It’s every website owner’s worst nightmare – a sudden or continuous drop in traffic.
When such an unfortunate event occurs, the first port of action should be to understand why this is happening, since there are hundreds, if not thousands, of reasons why a website could see a drop in traffic.
It would be seemingly a very long article to list out every reason for a website dropping traffic. With this in mind, here is a step-by-step process I take when I notice a drop in traffic, to help eliminate the biggest potential reasons for it, to come to the conclusion that either 1) it’s natural or 2) I can do something about it.
- Check Google Analytics vs previous day, previous week, and previous year. This is the best way to first determine if you have a drop in traffic, or if it is a natural decline that will bounce back. For example:
- Checking vs the previous day will tell you if your website has seen an immediate drop in traffic.
- Checking vs the previous week will show you if the drop in traffic over multiple days is becoming a long term issue.
- If so, comparing it to a year before will show you natural occurrences in traffic modulation to not worry about. This works well for telling drops in traffic due to elections, holidays, religious festivals, and more.
- Check SEMRush/Ahrefs/Moz. All three of these tools are very good at predicting the traffic of a site through search engines, so if you see a drop in traffic over the last day or even a few days, the three SEM tools should be able to spot this too. If you do not see a drop in organic predicted traffic with these tools, then it’s safe to say your rankings have not declined, and it’s just a blip.