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How to Remedy Traffic Drop for Ecommerce

How to Remedy Traffic Drop for Ecommerce

The battle for online shopping supremacy is fierce, and running an ecommerce venture is a challenge. An ecommerce business owner must juggle numerous factors to ensure their business not only operates smoothly but also delivers a positive return on investment. The success of an ecommerce store hinges on its website traffic, and any decline in traffic can lead to significant concerns.

Numerous factors can cause a decrease in website traffic or a sudden decline. This could be a major drop or a slow decline over weeks or even months. Changes related to website migrations often result in a steady decrease in traffic. To better understand them, we’ve divided these characteristics into two groups: Clear and Hidden. It’s important to note that the second group of less apparent or hidden reasons is quite difficult to uncover and document. Yet, this challenge is not insurmountable and can be overcome with a bit of patience and accuracy.

Clear and hidden factors contributing to traffic drop

Clear factors contributing to a decrease in website traffic are those that are completely understood by the owner of the website. These factors are least likely to catch you off guard and are likely to be the outcome of a technical glitch, some financial mismanagement, or a limitation in budget. These reasons are quite obvious and can be easily recognised when there’s a noticeable drop in traffic.

Google Algorithm Adjustment or Consequence: A change in Google’s algorithm could potentially impact your site because of a recent update. For instance, your site might face consequences like being penalised because of certain manual activities or spammy backlinks. Ensure you adhere to ethical SEO principles to steer clear of these unforeseen consequences. It’s crucial to understand that recovering from a Google penalty that has impacted your website’s traffic could take anywhere from weeks to months, and in extremely rare instances, even years.

Website Noindex Tag Issue: This error is among the most frequent programming errors. Your developer inadvertently included a Noindex tag in the meta header. It’s crucial to verify your website for such preventable mistakes that could hinder website traffic. We previously encountered a similar issue with a WooCommerce site. The client’s previous development firm had enabled the Noindex, and Nofollow tags on numerous pages and neglected to deactivate them. As a result, all the pages were removed from Google SERPs, leading to almost no traffic to those pages!

Installing Google Analytics: Occasionally, the code for Google Analytics might not be installed or visible across all pages. Should you notice a decrease in website traffic in Google Analytics, it’s advisable to verify the code on your pages and compare the data with what you find in Search Analytics. If Search Console indicates Impressions/Clicks but Google Analytics Organic Traffic reports a different figure, with the difference being quite large, this suggests an issue with the setup of Google Analytics. The GA code must be located on every page within the <head> section. Additionally, utilising GTM code can help in managing this more effectively.

Robots.txt file: This file is essential for efficiently managing crawl budgets and regulating bot actions to a significant degree. However, a single incorrect directive could lead to a substantial decrease in organic website traffic. In the most severe situation, you could inadvertently block an entire category, folder, or even the entire website. For instance, a directive like “User-agent: * Disallow: /” could result in blocking the entire website. It’s crucial to ensure that such a mistake was not made initially.

Website/Domain Migration: It’s also possible for website traffic to decrease if you’ve moved your website to a new platform or domain in the recent past. Various studies have shown that a website could experience a traffic decrease of up to 60% following a website transfer. Ensure that you’ve adhered to the advised SEO steps throughout this change and haven’t fallen victim to preventable mistakes. Ensure to verify all 301 Redirects, Code Alterations, and Canonical Tags. Several factors can affect the success of a website transfer.

Canonical Tags: These are crucial for SEO. They help avoid problems with duplicate content by letting the search engine know which version of a web page is the preferred one for indexing. If you notice a decrease in website visitors, it’s important to carefully review your keywords and ensure they are used properly. Sometimes, webmasters might mistakenly point to the incorrect versions of a page, which can negatively affect website traffic. However, when keywords are used correctly, they can significantly improve your website’s performance by preventing content duplication issues and effectively managing any traffic decreases.

