If you’re a marketer, you’ve surely faced that particular stage in your career where you are just going about your daily reporting and on logging into Google Analytics you see an intensively unexpected and noticeable decline in traffic.
When such a thing happens, the most obvious thing that people do is panic. Whereas, the very first thing that you should be doing if such a situation arises is- decoding the reasons for the dreaded drift in the traffic. By combining features of the Google Webmaster and the Google Analytics tools, one can effectively and quickly figure out as to what really might have gone wrong. Read on to know more about the different ways in which you can diagnose the cause and deal with a rapid decline in your Social Media Traffic without further ado.
Step 1 - Observation
As soon as you notice a traffic drop, take some time to observe it and think about it critically asking yourself these questions:
- Has the traffic only faced a decline for a few days?
- Does the dip in the traffic seem to be recovering on its own?
- Is the decline slow and steady drop-off or a sharp and sudden one?
Taking some time to calmly analyse and observe the statistics being shown on your Google Analytics can set you on the correct path to identifying the reason behind the drop. Say, for example, if the drop is a sharp, sudden one and doesn’t seem to recover in a span of a few days, your website probably could be suffering from a Google penalty. On the other hand, if the drop only lasts a few days and seems to be recovering on its own, it is quite possible that your site may have been facing certain connectivity issues that were fixed in a span of a few days.
Step 2 - Identifying the sources of your Traffic
When your social media traffic faces a decline, simply focusing on the numbers just won’t help. You need to dig deeper into where you might essentially be losing a majority of your organic traffic by analysing your traffic sources. There are 5 main types of these sources, namely:
- Direct - This category includes the users that land on to your site by typing in your site URL directly into their search bar or by clicking on a bookmark of your site that they might have saved some time in the past to get there directly.
- Organic - This category includes all the visitors who arrive at your website through a search engine. With Google leading the search engine market, it usually monopolizes around 80-90% of search users.
- Referral - This category includes the users brought to your website by your ‘referral network’. This network could refer to any of your partners who link your website to their own or mention your website ample of times on theirs.
- Paid - This category includes all the visitors who land on your website due to paid advertisements or various marketing campaigns such as Google AdWords or banner ads.
- Social - This category includes all the traffic that lands on to your website through various social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
On successfully figuring out which type of traffic has dropped; you can conveniently begin to troubleshoot problems related to the drop. For instance, if a majority of your traffic used to be direct, there is a possibility that there has been a recent shift in your usual client landscape. On the other hand, if most of your traffic came from an organic source, you might just have been hit with a Google Penalty.
Step 3 - Always keep a sound track of new and returning Users
The most important thing to notice, when it comes to your Social Media Traffic, is having complete knowledge of the sources from where your website might be gaining new users. This greatly helps when trying to figure out the cause for a considerable drop in traffic since you can isolate certain reasons for the drop altogether depending upon which category of users has declined.
For instance, if the number of new users visiting your website has taken a hit, there could be an issue with how your website is appearing on Google or how users are looking it up in their search. If something like this happens, it is a clear indication of you having to do new keyword research to modify your website again and bring back traffic.
On the other hand, if there is a decline in your returning users, there could be an issue with the User Experience (UX) design such as the structure of your site or the ease of use. Another reason could be that the loading speed of your website is relatively slow when compared with others or it is reporting a number of ‘404 Site Not Found' errors.
These problems clearly indicate that you need to rethink ways in which you can rectify reasons that are making your users leave due to a poor experience.
Step 4 - Look at the bigger picture
When it comes to constant traffic drops, looking at the bigger perspective becomes more of a necessity than a choice. You need to head over to your date range and have a look at the past 6 months or rather, even a year, to see if traffic drops had occurred during the same time frame in the past. A number of tools are available today that facilitate the comparison of various time periods which allows you to see any notable differences or trends in traffic flow or user behaviour that might be seasonal.
Traffic drops are never fun and if they aren’t addressed at the right time, they can prove to be extremely damaging to your business. However, with a systematic approach to detecting the reasons behind a drop, and incorporating the use of modern tools, you can survive almost any dip in traffic and recover within no time. So, the next time you see a rapid decline in your social media traffic, reach into your survival kit and restore your site to its previous glory, without panicking!
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