What To Do in The Event of Traffic Loss To Your Website
You notice a drop in sales, then you notice this is due to a drop in your web traffic and you can’t figure out why. Usually traffic loss comes down to one of two things, a change in search engine algorithm that resulted in one of more of your pages moving down a few spots or totally off page one or negative material about your brand has surfaced for key search terms which is putting customers off your brand. For all businesses a loss of traffic is a nightmare but whats even worse is when this is due to negative phrases associated with your brand name. Phrases like ‘fraud’, ‘unethical’ and ‘scams’.
Negative reviews could be altering your customer’s perception of your business. You may have been building your brand for several years but the internet has somehow branded your business in a negative light.
While you may never be able to fully remove the negativity surrounding your brand, you may be able to diminish the impact it has on your business. Before you can do something about it you need to know what the queries are that lead your prospective customers to the negative comments and search results.
In this post I’ll suggest some ways in which you can diagnose traffic loss.
Check Google Analytics
Your website should have Google Analytics tracking installed (if it hasn’t been yet, then do create an account and add the tracking code asap). look through the stats in the GA dashboard or any other analytics service you may have on your site. It will contain a list of phrases people have used to find your site.
It’s important to keep in mind though that these phrases are only the ones people used to reach your page and if using Google not all phrases will be shown due to HTTPS.
You should also check the referrer traffic sources. See if any have shown a drop in traffic compared to last month or the previous 3 months as it may not be search traffic but Social or any other 3rd party sites you get traffic from.
Do A Basic Search For Brand Phrases
If you have been using SEO as a tactic you should have a list of brand related terms you target. Search for these and see what results come up.
Check Additional Search Phrases
After you’re done with a brand name search, check what search phrases appear in the “Related Searches’ section at the bottom of the search page. You will find these if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the search page (they are not always displayed though). When visible it will show you a list of search phrases people use to find your website or online business.
Information, Transaction, and Navigational Search Queries
People use three basic type of search queries when interacting with any brand online.
Informational Search Terms – The queries when people might not specifically looking for your site but rather for information within it.
Transactional Search Terms – When people are looking to buy something, not necessarily from your website.
Navigational Search Terms – When people are specifically looking for your website or a page contained within it.
It’s essential to try a wide variety of queries to check what search results pop up for your visitors. It’s those very search results that help them decide whether they should do business with you or not.
Try Different Search Engines
Search for these phrases in Google as well as Bing as results on both will be quite different. Check what results your prospects are seeing. If you see something negative, like an attack site, or some negative content on a review site, or even a blogger’s bleak opinions about your website, note down the name of the website.
When performing your Online Reputation Management research (ORM) you will uncover many search terms. These will include your own search terms as well as the search phrases from the related searches. You want to focus on ones that specifically mention your brand and high converting keywords. Keywords that bring in 1-5 visitors per day, while good may not make a significant impact in traffic loss.
Of course this could be countered if you are getting 1-5 visitors per day for hundreds of keywords and a sudden search algo change triggered your site to appear lower down in the rankings.
Use Social Media Search Function
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter also have pretty well-functioning search engines. Not all results will show up on the pages of Google and Bing. If the pages are public on Facebook and Twitter you can use the search function there too. Searching Facebook and Twitter will give you a fair idea of what comments are being made about your business and since you can search specifically about your business you can get a clear idea on what people are saying.
Use 3rd party traffic and link tools
Website such as Ahrefs or Semrush provide a great amount of information on any website. With these tools you can see what keywords your site is ranking for, the position and any recent change history. While these tools are not cheap they are a worthwhile investment if you want to use SEO as a marketing tactic and to help with issues like website traffic loss.
Where To Go From Here?
If you don’t find any negative results, unflattering articles, or even bad reviews, your problems with the website traffic may not be a brand recognition issue. It can quite simply be a change in Googles algorithm that your website was not fully equipped to handle.
Websites like MOZ can help you with confirmed updates and doing searches around SEO forum will also shed some light.
Once you know what the search results are showing and your reputation monitoring program has been set up, you’ll find a list of problem websites.
There are of course many ways to diagnose traffic loss. Traffic loss is something that can be out of your control regards to search engines however speaking on brand terms you can always be one step ahead of the game by setting up reputation monitoring system. You can read more about these here and of course related content in this blog.