Marketing & Advertising Magazine

How To Diagnose A Drop In Website Traffic Fast

Posted on the 01 October 2017 by David Mark @Ataghan_micheal
Website Traffic

Where did all my website traffic go? That's what we're going to talk about today. If you've got a big drop in website traffic, what do you do so you can figure out what went wrong, and how to get it back.

Analytics Tracking Code Error

The first thing to understand is that when you have a drop in website traffic, it's usually the results of a couple things. So it can be an analytics tracking code error. That's the first thing that you want to check. Is your analytics messed up?

Cause if that's the case, then all you need to do is fix it and it comes back. 

Google Algorithm Update

Another thing that could be the issue is it could be the result of a Google algorithm update.

Check the latest news and kind of figure out was there an update that went out. Also, it can be the result of getting a penalty inside of Google, and that can result in a big drop in website traffic as well.

In other to figure that out if it's a manual action, you can go inside a google search console, and you can click the manual action button, and find out if or not you, in fact, got a manual action penalty.

Maybe Your Website Is Broken

Another thing that happens a lot is maybe your website is broken. A URL could have broken, you could be having server errors. There's a lot of different things that could cause that. 

Those are some of the main buckets, that you want to think about. 

* Is it Analytics?
* Was it an algorithmic update?
* Did you get a penalty or did your website just break?
When you think about things in those buckets, and you go through a process to diagnose that, you're gonna be able to figure out what went wrong and where the traffic went.

Analytics Tracking Error

When it comes to Analytics tracking error, it's usually Analytics code not installed correctly on the page.

Maybe it's not firing through google tag manager. Or it could also be a split testing error when you are running some type of split testing software for conversation rate optimization, and that's kind of killing things.

But the number one thing on the Analytics side is taking a look and see if the code is on the page as a first step.

Google Search Console Error

Sometimes it can be a Google Search console error. So if you're not familiar with what Google Search console is it's basically something provided by Google that allows you to see how google's interpreting your website.

So what you want to do is you want to make sure that your parameters are basically configured correctly, cause that can result in a big drop in traffic.

You want to make sure that somebody didn't go in and remove a URL with the URL removal tool. That can take an entire URL or even entire homepage out of the index so that's a very important thing as well.

You want to go in and test with the robots.txt tester tool to make sure that your website's not blocked with robots.txt.

You can just go to, and make sure that your homepage isn't blocked.

Having A Noindex, Nofollow

Having a noindex, nofollow are two of the main ways that I see people lose a ton of traffic.

Also, make sure that you have the correct geo settings, and that somebody didn't go into Search console, and they didn't set up your website to rank in Canada, when in fact you're a US company.

Incorrect Rel=Caniniacal Tags

Other technical things that happen a lot is incorrect rel=canonical tags so there might be a whole bunch of rel=canonicals point from one area of your site to another area of your site.

Basically what that does is that it tells google don't rank this area, rank this area. Then you result in a big drop in traffic.

So that can definitely be something to watch out for.

Watch Out For Incorrect Redirects

Also, you need to watch out for incorrect redirects. In some cases, you'll see that there's URL redirecting from one area to another that shouldn't be. And I can't tell you how many times I've seen that kill a website traffic.

You can see that by using a tool like DeepCrawl, Screaming Frog, SEMrush to crawl the website and make sure that all your redirects are in the right place.

Read: 12 Important SEO Tools & Software (You Need Today)

404 Errors

Another thing that happens a lot with big drops in traffic is 404 errors that you didn't even think were happening.

You can go and use these crawling tools like SEMrush that I just mentioned or another option is to go into Google Search console and look at your crawl errors report and then filter it by date, and then see if you have any fresh 404 errors.

That can be a really good way to see if pages are breaking and if you're having issues. That happens way more often than you would think.

Google Analytics Review

What you're going to do is to go inside Google Analytics and do a review.

* Look at your top landing pages that lost traffic.

* Look at the top source in mediums that lost traffic.
* Look at the top keywords that lost traffic
* Look at the top browsers that lost traffic.
Go through each of these technical elements, and then gather the information that you can because that's gonna tell you 

* where you lost traffic from?

* What URL it was on?
* What sources it came from?
And then you can pinpoint the issue. If you're able to do that, it makes it much easier to diagnose. 

Google Search Console

You also want to go into Google Search console, and check things like your site manages, your site queries report, you'll see if you lost actual traffic specifically from Google which can often be the cases because most website traffic is from google.

You'll want to check your crawl errors report. Go in and do a full analysis of Google Search console, and that's gonna give you some google data that you can further pinpoint the issue.

Duplicate Content

Also in some cases, duplicate content can be a huge issue, so that's another thing to watch out for. 

Make sure that you didn't accidentally push or duplicate version of your site live, Or a duplicate section of your site live.

And that a competitor didn't copy your website, and push that live on another domain causing that to be ranked instead of your main site.

Use a tool like to see if someone copy your content to another page.

Check Drop In Specific Keyword

Another thing is if you do find that it's google issue, a Google ranking issue, you can use a tool like SEMrush, and you can check to see if there is a drop in specific keywords.

SENrush allows you to see what keywords went up, what keyword went down. You'll be able to see what went down, you can filter that by landing page, find out which landing pages have the biggest drop.

Take a look at those landing pages, and put them into a crawler tool.

And then you can see if they're 404-ing or blocking, or if anything changed.

Use A Couple Third Party Tools

It's always a good idea to use a couple of third-party tools like SEMrush.

Also if you want to double-check to see if it's Google update, you can check out MozCas to see if there is a large change in algorithms.

* You want to determine was it an algorithmic update? 

* What is something that I change or broke on my website?

Was it an Analysis tracking issue. then once you figure that out, these tools will be much more helpful for you.

What's Going On With Backlink

One other thing you might want to look at is if it is a google issue. It's always a good idea to get an idea of what's going on with your backlinks because you would have gone in a penalty from links. 

You can go inside the Google Search console, and you can see all the latest links that they picked up inside of Google. 

You can also use Majestic, SEMrush, and Ahrefs, to see all the links that have come to your website, and then determine are those qualities. Are those link you wanted to have. Are they pointing at specific pages, 

That's gonna give you a little bit more information. 

Summing Up A Drop In Website Traffic

It's never fun. 

It can be kind of scary.

I will say most of the time, it's an analytics tracking error, where Analytics code is not installed on the page. So check that first.

After you've done that, go through these other steps that i talked about. 

Go into Analytics, 

* Look at the top landing pages report. 

* Look at the medium and source report.

Go through every single portion of it, and then analyze those drops by dates, and look at period over period, so that you can understand really where the drop was and what specific URLs and what specific areas.

* Go through google search console, and then try to figure out where these specific errors in there that resulted in this drop. 

* Don't forget to check your robots.txt file to see if you've blocked the entire website.

* Don't forget to see if there's no-index, nofollow on your site that you accidentally put on there.

* Crawl the website and make sure there's not a rel=canonical issue that's pushing all your authority to one area and causing the rest of the area to drop. 

Good luck with diagnosing of your drop in website traffic. I hope you get your traffic back quick. I know that can be scary. Have a great day

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