Search Console and Bing Webmaster Notifications: Google has been quite active over the past few years, utilising these platforms to interact with Webmasters. It’s important to regularly check your Search Console and Bing Webmaster alerts to stay informed about any updates or new notifications. Ensure that you haven’t listed the website URL in the Remove URLs section. Google can temporarily remove a website or a particular page from it for up to 90 days.

Domain Name Hosting Renewal Problems: Your website’s hosting and domain name provider sends a renewal request right before the renewal period. It’s essential to renew your website’s domain name and hosting service, similar to renewing any other subscription. Failure to do so could lead to your website being unexpectedly shut down! Include this task on your list and ensure you renew your plan before the renewal deadline.

Traffic-Drop: Ecommerce Solutions

These elements are challenging to identify or manage. Think about it, during a lean phase for your ecommerce business, there might be a minor drop in website visitors, but since seasonal patterns are out of the business owners’ hands, we’re limited in our ability to address them. Likewise, rising competition within a sector is another aspect we must be aware of, without the hope of immediately negating its impact. Other elements, such as these, require our close attention to reduce the harm they could potentially inflict.

For online retail stores, using HTTPS is now essential for SEO and is also important for users. Google has cautioned website owners against using HTTP. These cautions appear in the Search Console. Therefore, if your Google Analytics reports a drop in website visitors or sales, the lack of HTTPS might be the cause. Since October 2017, Google Chrome has issued alerts for websites using HTTP that handle form submissions. Likewise, if you’ve switched to an HTTPS platform but failed to include crucial migration steps like SSL Certificate Validation, 301 Redirects, and Canonicalisation, this could also lead to a decrease in website traffic. Ensure you adhere to best SEO practices during the transition to an HTTPS platform.

Product Inventory: This one is a little tricky and difficult to measure. 80% of pages on an ecommerce store are product pages. Discontinuation of a bestseller or a high-traffic product can majorly affect traffic. We observed in most of the cases, Webmasters or site owners choose to disable/delete discontinued product pages which results in a 404 error. Now imagine if this product was a source of high traffic for the website, it would not only cause a drop in traffic but also severely impact the conversion rate. A good way to manage discontinued products is to 301 redirect them to the closest matching Category/Sub-Category page. This preserves the SEO value of those particular pages to a large extent and provides a better experience to visitors landing from Google or other referral links. Below is the list of steps that an e-commerce store can follow to manage discontinued products for a Magento Store. After receiving notification from the Vendor/Manufacturer that a particular product has been discontinued, make sure:

After receiving notification from the Vendor/Manufacturer that a particular product has been discontinued, make sure:

  1. The product is set “discontinued” to “Yes”
  2. The “Short Description” is changed to “This product has been discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer available for sale.”
  3. The product is removed from all the categories
  4. The visibility of the product is changed to “Search”. 
  5. Retain the meta tags for discontinued products.
  6. Remove the product from Amazon/eBay/PLA.
  7. Remove any product relationship associations.
  8. If the page is still sending positive signals to Google/providing a positive SEO benefit, the page should be left alone and re-evaluated in 2 months.
  9. If the page is no longer sending positive signals to Google or is harming SEO, the page will be 301’d to another relevant page. The new page should be the closest matching Category or a Sub-Category page.
  10. Change the visibility of all 301’d products to “Not Visible Individually”.

So the next time you notice an unexplained drop in traffic or revenue, scrutinise the traffic on the product pages and see if you observe an anomaly.

Multiple Marketing Channels: A smart approach is to distribute your funds across various channels that drive traffic, including organic, paid, referral, social, and email marketing, among others. In the realm of ecommerce, traffic might experience a decline if any of these channels fail to meet expectations. For instance, cutting the budget for your paid advertising could lead to a significant drop in direct traffic.

