6 Common Reasons why your Website has Lost Traffic
Seen a drop in your traffic recently and not sure why? Don't fret. We've listed some of the common reasons why you may be seeing a loss and how to improve.
Published: 03 Sep 2020
7 minutes read
For B2B organisations, a sudden loss in traffic can be both surprising and confusing, and it's very easy to jump straight into panic mode. Businesses often believe that a sudden drop in traffic can be detrimental (which, sometimes, it can), however, more often than not, there’s a logical reason for it, and solving the problem can be more straightforward than you first perceive.
That’s why, to help you stay level-headed, we’ve listed 6 common reasons for your sudden drop in traffic, as well as tips on what to do to fix it.
Now, take a deep breath, and let’s get started!
1. You’ve made changes to your website
This is an extremely common reason for a sudden loss of traffic, and can confuse a lot of organisations, as surely making changes, updates or redesigning your site is a good thing?
Well, it is. However, changing elements of your site will have an impact on your traffic. This doesn’t mean any changes you’ve made are bad, it just means that you may have forgotten certain elements when updating your site, which now have an effect on the traffic.
For example, many businesses will either not properly optimise their pages for SEO, or just forget to do it altogether - both of which could have negative repercussions for your traffic levels. Often, particularly in in-house web design projects, SEO takes a backseat to other elements of the site, such as the design - however, SEO (on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO) should be an integral part of any redesign or changes made to your website.
Solution: Optimise your pages!
This is a straightforward solution to a common problem - just make sure your pages are targeting the right keywords, and that all elements of the page (title tags, alt tags etc) are correct and optimised. This will undoubtedly help you regain some of the traffic you’ve lost, and help you get even further up the rankings in the long term.
This is also a prevalent issue for many organisations, however, unlike SEO keywords, links often go unnoticed if you don't keep on top of them. Usually, websites over time will change; they will be redesigned or updated, which is great - but only if you fully update each page, and check for broken or old links.
But what does this mean?
If you’ve done a redesign before, and it’s involved the restructuring of various pages to different parts of the website, it could lead to broken links. Why? If you move one page to another place on the website, and that page was linked to another page that has since been moved or deleted, the link on the original page becomes broken, and will greet users with an ERROR when they click on it.
This is a hugely common cause for a drop in traffic - broken or outdated links don’t put you in Google’s good books, and will make you lose credibility. Not only this, but it massively impacts the user experience, leading to frustration for visitors on your site who may decide to give up and go elsewhere. That means you need to check for broken or outdated links now - before you continue to lose traffic.
Backlinks can also add to this problem, as they’re a crucial part of SEO that often gets forgotten about. They help build credibility and improve rankings, and they need to be kept on top of in order to be successful. If you simply aren’t earning enough backlinks, this could be contributing to your sudden drop in traffic - and you need to address it immediately.
Solution: Check your links
The best way to resolve these issues is fairly obvious - check your links! There are a number of tools you can use to do this too, it doesn’t have to be a laborious task. Our favourite SEO tool AhRefs specialises in backlinks, and offers free versions of their paid-for tools that can help you identify broken or outdated links across your site - we’ve listed both right here.
To gain more backlinks, content creation is a good idea - as you can link to other sites from your own, and other sites can link to your content if they find it useful.
3. Your site is too… slow
In the digital age where billions of people across the world are visiting new sites each and every day, a slow website just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Even if your site is just the slightest bit slower than average, it could have a significant negative impact on your traffic.
The reasons for slow site speed vary, however, it is common for websites to become slower when they’ve been redesigned or updated - if elements of a web page such as images, videos or files aren’t optimised, or are simply too big for the page it will cause issues. Users, quite simply, don’t want to wait for information anymore - which is why checking your site speed is extremely important.
Solution: Check your page speed
It may not be your entire site that is slow, it could just be one, or a few pages. However, in order to improve the overall traffic across the site - you need to ensure that page speed is optimal across the board. Googles’ PageSpeed Insights is a great tool that provides suggestions on how to fix your site speed; however, if this seems like too big a job, there are always website design agencies that can help you (like us!).
4. You’re not aware of the latest search engine updates
An easy way to figure out why you’ve suddenly lost traffic is to check out any recent updates to Google’s algorithm - as it’s more than likely that you may have missed something. Google (among others) is always changing, updating and refining its algorithms - and it expects you to stay on top of them. You’re not alone, though - many organisations have been affected by the same issue.
Solution: Have an effective cross-channel marketing strategy in place
To avoid being stung by an unexpected Google update you’ve missed, not only should you keep on top of the latest news, you should ensure you have a cross channel marketing strategy in place. This means not simply relying on organic traffic, and hoping that your ideal customers stumble across your site when searching directly; and instead using platforms such as social media in an attempt to gain more traffic outside of the search engines.
5. You’re being out-performed by the competition
Sometimes, you can be doing absolutely nothing wrong SEO-wise yet still see a reduction in traffic. As painful as it may be, the reality of this situation is that your competitors are ranking higher than you - which could be due to many reasons. For example, they could be much better optimised for the keywords you're targeting, possess a lot of backlinks, or simply have a better website (sorry!).
Solution: Keep an eye on your competitors
If you’re looking to improve any aspect of your site or marketing, analysing your competitors is always an essential activity. However, in order to truly do better than them, competitor analysis needs to be done on a regular basis, and you should be tracking their social media, link building strategies and content marketing. This way, you’ll be able to understand what your competition is doing that you aren’t, and do it better. Outdoing your competitors is realistically the only way you’re ever going to significantly improve your traffic.
6. Your visitors have changed
Ultimately, one of the main reasons you may be losing traffic might actually be beyond your control, and not something you can easily fix: user behaviour. Particularly throughout 2020, your usual customers have likely undergone significant changes either in their mindset or the way they go about making a purchase, and your site may unfortunately no longer cater to their needs. While this is a common occurrence for eCommerce businesses whose traffic will fluctuate throughout the year, a huge drop in traffic for B2B organisations could mean something more serious.
That’s why it’s essential not only that you know your customer, but that you analyse buyer behaviours and trends on a regular basis - using tools such as Google Trends to do so. However, if you still don’t see an improvement, it could be that your site needs updating to match the needs of your changing buyer.
Solution: Look into a site redesign
Think about your website.
It’s probably decent, does it’s job to some extent - but is it really getting the traffic you need?
Sometimes, all the back-end SEO work in the world won’t improve a site that visitors simply don’t want to use, and this is something that can be difficult to digest, especially if an organisation is reluctant to make any major changes to their site. However, if you want to significantly improve traffic (and more importantly, leads) it’s a good idea to look into how a website redesign could not only solve your issues, but be the key to generating more customers than ever before.