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Checking your analytics and realizing that your traffic is dropping can feel like a nightmare. But the fact is that every website on the internet experiences dips in traffic from time to time. It’d be wonderful if we could all enjoy high traffic all the time, but that’s just not the way the internet works. How do you go about diagnosing a website’s traffic drop?

We’ve got the steps you need to take to effectively handle such scenarios, so read on:

Step 1: Observe The Drop

No, we don’t mean look at the drop. Observe it and see what you can find out about it at a glance. Does the drop look like traffic plunged overnight? Or is it more of a gradual decrease that’s been happening over the last few days?

Most importantly, check if the traffic is still freefalling or showing signs of improvement.

Step 2: Check The Source

This is the part where you dig a little deeper. It’s easy to assume the worst and think that your organic traffic has taken a hit, but things could be different. Not all website traffic is the same, so check the stats for your direct, organic, paid, referral, and social traffic.

Knowing which source of traffic is facing problems can help you take the right corrective measures. For example, a drop in organic traffic could indicate a penalty from Google, and a paid campaign coming to an end will also decrease traffic to unusually low levels.

Step 3: Check The Damage

You should now see which pages are being affected by the drop. First, find out whether it’s an isolated issue or impacting your whole website. You can do this by using Google Analytics and comparing the week-to-week traffic for your website.

If the effects of the traffic drop can be seen all over your website, it could be the result of an update to the Google algorithms. The second—and more alarming reason for a site-wide drop is the imposition of a penalty. Find out for sure by checking for penalty notifications.

Step 4: Investigate The Causes

Traffic drops often follow major changes to your website. This includes the obvious, more visible changes, such as a redesign, as well as more technical changes that happen behind the scenes.

If you’re also falling in search rankings at the same time as the traffic drop, your usual traffic could be going to your competitors’ websites. Figure out which keywords have been hit the hardest. Then, check your competitors to see if they’ve made noticeable changes, are offering better content, or have introduced an exciting new feature on their site.

Marketing team investigating a website's traffic drop.
Investigating A Traffic Drop.

Step 5: Did Google Take Your Traffic?

Google’s changes can often lead to traffic drops, too. The search engine is providing answers to an increasing number of queries at the top of search results. If your organic traffic can get its answers from Google without opening a website, they’re less likely to come to you.

The result? Decreased organic traffic.

Step 6: How Healthy Is Your Referral Network?

Losing backlinks can cripple your referral network and lead to losses in referral traffic. Use a tool such as Ahrefs to find out which links you’ve lost and why. Rebuilding your referral network will take time but knowing what to do makes things easier. Link building is a great traffic source for specific pages and particular search queries. Backlinks are something you need to check on a regular basis.

Referral word written out with scrabble blocks.
How Healthy Is Your Referral Network?

Step 7: Is There A Bigger Reason?

Search patterns can change quickly and dramatically during certain events and at certain times of the year. If this is the case, then you can rest easy knowing that neither your website nor Google is to blame.

Keeping an eye on Google Trends that are relevant to your website can help you assess the public’s interest in a particular topic. This information is useful, as it will let you highlight current trends on your website and focus less on what isn’t being searched for.

Always keep an eye on Google Search Console and make sure your website doesn’t have a Google penalty, especially after a Google update. If you see an organic traffic drop after a Google algorithm update it might be time to do things differently.

Marketing professional looking for a bigger reason for a traffic drop.
Looking For A Bigger Reason For A Website’s Traffic Drop

Trying A Different Approach

It comes down to this: the sooner you accept that traffic drops are a natural part of running a website and being in the digital marketing game, the better.

Instead of treating traffic drops as reasons to ring the alarm, it’s better to develop a comprehensive plan that helps you deal with traffic drops without panicking. A step-by-step plan will enable you to diagnose traffic drops and take the necessary corrective measures—if they’re needed.

It’s also wise to keep your inbound marketing on point so that you can consistently attract new visitors to your website. Here are a few ways of doing that:

1. Share High-Quality Content

Regularly sharing high-quality content that delivers value to your audience helps keep your traffic steady. People will come to your website more frequently once they have an idea of what to expect and when to expect it.

Consider enlisting SEO article writing services take care of content creation for you if you choose not to use Matchbox Design Group’s content writing services. Their optimized content will have the added advantage of improving your rankings for the keywords you want to target.

2. Enact A Well-Planned SEO Strategy

Keeping up with your SEO strategies and best practices has many dividends. The biggest one is that it will boost your organic search traffic.

Ensure you’re doing everything you can to secure prominence in search engine results by fine-tuning your on-page, off-page, and technical SEO as often as required. For professional assistance, you can hire an SEO service provider.

3. Use All Available Channels

Don’t leverage one inbound marketing channel at the expense of the others. Learn about all the different inbound marketing channels and use all of them to your advantage. We’re talking about social media, real-world events, blogs, and even e-mail marketing.


A drop in traffic doesn’t always need to be a cause for concern. As long as you know how to properly investigate a traffic drop—and are working on your inbound marketing to bring in as much new traffic as possible—you’ll be able to recover from traffic drops easily. We hope this article makes it easier for you when diagnosing a website’s traffic drop.

About The Author

The author is part of a team of article writers at Search Berg, an internet marketing and SEO agency. For more details, the company can be contacted through its website or at 855-444-4777.