If your site’s visitor numbers are falling, there are five possible reasons. The key is to know what’s wrong before you start applying solutions.

It used to be that Web-site owners only had to worry about losing traffic in the summer. The Internet is like television in one regard. TV ratings fall an average 15 percent in the summer.

Instead of surfing, users find it more fun to enjoy the fresh air of the summer months, which prompted publishing solutions — five tips to deal with the inevitable traffic slowdowns.

But things have changed year-round for many Web site owners.

How’s your Web site traffic? Have you been suffering a decline in your visitors’ rate, but you don’t know why?

If it’s any consolation, it’s ostensibly a perplexing problem for a lot of people.

“Slowly, but surely, you’ve been watching your traffic numbers decline, despite not having changed much of anything about the way you publish content or optimize your website for the search engines,” writes Michael Garrity, an editor of Website Magazine.

His May 2013 article is entitled, “5 Reasons Your Search Traffic is Declining.”

Wisely, he suggests a “search result audit for your various keywords that will show you where you’re currently ranking on Google and its competitors for your most important keywords.”

He’s right. Your standing on your search engine results page (SERP) affects your visitors’ rate. If you rank highly, your visitors’ numbers are strong. If not, they’re weak.

In my experience, about 70 percent Internet surfers select a result from only among the first 10 on the SERP.

In addition, my sense is that the No. 1-ranked site attracts about 40 percent of the top 10 listings. (So, if you focus on content marketing, it’s important to use proven strategies for a No.1 rated blog.)

Mr. Garrity says Web sites falter in prominence for five possible reasons:

1. New Competition.He theorizes that too many search-engine optimization pros think they’re doing something wrong – without considering the possibility of increased competition – rival sites poaching their users.

“This is one of the reasons why conducting regular industry assessments and search audits is imperative,” he suggests.

2. Content is Out of Date.He believes the majority of content becomes old and declines in value, resulting in a SERP decline.

“One way to tell if your content isn’t as enticing to searchers as it used to be is to monitor that page’s analytics, and if something that used to get a consistently high influx of visitors now gets less and less, it’s likely that the content on the page is decreasing in value to most readers,” asserts Mr. Garrity. “A method for correcting this issue could be to produce a new, updated version of that content, and then to link to the new page on the old one.”

If I understand Mr. Garrity correctly, here’s where we slightly disagree on the solution to outdated content. Yes, you might have outdated content.

However, you’re paying for the bandwidth consumed by your users, and it’s best to save money. So, it you have new information to share — contrary to Mr. Garrity’s advice — simply update the old content and indicate it’s updated. Otherwise, Google will discount the value of the old page.

Google loves updating for fresh relevance and value, and so do readers.

Also, I’d make another suggestion: If you believe such pages are relevant, not to worry. You can use your social media and strategic press releases to boost traffic. Again, Google will notice.

3. Shifts in Algorithm Values.He points out the search engines might be making algorithm changes.

Agreed. Note: For you to stay popular on Google, be aware the search engine looks for its desired answers to 23 key questions about your Web site.

“If you notice that Google seems to favor certain types of content for one of your keywords or targeted search terms, maybe that means you should consider making a video or infographic the next time you consider writing a blog post about a that topic,” he suggests.

4. Caught Red Handed Being a Black Hat. Black hat artists use disreputable SEO strategies to trick search engines into a high ranking on the SERP. If you’re discovered using black hat techniques, you’ll be penalized.

“If you genuinely weren’t intending to be shady and just made a mistake, it’s important that you find out what your exact offense was and correct it as soon as possible, so that you can start trying to garner some good will with the search engines and make your way back up in the rankings,” Mr. Garrity says.

5. They’re Just Not That into Your Content.Ouch. Perhaps, your writing isn’t popular.

“To rectify this problem, you should be aware of the top sites and blogs in your niche or industry, and take note of what they’re regularly publishing content about (in order to understand emerging trends) and what their readers are saying in comments sections and on social media sites to see what they’re asking for, so that you have a better idea of what content will be engaging and valuable to the visitors you want to attract,” he recommends.

Furthermore, I’d add that the key for bloggers is to know the secrets for attracting and keeping readers.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are additional solutions:

8 Red Flags Your Web Site is Out-of-Date (Here’s What to Do) — Just like your finances, human resources and other aspects of your business, your Web site should be continuously monitored for red flags and to be sure it’s not out-of date. Yes, it’s time-consuming and expensive, but any problems should be solved. The trick is to do right, cost-effectively.

Checklist: 14 Strategies to Rock on Google — Periodic changes in Google’s search criteria and algorithms have indeed hurt many Web sites. But it’s possible to bullet-proof your site’s prominence on Google by taking 14 precautions, which is worth your time and energy. Google has perennially owned about a 66 percent search-market share in the U.S. and a 90 percent share worldwide.

Download Speed Matters for WordPress Web Sites – 5 Tips — Actually, download speed matters on all Web sites. Even if your WordPress Web site has compelling content with graphics and pictures, image and user convenience are equally important. So your site’s download speed matters – a lot.

5 Factors to Get Peak Google Results for Your Web Site – Study — What do top Web sites have in common? Successful sites produce a high number of Facebook and Twitter messages, but the sites minimize the volume of ads on its pages according to an authoritative study.

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

-Bill Gates 


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.