If you’re experiencing a drop in website traffic, the culprit could be the weather. According to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, reducing air pollution in major cities around the world could help prevent a 15 percent decrease in traffic on the Internet.

Should you find yourself having a bad day today, it’s probably not because of an angry mother-in-law or a few too many martinis. But, it may be your smartphone that’s to blame. Traffic on the roads in your city have slowed to a crawl or have even stopped completely since your last visit.

30-second summary:

  • A drop in traffic doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong – in most cases, it’s a natural occurrence.
  • All websites have experienced a decline in traffic over the course of their existence due to seasonality, loss of PPC budgets and many other factors.
  • When it comes to declining organic search traffic, the causes are often stagnant content, the appearance of new competitors or the loss of backlinks.
  • To diagnose a drop in traffic, identify the source of the drop in traffic, and then determine which pages have lost traffic.
  • It’s important not to make any rash decisions, take the time to investigate if you’ve lost any positions and which sites have replaced yours.
  • Try to find out why this change has occurred and how you can correct it.

Have you ever checked your analytics and noticed a sudden or gradual drop in organic traffic? Who wasn’t? If there is one thing that almost all marketing strategies have in common: We’ve all had to deal with the problem of declining organic traffic on several occasions. All websites have experienced a drop in traffic, often on a regular basis. How do you handle a drop in organic traffic when you see something like this in Google Analytics? Source: Screenshot of the author (April, 2021) word-image-2394 Here are four clearly defined steps you should follow to diagnose a drop in traffic:

Step 1: Checking which traffic source is affected

It’s an obvious question, but too many people automatically assume that organic traffic from Google is declining. So make sure it’s not the PPC traffic that eats your budget. It happens more often than you think! So, assuming this is a drop in organic traffic, we need to look further:

Step 2: Which side is down?

To quickly see which pages are down, go to Acquisition -> Total Traffic -> Channels in your Google Analytics account. From there, click Organic and in the Date field, check the Compare with box and choose Previous Period from the drop-down list: Source: Screenshot of the author (April, 2021) word-image-2395 Now scroll down and click on the Landing Pages tab to see all your pages and compare their traffic this week to last week. word-image-2396 Source: Screenshot of the author (April, 2021) There’s not much to do here. If you are seeing a drop in traffic, it is likely that the highest ranked page(s) are affected. Then look at the top of the list. Especially if all your pages are affected, there is something to worry about. This could be a sign that the site has been hit by a recent Google update or even a penalty (the latter is much rarer these days). This article provides some good ways to determine if there has been an update and how to assess if you have been affected. A more common scenario is that you see some pages fail. Others remain untouched or even begin to gain traffic. This is a good indication that you don’t have to worry about possible action from Google. Most pages move up and down in search engine results pages. Now take the list of rejected URLs and examine them in more detail.

Step 3: Were the assessments influenced?

This is not so unusual: We see a gradual decline in traffic with no noticeable effect on rankings. There are two possible reasons for this:

  • It’s just that people don’t look for that question very often. This was very common in 2020, when search behavior changed dramatically. And it can still be relevant to seasonal requirements (think suits, skiwear, swimwear, etc).
  • There is a new search element on the search engine results pages that is distracting attention and clicks.

So how do you diagnose impaired performance? This is a question that is harder to answer these days. If you are keeping track of your rankings, it is obvious to check this. Google’s Search Console is another platform to check, but it’s not easy to quickly diagnose a drop in ranking. The tool displays the data with a slight delay. However, if you take a moment, you can analyze your ranking using the Comparison tab in the Performance Report section: word-image-2397 Source: Screenshot of the author (April, 2021) Once you have chosen the date range, browse and filter your data according to the Position Difference column. Remember that here you only need to take into account the loss or deterioration of the position on the first page, since your position on the second page would not have resulted in loss of traffic anyway. So, again, breathe. word-image-2398 Source: Screenshot of the author (April, 2021) Instead, you can filter the Search Console data based on previous positions, for example. B. See grades 1 lost: word-image-2399 Source: Screenshot of the author (April, 2021) Another – perhaps more reasonable – way to diagnose access requests is to judge by the traffic. Search Console shows the number of clicks for each search query and compares them to the previously submitted searches. If Google is not the only search engine that matters to you, you can use Finteza to find out which searches are generating less traffic than before: word-image-2400 Source: Screenshot of the author (April, 2021) Finteza’s default search term report aggregates data from all the search engines where you appear. To collect this data, it must run for a certain amount of time. It’s easy to integrate. Finteza is not free (it costs $25 per 100,000 unique users per month), but it is the only web analytics solution that still offers reliable keyword data. To better understand what’s going on with your organic traffic, I suggest you use all of the above methods (and more). And as you adjust and localize your search, it’s very difficult to know where you’re gaining (or losing), so combining data from multiple sources is essential.

Step 4: Determine why these values have decreased

Here begins another tedious part of our analysis. Usually, rankings can fluctuate or drop as Google finds a better page to rank. This can happen because:

  • Your request deserves freshness, and there is a newer site above yours. If that were the case, you would already be used to the fluctuations.
  • Your competitor has created a better page with better backlinks.
  • You’ve lost important backlinks, resulting in a loss of capital.

Your positioning solution can give you clues as to which page has overtaken you in the SERPs. Most ranking tracking platforms have a SERP tracking feature that takes a regular snapshot of your important SERPs. For example, you can track the movement of target SERPs: Source: Evaluation of EM word-image-2401 For high volume searches, SpyFu tracks key movements in the SERPs: Image source : Spyfu word-image-2402 To easily identify lost backlinks that may have caused a drop in position, use link monitoring tools. They keep track of exactly when each link was lost, so you can easily assess whether your rankings and organic traffic have been affected: Source: LinkChecker.pro word-image-2403 When you discover the page pushing you away in search results, try to figure out why. There can be many causes, including the most common ones (and a combination of them):


It is not possible to control traffic. What you can do is monitor the situation (creating a dashboard makes this easier and more consistent) and create a clearly defined action plan to analyze a potential accident. If you see a drop in organic traffic, it usually doesn’t mean your site is being filtered or penalized (which is often assumed). In most cases, this is a completely natural and ongoing fluctuation in the SERPs. Stay calm and carefully analyze what has changed (and why). Do not take any rash actions or repairs until you have reviewed various data sources and taken the time to develop a strategic plan. And most importantly: Breathe. Ann Smarty is a brand manager and community manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com. You can find her on Twitter @seosmarty.

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