Traffic Decay – what is it, what affects it and how to deal with it?

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Traffic decay means the same as „decrease in traffic”. It is a natural drop caused by the content published on your website over time. It often comes unnoticed as our main concern is expanding the content and pay less attention to the pre-existing texts. However, caring for older entries can be as beneficial as creating new entries.

Traffic decay and the five phases of entries „life cycle”

At the beginning, it is a good idea to look at the diagram of the five phases that each entry (either blog article or any other type of content) goes through from the moment we share it with our recipients and followers.

  • „Estabilishment” phase – time of publication; our first contact with a large number of recipients.
  • „Stagnation” phase – significant decrease in the amount of followers who have seen our entry; quite normal.
  • „Growth” phase – the entry begins to generate website traffic
  • „Maturity” phase – stage when the interest increases; it ceases as soon as the entry reach a certain popularity. It may remain in such state for various periods of time.
  • „Decline” phase – entry stops generating website traffic, its importance gradually decreases. This is what we certainly want to avoid.

Why do entries go into decline phase?

There may be several reasons for this. Understanding the mechanism that caused it will also allow us to select the right strategy more precisely. It let us to decide how to remedy this state of affairs. The most common are:

  • Increase of competitiveness – for a given key phrase, from the moment of publication several other types of content might have been publishes. Moreover, these materials originate from domains that often has reach much more recipients.
  • Assessment by Google algorithms – the search engine has its own methods of rewarding the websites which are up-to-date. It is influenced by regular updates of the content, taking care of the internal and external links, as well as a constant influx of new, unique texts.
  • Technical problems – the parameters of the website on which the material was published. Take care of it, so as its conditions are impeccable.

Of course, there can be more reasons, so it is worth analyzing results of your subpages in terms of generated traffic using special tools such as Google Analytics.

Traffic decay – how can I prevent the decline phase?

The basic assumption is to create content in accordance with the evergreen content. Fortunately, there are several ways to extend the life of materials you publish. Depending on the individual case, this may be limited to updating information or more serious activities related to the texts available on the website. Anyway, here are the methods to prevent the decline phase of your entry:

Expand content

The easiest and most common way to extend the traffic generated by an entry. Moreover, it can often be logically justified.

If there is any new information in the given branch of industry, it is worth adding it to the existing entry, instead of creating a new one.

Present new point of view, counterargument or provide more detailed data on any of the described elements.

Update your texts

Activities based on the same assumption as the ones described above, but on a smaller scale. It is worth thinking about creating an information system which regular update will be reasonable i.e. the one related to the specific period of time (for example “the best X of 2017”), the one with a large number of photos (which can be actively replaced with other samples, e.g. “10 examples of Facebook Ads”) or one that requires updating due to the continuous progress (for instance “the best SEO tactics for optimizing your website”).

When to update and post your content for the second time?

Whenever at least half of the content has been updated, a new section of the text has been added, or when more than one entry has been merged into one (you will read more about such case below). Under such circumstances, it is worth publishing the entry for a second time. However, if we had changed the aesthetic issues or the content layout, then the republication would not be necessary.


Always make sure that your website and entries are properly formatted according to the latest guidelines. It is good idea to match old pages with the existing SEO algorithms and newest standards.

Merge two or more entries

When there are several materials that concern the same issue (or whenever they present specific aspects), it is worth thinking about combining them into one entry. It will also help you reduce the so-called duplicated content that could adversely affect evaluation and the way your website is perceived. Additional advantages of such a solution are cross-section of each of the published entries, and thus improved substantive value.


  • We hope that the methods mentioned above will help you deal effectively with the loss of traffic.
  • Remember that generating traffic is not only about publishing new texts.
  • Appropriate analysis of the problem and selection of an adequate method is the basis for achieving similar effect with the content that already exist.

Jan Susmaga

By education - philologist / linguist, by current profession - proofreader and copywriter, by interest - a bit of everything. He enjoys writing, reading both prose and non-fiction (mainly scientific), watching horror movies, training martial arts, trying new things.

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