It’s crucial to periodically review the amount of money allocated to marketing (monthly is ideal). Additionally, it’s a smart move to temporarily halt paid campaigns if the website is inaccessible or undergoing maintenance. Remember to monitor the performance of Google Analytics marketing channels to gain a deeper understanding of traffic patterns. You might also consider setting up email notifications for traffic thresholds across various channels.

Pagespeed: If it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, visitors are unlikely to stay. Regardless of how impressive your website’s design is or the outrageous deals you’re offering! Major online retailers like Amazon and Zappos pour vast amounts of money into ensuring their sites load quickly. Having a good page speed is crucial for all types of websites, but for ecommerce businesses, it’s necessary! Page speed is closely linked to coding and server management. Numerous articles and case studies highlight the significant impact of having an optimal page speed on a website’s performance. Tools such as Google Pagespeed, Pingdom, and others can pinpoint areas that need enhancement. Google Analytics also provides page speed statistics in its reports.

Should you’ve added a new section to your website, altered the code, or made other modifications, these actions might lead to problems with page speed. It’s crucial to check the PageSpeed of your website after every significant update to the code. Additionally, focusing on enhancing the loading time of your website is essential. This task is particularly straightforward in ecommerce. To start, you should aim to speed up the loading times of your homepage, pages for a single category, and pages for a single product. Given that the product page template is often the same for all items, any adjustments made to one will be visible across the site.

Mobile Friendly and Usability issues: The number of people using their mobile devices for traffic is growing at an incredibly fast pace. Google has a Mobile First index. This means you need to focus on all aspects of your website that are mobile-friendly, including how responsive it is, the user interface, and the overall user experience. After switching to HTTPS, being mobile-ready becomes the next big thing in online shopping, and you should be ready for it. If your website’s mobile interface differs from the desktop version, you must address this difference right away.

A website that has a high bounce rate, short average session times, and low revenue might be suffering from poor mobile usability. You can easily check for these issues using a traffic analysis tool. Google Analytics offers mobile traffic statistics that are essential for maintaining your website’s performance on mobile devices. It’s advised to create a filter for mobile traffic and regularly monitor it. Important sections like website sign-up forms, checkout carts, and others should be optimized for mobile use. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly yet, it’s time to take this essential SEO step to improve its usability.

Seasonal Traffic Fluctuation: The ecommerce landscape is greatly influenced by the fluctuations in seasonal demand, significantly impacting both profit margins and sales figures for online ventures. For instance, an ecommerce store specialising in swimwear might experience a sharp decrease in website traffic during the winter months, only to see a sharp surge in summer. This fluctuation is largely beyond our direct influence.

The best approach is to be ready to handle the rush of traffic during high seasons and to reallocate the marketing budget (with a focus on paid advertising) as needed. A case in point is one of our clients, who was able to boost his organic website traffic by around 30% simply by incorporating seasonal and yearly-themed keywords. It’s also crucial to recognize that it’s not solely dependent on the change of seasons; weekday (weekdays vs weekends) traffic patterns can also exhibit significant fluctuations. Therefore, conducting a comparison of current traffic figures to those from the previous year over a specific period is advisable.

Website Backlinks: The Google Penguin update, which focused on the value of inbound links, impacted over 2% of search results. For those in SEO, the importance of inbound links cannot be overstated. If you’ve noticed a decline in your organic search traffic recently, it might be a result of the Google Penguin real-time update. Ensure you’ve removed any low-quality links. Numerous resources are at your disposal for this task. We prefer Majestic, but Ahrefs is also effective. Search Console can provide you with the most valuable inbound links, but it’s limited to a maximum of 1000 domains.

Additionally, regularly review your backlink profile. Aim to generate high-quality inbound links through competitive analysis and by creating content that is valuable and attracts backlinks. Your content will naturally draw in authoritative websites, blogs, and forums. Avoid any unethical practices that could lead to a permanent decrease in organic traffic. Another situation to consider is if you’ve unintentionally removed valuable backlinks from Search Consoles. The Google disavow tool is potent, and it’s crucial to use it with care.

