Experiencing sudden drops in website traffic can happen to anyone. One day your website is at the top of Google search results, or at least on the first page and then you notice a drop in your website traffic with alarmingly decreasing visitor numbers. This no doubt this is having a negative effect on website inquiries and incoming sales calls. But why is this happening? It could be caused by a number of things – so before you hysteria sets in, try these quick troubleshooting steps to identify the root cause.
Analyze Your Website Traffic Using Google Search Console
Your website will be penalized if it doesn’t adhere to Google’s search engine rankings rules. You can easily check to see if you have a Google penalty on your website. Login in to your Google Search Console account and click on ‘All Messages’. If you have a Google penalty, this is where you’ll see the message outlining the details of the penalty. If you don’t have any notifications regarding a penalty, that’s great news!
If you don’t have any messages regarding a penalty, then move on to indexability. To see this data, click on your website’s domain name. On the left side of the page, click on ‘Google Index’, then click on ‘index status’. A major drop here can provide hints to possible issues. For example, if you’re noticing a major drop in Google’s ability to index your website, have Google to reindex your site.
Check Your Sitemap
If Google can no longer index your sitemap, your website is pretty much invisible to the search engine. So, while you’re still logged into your Google Search Console account, under your domain name section, click on ‘Crawl’, then click ‘Sitemaps’. Any problems Google may be having indexing your sitemap will show in this area.
Google Analytics, Referrals, AdWords
It’ a good idea to check out your acquisitions. To do that, login to your Google Analytics account. Start from the ‘Acquisition’ page, click ‘Channels’. Once there, do a comparison of the previous few months. This comparison will be helpful in signaling whether you’ve lost traffic and which type of traffic; direct traffic or referral traffic. You also want to make sure you have not lost an important referral linkIf you identify a specific page that is causing problems, try running a link analysis to check for negative SEO.
Robots.txt and NoIndex Page
It’s easy to make the mistake of leaving in an unwanted NoIndex status in your robots.txt file. But, if your site is using Yoast WordPress SEO, All In One SEO, or some other seo plugin, an unwanted NoIndex status is less likely as these plugins automatically generate your sitemap related lines into the robots.txt file. You should have seen if a single page is the cause of your sudden drops in website traffic in your previous Google Analytics stats. Go to that page’s code and make sure there are no leftover NoIndex tags in the header code.
Wrapping It Up
And there you have it! Some quick steps to investigate what is causing your sudden drops in website traffic. Most problems can be fixed by following these steps, if not, you many need professional assistance. Our team of website developers have years of experience in solving the many mysteries of internet technology. If you would like to speak with one of our knowledgable team members, get in touch or call us at (858) 874-6528.