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Traffic slam: what to do if visits to your website have plummeted

The first thing you should do is resist flying into a panic; if your website’s visitor numbers have abruptly dropped, this could have resulted from a slip-up that you have made but can easily be put right.

Even when the crux of the problem isn’t initially easy to establish, getting visits flowing to your website again can often feel like a case of “easy once you know how”. Here are five scenarios where your site could start shedding traffic – and how you should act in each case.

Check to see if you have removed any posts recently

Like a tree, a website can start growing in an unsightly, disorganised way if not carefully pruned from time to time. Understandably, then, you might have occasionally removed a particular webpage that you were convinced had become redundant but, unbeknown to you, was still garnering a lot of interest.

Naturally, then, axing that particular page could have struck a blow to your site’s usual visit numbers. If this has all happened to you, just republish the post to restore your web traffic.

Look again at your site’s backlinks

Admittedly, looking at each of them one by one could be tricky, as you might have amassed an awful lot of them. Besides, if your website has genuinely useful content, many people might have opted to link to it simply to help their own readers rather than pay you a favour.

However, you can lose backlinks – and, with it, valuable sources of traffic – over time, such as when you change particular pages’ URLs or neglect to keep all of your site’s articles up to date.

Make sure your keywords are still relevant

Even if you have never consciously inserted any keywords into your site’s written copy, you could scrutinise the text to see whether it too often uses certain words or phrases that have fallen out of widespread use.

For example, you might have once written an article about “cellphones” even though “smartphones” has largely supplanted this word in popularity. Similarly, maybe the early days of the pandemic saw you writing about “coronavirus” despite “COVID-19” now often being used in its place.

Investigate whether Google has recently overhauled its algorithm

There’s a very good reason why we specifically use the word “overhauled” here: Google frequently tweaks its algorithm anyway and is very open about it. So, if your website’s tally of visits has inexplicably sunk, you should do some online research to see if Google has recently publicised a major change to its algorithm.

Sadly, though, even if it has, you might not get many details from Google about how you should readjust your website accordingly – potentially forcing you to fall back on trial and error.

You could always look at sites that are still thriving and try to figure out the “secret sauce” responsible for their success. Many fundamentals of SEO-friendly web design are likely to stay intact for some time – and we can design you a website to help keep you in good stead long into the future.

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