I've had a software development portfolio/ blog for a few years with Google Analytics installed on it. I'm not really that bothered about how much traffic the site gets, but nevertheless it's interesting to see some usage data.

I noticed something odd recently with a drop in traffic on the website, which I'm hoping someone might be able to explain.

Here's the situation:

Before February 11th 2016, my most recent post was on September 26th 2014. I hadn't posted in around a year and a half and traffic since around July 2014 was averaging ~70 sessions a day (> 95% from organic search). On February 11th I updated my portfolio with a new blog post and added a single CSS property. From the day after (February 12th) until circa June 13th my traffic severely dropped to approximately 10 sessions a day.

Here's an image depicting the above description (hopefully will show the general trend):

enter image description here

It's started picking up again now but I find it odd that the drop coincided with a new blog post. Is this a coincidence? Again, I'm not bothered about the traffic levels; I'm more interested in the cause and whether there's something I'm not understanding about SEO/ Google Analytics. Perhaps they changed something in their algorithm, or was my website blacklisted for some reason?


closed as off-topic by Stephen Ostermiller Aug 3 '16 at 9:17

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that are specific to one website are discouraged because they are unlikely to help future visitors. Examples include individual website reviews for SEO purposes and general website troubleshooting. See the How to Ask page for help improving this question." – Stephen Ostermiller
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This question is about the traffic drop that your site experienced rather than about a problem that might affect many websites. – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 3 '16 at 9:18

This sounds to me like a Google Penalty issue.

A sharp decline such as what you have shown that has lasted for 4 months the way your graph shows, in combination with your assertion that greater than 95% of your traffic comes from organic searches backs up that statement.

There are two main penalties that you can get. The first is a manual action from the Google Spam team, and the only way to check this is to go to Google Webmaster Tools and see if you have any notification. An example of thew notification you may see could be... enter image description here

The other option is an algorithmic penalty which is harder to diagnose. By using a site such as https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change you can see when algorithmic changes have been applied and how the relate to your drop in traffic. Based on the above report I can not see any algorithmic change that may have affected you but that is not to say that your recent change didn't trigger an algorithm alarm.

Backlinks can also cause substantial issues including backlimks from...

  • Sites that are penalized or banned from Google
  • Websites with duplicate content
  • Websites unrelated to your niche
  • Spammy comments and forum profiles
  • Sites with thin content
  • Site wide back links

Over 95% of Google Penalties are related to a websites backlinks.

From what you have said it has started to pick up again and so it could be a temporary ranking issue that has resolved it.

There is the possibility that due to the sites inactivity for such a long time the ranking reduced automatically and that it coincidentally reduced so substantially the day after you posted a new article, but I do not believe that is what happened as the rank increase from fresh content would not take months to apply as has been the case here, this does seem more to do with a penalty.

  • That is interesting, I didn't know about the penalty system. I've checked my Webmaster Tools and I've only got a couple of DNS related errors from 2014, so no correspondence from the Spam team. Thanks for the information! – James Aug 3 '16 at 11:12

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