Why does my traffic fluctuate?
Website traffic can exhibit mood swings. But what makes this happen? Here are some of the usual suspects.
Mobile use is changing search habits. Businesses are noticing that search patterns are changing because we are in the midst of an important change in how people use technology to find what they want. Mobile use changes the days of the week and hours of the day people are searching. It also affects what keywords are used. Understanding these changes and getting in front of these trends can help you regain lost traffic. The migration to mobile devices has also affected how visitors communicate with a business. For example, presenting information in PDF format may not be helpful anymore.
Consumer habits change
The world is not static (as if that wasn’t self-evident). Traffic decreases may correlate a product losing its lustre, being replaced by something newer and better, or even social/cultural/political mood swings. As has always been the case in advertising, giving people what they want is the most profitable formula. Trying to sell them things they don’t want is a good way to go broke. So you need to stay ahead of consumer habits and ensure you’re in the best position to capitalise. For example, there was a time when potential customers might have read blogs or gone to a directory to find certain kinds of products. Now they might turn to a dedicated community about a product, be influenced by a podcast or look for expert reviews on YouTube. If traffic is trending downwards but your site still ranks well for your keyword phrases, it’s possible that less people are searching for those keywords. The next step is to identify if they are searching for videos or podcasts now or have abandoned those searches for another product or service.
As part of Sneaky Ninja’s competitor campaigns, we are continually assessing keywords and strategies to ensure we nip any declines in the bud before they hurt your campaign. That said, the more eyes we have on the problem the better, so if you see something changing in your industry, or the purchase habits of your customers, please let us know immediately.
Your website isn’t secure
We’ve had a lot of conversations with clients of late about HTTPS. HTTPS is the gold standard for internet security. Take a look in the URL field at the top of your browser – if you see the little green padlock, your site has it. If not, you have a problem. If your site doesn’t have HTTPS it’s not as secure as it should be. For a lot of clients this isn’t a major concern as they don’t have an online shop, or hold onto their customer’s data. However that doesn’t mean you don’t need HTTPS because Google also punishes your site for not having it, prioritising your competitors who do. So if you don’t have the padlock, talk to us today. It’s not an expensive process to add HTTPS to your site, and every Sneaky Ninja client that has added HTTPS to their site has seen an improvement in their SEO metrics.
Sometimes a site can be hacked, resulting in unauthorised links and web pages being created. This can have a negative effect on rankings. A quick way to determine if your site has been hacked is to use an FTP program to review the site (we can help you with this).
Google updates its algorithm
Google made more than 600 updates to its algorithm last year. Pretty much every update is about improving Google’s ability to give searchers the most relevant response to their query, which is great. But the downside is that Google’s constant evolution means the SEO industry has to evolve with it. This means lots of changes of direction when Google constantly moves the goalposts. Something we were doing 2 years ago may no longer be relevant, or at least not as relevant. In short, nothing stays the same for long in SEO-land. So if your traffic takes a dip, it’s often Google’s fault:)
Thankfully Sneaky Ninja is stridently ‘white hat’, which means we follow Google’s rules for SEO and never put your rankings or traffic at risk. This minimises the potential for heavy losses due to Google’s updates, but there will still be drops from time to time. All clients saw this as recently as September where results were mixed on the back of Google’s update in August.
If you have any questions about your SEO results please chat to your account manager.