Check-out Page dysfunction: The checkout section is a crucial part of any e-commerce platform. If you notice a decrease in sales and a decline in the number of repeat visitors, a possible cause could be issues with the checkout page. Ensure that your checkout cart is equipped with an SSL Certificate and is operating flawlessly (with 100% uptime). Customers should have no difficulties ordering on your site. Should there be a decrease in website traffic, you can monitor the checkout page’s views trend. Additionally, customer support messages serve as a way to be alerted right away if a customer encounters difficulties in placing or finalising an order.

Blogs: Many online stores maintain a blog to share news on their products, promotions, and price reductions. Blogging is an effective method for connecting with your audience and fostering a sense of loyalty to your brand. When executed properly, it can boost both the number of visitors and the rate of sales. A decrease in website traffic might also be linked to irregular blogging. It’s important to blog regularly, consistently, and with a focus on quality that meets the needs of your users.

Moz has published an insightful article on the importance of blogging frequency and selecting topics for your blog. Ecommerce blogs are often created on WordPress, a platform that’s widely known. Ensure that your blog URLs aren’t blocked by the Robots.txt file or include the Noindex tag. Review your blog’s performance monthly and develop a content plan for your brand or products. Monitor your blog’s traffic weekly and also set up alerts.

Product page Reviews: Reviews from users fill product pages effectively. The surge in content from these reviews leads to improved search engine rankings and more sales. Ensure your product reviews adhere to SEO standards to fully leverage their advantages. Include product reviews and ensure a canonical tag links back to the main product page. Many online stores rely on external review systems. Should you observe a sudden decrease in traffic or sales for a product page, it’s possible that the lack of reviews is to blame.

A glitch in how product reviews are displayed, even temporarily, could result in the loss of hundreds or thousands of reviews at once. It’s advisable to manage reviews directly on the platform your store is built on, granting you complete oversight. Whenever possible, steer clear of external review systems and prioritise getting product reviews from users. If the traffic to your product pages is on the decline, it might be due to a shortage of user reviews. Amazon.com has managed to surpass many other online retailers due to its vast collection of reviews.

RichSnippets not configured properly: RichSnippets are distinct in search engine results pages (SERPs), making them essential for online retailers. They can lead to increased click-through rates (up to 30%) for an online store. Achieving a top spot for RichSnippets is challenging and demands that a store meet several criteria. Additionally, if you’ve attempted to rank for RichSnippets but received a warning from Search Console about Google’s Manual Spam Action on RichSnippets, you might notice a decrease in organic traffic. Ensure that your RichSnippets for the store are correctly implemented. Google imposes a penalty for manual spam on RichSnippets. You can verify your RichSnippets using the official Google tool here – https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/

Sudden Spike in Server/Crawl Errors:  Search Console, along with a few other subscription-based tools, provides valuable information regarding the overall performance of a website’s crawl errors. A switch to a new website server might lead to an unexpected surge in errors on the site. Should you observe a decrease in website traffic or a decrease in the average time it takes for the site to load, it’s important to reach out to your server team to fix these issues promptly and to resubmit the sitemap for a speedy re-indexing. While crawl errors might not directly affect a website’s rankings, they can hinder the natural growth of website traffic.


Here are a few elements that can uncover the reality behind sudden decreases in website traffic. Yet, various aspects can change and user actions might also affect traffic. These aspects encompass website redesign, the introduction of new content areas, inventory of products, negative feedback on the website or brand, the allocation of funds for paid advertising, holidays, international events, and more. Some factors are within your control, while others are not. Therefore, ensure you master everything within your reach and strive for an unshakeable oversight of traffic on your site.

Please let us know if you believe we’ve overlooked a significant point. We’d be glad to incorporate it into this list. We look forward to your feedback.

We have many more articles to enable your ecommerce success.

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