The internet is a strange animal. When you have a website, you sometimes see traffic on your pages shooting up like there is no tomorrow. At other times the traffic goes so low that you wonder whether all the effort is really worth it. The worst part of these rises and falls is when you are not able to put a finger on the reasons for the changes in traffic. Here are a few tips to understand why there is a change in the traffic on your webpages. Because drop in traffic is more depressing and hurts your webpage more, we will focus on the reasons for drops.
1. Indirect Impact : Very often the drop in traffic on your website is not due to reasons related to your webpage at all. For example, if your website relates to your business of supplying fresh fish, and there has been a recent scare among the general public about fishes drinking contaminated water of rivers and lakes, then people will reduce or stop buying fish. As a result lesser number of people will log on to your website to order fresh fish. It has got nothing to do with any problems in the content and layout of your website that it suddenly becomes less popular.
2. Shifting Algorithms : Remember how people used to fill their webpage content with different variants of the same key words or phrases? And remember how those keywords with high densities in the content used to provide those pages great SERP Rankings? Well, the times, they have changed now. You are actually penalized by Google for indulging in keyword stuffing (Increasing keyword density beyond a certain limit), and you can just forget getting good ranks by keyword stuffing.
This is just one example of the many parameters that have changed in search engine algorithms. So when you experience a drop in your hits, find out about the latest changes to the Google algorithm, and figure out which one you may have violated.
3. Hackers Anonymous : When your website becomes popular enough to attract envy, or it becomes valuable enough for hackers to gain by hacking into your site, then it results in unauthorized copies of your website and its links being recreated. This would divert traffic, and would reduce the hits to your website. You can use a FTP client to log onto your website, which would show you the modification dates of the pages of your website. You can easily identify the ones you didn’t edit, and you can diagnose those pages to clean them.
You might also want to check the indexed pages that were created. You can get these details in the indexing segment of Google Search Console. Just like the previous method, you can identify those indexed pages in this list which were not created by you, and remove them.
4. Certification Missing : Users today are much more aware of what is good for them and what is not. Most users, for example, are aware of what an SSL certification is, and what its absence might mean, especially for websites which offer e-commerce facilities. In case your website gives customers the chance to buy things, but it does not have SSL certification to make the transactions secure, you should not be surprised if the number of visitors (and buyers) on your website goes down. As if that were not enough, Google Chrome is actually going ahead and warning visitors about potentially unsafe sites. So if there was someone who didn’t know and could stray onto your insecure site, Google Chrome is making sure that even that visitor knows, and then avoids your site.
5. Visitor Habits : Because a vast majority of people are accessing the internet and logging on to search engine pages on their mobile phones, the way people search for things and use the results page has changed, and a webmaster or business owner needs to be cognizant of that, otherwise there could be a drop in traffic. The first thing you should check is if your website is responsive for use on mobile phone devices. Simple things like how wide the page is or whether the content is in long paragraph chunks or short paragraphs, all of these affect how popular your webpage would be.
It is not at all convenient to open a huge and heavy file on a mobile phone, so a website needs to avoid attaching files on which visitors can click, and it is better to provide links to the content of those files which be opened in a separate webpage. Similarly, using your fingers to fill up detailed sign up forms can be tedious, and will drive visitors away, so try avoiding those. These new ways of accessing websites could be reducing the flow of traffic to your website.
6. It is not about you : Many website owners fret about a fall in their traffic and spend a lot of energy and effort in finding out the reasons. But they ignore the fact that there are several other websites which are vying for the same set of eyeballs as you. You might not have anything wrong, but your competitors might have done several things right.
So when you notice a drop in your website traffic, be sure to also check the websites and see if they have done anything new which is diverting traffic to them instead of you. The drop in traffic might not always be about you, you also need to give due credit to your competitors for doing some things right which you might not have thought of.
These are just 6 of the reasons for a drop in traffic on your website, most of which are not too technical and can be corrected by the simple use of common sense, as described above. Apart from these, there could be technical reasons related to the code and the architecture of your webpages. If the above simple tips do not work, then you might want to go deeper into the reasons.