The most common reason for the sudden drop in website traffic is a recent search algorithm update. Penalties, redirects robots.txt rules, and ranking loss are among the many plausible reasons to notice a decrease in your website’s traffic.
However, most of the time when you’re struck by a sudden drop in traffic, there are some things you can look into. So here is to look at some common reasons for the sudden drop in website traffic.
Read Also, Top 6 Common Keyword Research Mistakes
Common Reason For The Sudden Drop In Website Traffic
1. Tracking errors
A lot of webmasters and owners have managed to extract their tracking codes from their sites and then wonder why the site’s traffic drops. It’s a mistake that is easily rectified however in the long run you’ll be missing out on valuable data.
So the faster you can spot this and address it and fixed, the more effective. If you notice that suddenly no data is tracked on Google Analytics or a Tag that isn’t functioning, the tracking codes have either made an error or were eliminated completely. If you’re in possession of access then make sure your code’s in place and in good order.
2. Redirect errors
A majority of sites, especially big websites, will include redirects. They’re usually added through a .htaccess file or, when you’re using WordPress the plugin will help you out.
If you are adding an additional permanent redirection (301) for your website make sure you test it before putting it live especially in the case of large numbers of redirects.
Make sure that redirects are functioning as they should be analyzing the response codes as well as their final destinations.
3. Algorithm changes
Google does not shy away from the fact that they release many changes throughout the calendar year. with some more important than others. It’s a shame that trying to discover exact details about the changes is as if you were trying to draw blood from stones.
But, a simple method to determine if your site has been affected through an update to the algorithm is keeping a check on any confirmed changes by Google themselves.
The most convenient way to obtain details on changes to algorithms is via Moz or SEMrush. If you notice that there’s been an update recently, look at the websites that were particularly affected. Find any connections between them, and make sure that your site isn’t suffering similarly.
4. Incorrect robots.txt rules
Are you certain that your website doesn’t block search engines from crawling your robots.txt file?
It’s not unusual that developers to leave robots.txt documents unchanged after moving from a staging or development website. The majority of the time that this happens, it’s totally unintentional.
Visit your website’s robots.txt file and ensure that there is no violation of the following rules:
5. Crawl errors
With the brand new Search Console, open up the Index Coverage Report and check for URLs with an error. Any URLs included in the coverage report with an error that is associated with them won’t be added to the index. Common errors found in this report are:
- Server errors
- Redirect errors
- URLs blocked by robots.txt
- URLs marked with a no-index mark
- Soft 404 errors
- URLs that do not return an authorized request
- URLs that cannot be found (404s)
- Crawling errors
6. Ranking losses
Another common reason for a decrease in website traffic can be due to decrease in organic ranking. If you’re monitoring your website’s performance using a rank tracker tool, then solving this issue is much easier.
If not, using information from Search Console will be your most effective option. Follow the steps below to determine any changes to rankings:
- Utilizing Google Analytics and Search Console or any other tracker of rank, pinpoint the time when traffic began to decrease
- Make an export of the top keywords prior to as well as after dropping
- Utilizing Excel as well as G Sheets create a table and copy the data into a row
- Check out the changes in the positions
- Retarget lost terms using Keyword research and mapping
7. URLs being de-indexed
Google recently tweeted about a reported de-indexing issue that caused sites to show important pages being taken off the index in a matter of minutes. This isn’t an issue that has been reported recently.
Finding the important URLs that have disappeared from the results of a search can be a major aspect when analyzing the sudden loss of traffic to websites.
- Review the index coverage report within Search Console for any errors
- By using an URL Inspection tool verify whether the pages you want to visit are in the index
- If not, select the option ‘REQUEST INDEXING’ in Search Console
8. Keyword cannibalization
If you’ve just produced a large number of new articles on a particular subject without taking into account the keywords you’re targeting it is possible that you have become a victim of a cannibalization problem.
Cannibalization happens when a site is indexed for a specific keyword using multiple URLs. If traffic is spread between multiple posts or pages and pages, you may be losing important organic traffic. There are many tools that can be used to detect cannibalization issues.
9. Penalties and manual actions
An administrative action could be placed on your site when one of Google’s eagle-eyed human reviewers discovers information on your site that is not in line with Google’s guidelines.
More information is available about the webmaster guidelines on their website here. You can check the extent to which your site was damaged by the manual process by looking up the report of manual actions available on Search Console.