your site will struggle to appear in search results related to your industry, products, or services.
Since your website’s design impacts your entire site, it’s critical to fix this problem right away.
Companies can approach a traffic drop following a site redesign a few ways, including:
- Restore your previous site with backups
- Optimize your new content and website
- Update your sitemap
- Set up 301 redirects
Depending on your redesign, your fix may take a significant amount of time.
For example, if your company needs to restart your SEO strategy, it will take time to rank in search results and earn the kind of traffic that your website had before. In comparison, creating 301 redirects requires less work, though your traffic levels will probably take a few weeks or months to recover.
If your original web design doesn’t drive traffic, your team will have to take a similar approach. While you may not need to set up redirects, you will have to create optimized content for your website and audience.
Your business can also work with a full-service agency that specializes in web design and SEO, like Great Web. We can help your team and company regain your traffic, as well as ensure that future design updates protect your SEO strategy.
7 additional reasons your website traffic is down
Still confused about why your website traffic is going down? Check out these potential causes:
|WHY YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC IS DOWN||HOW TO FIX YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC|
|1. Broken 301 redirects||Review your 301 redirects for errors and fixEnsure canonical tags, XML sitemaps, and links are up-to-date|
|2. Manual Google penalty||Log in to your Google Search Console account and check alertsMake recommended site or page changes|
|3. Slow page speed||Check page speed with PageSpeed InsightsMake updates or use page speed optimization services|
|4. Poor internal linking||Audit internal linking strategyAdd internal links to content deep in your websiteUse anchor text related to page topic or targeted keyword|
|5. Unreliable server||Review server performance and hosting packageMove to a new service provider or different hosting package|
|6. Duplicate content||Check website for identical blocks of contentMake identical content unique|
|7. Unindexed site||View Google Search Console to see if site and pages indexedSubmit website and pages for indexing|
Restore your website traffic (and then some) with Great Web
No one wants to see their website traffic down, but it happens. Learning why your website traffic is going down on Google and how you can fix it, however, provides your business with the insight and tools for regaining your traffic.
In many cases, it’s an enormous task to restore your website traffic, like after a website redesign or abandoned keyword strategy. That’s why businesses partner with our full-service digital marketing agency.
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