Google: drop/change in traffic, PageRank fluctuation


Traffic drops off from one week to the next without any change to the site on your part.


First check if anything has "dropped out". Make sure that for Referrers and Search Terms the absolute values remain constant. Then you know that its just lower numbers and that nothing has "dropped out"

Once you have determined that you are still getting traffic from the same number of referrers and search terms, you can consider the possible reason that your traffic has dropped to be that fewer people are getting to your site via search engines. The potential reasons for this are a little more complicated. It's a normal "symptom" and might require your attention / a change in strategy. Your ranking(s) in Google could be shifting.

Opentracker has experienced this in the past, during periodic Google updates (aka google dance). Our reaction/strategy has been to try and draw more visitors through the creation and updating of content.

We recommend that you start analyzing your search terms, and create content directly related to the search terms that are being used to find you.

Look for any changes over time, from week to week for example. Your content should, as closely as possible, match what visitors are looking for; use public searches as an indicator of what can be developed.

So there are several possible explanations:

a) that your Google PageRank ( has dropped, which might have something to do with the fact that Google is continually updating, and that their method of determining results change from week to week. Freshbots, for example, might lead to a temporary spike in your ratings, which will drop down until the results are permanently registered, so that your ranking will then increase. Not surprisingly, this is called the 'google dance' by webmasters.

Many search engines take their results from leaders such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, which would explain a concomitant drop in other portals that display third-party results.

Once you start getting fewer results from Google or any major engines, there will be a significant drop in traffic, because so many other search engines take their findings from Google.

b) change in the amount of money that you are bidding/ campaign budget on a PPC campaign.

c) keep in mind that as a growing site, stop-start traffic is quite normal, we see a lot of erratic traffic patterns. External factors such as holidays or news events can also have an effect. In the first several weeks of the Iraq war we observed a drop in traffic across a wide array of sites. Are there seasonal activities that might have an affect?

d) Links that led to your site have been removed or altered. Perhaps you received a listing on a popular blog or forum that has not passed its peak.