Why am I seeing a decrease in website traffic?

Last updated: November 20, 2017

Applies to:

Marketing Hub
Basic, Professional, Enterprise

Your website is not only an important part of your marketing, it is actually a critical feature to the growth of your business. When you track your website with HubSpot, whether it's hosted with HubSpot or not, you get some added peace of mind that updates to the site will be tracked, and hopefully new campaigns and changes drive traffic over time.

But what happens when you start noticing a large dip in traffic to your site overall, and over time? There are many reasons this could be. Take a look through the questions below to make sure you didn’t miss anything that could be affecting your website traffic and take the appropriate action to address your concerns.

Is the HubSpot tracking code still on your site and firing appropriately?

Use the instructions here to check that the tracking code is installed and firing properly. Ensure that the code is associated with the portal you want to track your data in, and that you do not have multiple instances of the code installed.

Have you recently changed your filters for IP, referrer, or bot traffic?

Use this article as a refresher of where these settings are managed and why would you choose to exclude certain things. Keep in mind that filtering our traffic in your reports settings only applies going forward and does not remove that historical visit information, which is why could be seeing a decline.

Does your site still load from everywhere?

In rare occurrences, with externally hosted content management systems, a website can get hacked and the pages will redirect to another spammy site which is no longer your own. Check out a couple of pages on your site to make sure the pages are still there, and check Google Webmaster tools to see if the number of indexed pages are about what you recall the number to be.

If you are currently hosted externally, consider moving your website to a security-enabled CMS like the HubSpot website platform which protects against malicious attacks.

Did you recently redesign your website?

This is the most common reason for a sustained drop in traffic. In fact, according to some sources it’s common for website traffic overall to drop 5-7% the weeks after you redesign your site. If you’re just coming out of a very recent redesign, consider submitting your sitemap to Google Webmaster tools and check for properly redirecting links.

Were all the old pages on your site redirected to your redesigned site?

Do some crawls, check for 404s, etc. Don’t leave off a huge section of the old site that is actively getting traffic without having a plan for it. For example, if you have a "news blog" that doesn’t really fit into the strategy of your new site, don’t just remove the menu item. Rather, create a 301 redirect pattern that directs all of those articles to a resolving page on your new site.

  • All redirects should be 301.
  • Redirects from an old page should go to a similar page on the new site, not simply to the home page.
  • What happens when 301 redirects are not done?
    • When 301 redirects are not planned and implemented, Google will reset the value on the new pages that were created (the old pages will 404 and drop out of the rankings) and, in many cases, this will result in a loss in rankings and traffic.

Did you drastically alter or diminish the number of pages you have without properly 301 redirecting them?

Consider clustering your content around topical pillar pages, as this gives a signal to Google and other search engines that your content is specifically about a specific topic and makes sure the information architecture isn't too complicated.

Is your new redesigned site very image-heavy?

Even if you redirected everything properly and made sure you have about the same number of pages with strong information architecture, sometimes making a site more modern means adding a lot more full bleed images, which creates a visually appealing yet text-light website, which can affect your site's SEO impact.

What about external factors?

In addition to the reasons detailed above that you can control, there are some external factors that can impact your website traffic even if nothing has changed with how you have optimized your pages. If this does coincide with a redesign, remember that correlation does not necessarily equate causation.

Look out for these three things:

  1. Seasonality: Interest on certain keywords and topics fluctuate hour-by-hour, day-by-day, month-to-month, or even year-to-year. Some fluctuations are absolutely normal. We recommend looking at the free Google Trends tool to spot natural fluctuations on different topics.
  2. Competition: The web isn't static, and neither are the organic rankings for your content. Another site may have created content in the same areas you are trying to rank for, and they are currently ranking hire. To improve your reputation with search engines, think about creating pillar pages and cross-linking content.
  3. Algorithm changes: Search engines will often shift the weight of different search factors, add or subtract special search features, and sometimes even provide answers to users so they do not need to click to your website. These events may lead to a traffic loss (or gain). Review Moz to familiarize yourself with the types of things that impact organic search.

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