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Sudden Drop in Sales

are you experiencing a sudden total loss of sales?



6:40 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

This week started out great, with Monday sales above average for this time of year. Tuesday the 18th of May however we saw the first zero sales day in over three years. Then, at 12:15am we had two customers sign up, one from Pakistan, who did not complete the transaction, then five minutes later, a customer from the UAE who did complete the sale. Funny thing is, I am a US based business! I NEVER or very, very rarely have sales outside the US or Canada. Now it's mid day on Wednesday and still no sales.

I combed over the site, looked at my SERP results, checked traffic logs and everything looks "normal" however, nobody is buying at all. OK, I know what you're going to say: May is a terrible month for sales and yes, I agree, I have 10 years of sales records to compare it to. BUT, it's never been this bad.
I have chatted with a few other members on WebmasterWorld and they are seeing the same thing - a total shutdown.

Anyone else seeing this?


8:28 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Nope. My April was dead but May has been in line so far-including this week. Luxury goods.


9:32 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I am as well running about the same yesterday was a good day above average but that is par for ecommerce. Good day bad day good day bad day. In health supplements
Maybe you just having a couple bad days and then it all turns around.


10:49 pm on May 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I sure hope it turns around. Server seems to be getting traffic, I even have audio counters on critical pages and people seem to be there, just not converting. If this was a new site, or if I just did some changes, yeah, it would make sense. I think it may be a part of Google's Caffine rollout that my site is currently caught up in. For the past 5 years, I could almost tell time by my sales consistency.


3:31 am on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've recently seen sales tank, and I have no explanation. My referrals from Google are actually up a bit, and traffic is on a par with May of last year, but sales are 30% of what they were last year. That could be explained easily if not for the fact that sales from January through mid-April were about the same as last year.

It's as though someone flipped a switch.


4:25 am on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

db: I think that it's happening on a broad variety of established sites means that it may just be a temporary thing...again. Hopefully they'll clean house on the MFA's and scrapers.


9:31 am on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

When sales dropped at my site in the past it always turned out to be nothing but statistical fluctuations that where made up by unusual high sales at another time.

If you get no sales at all for a few days then it depends on how much you get in average if you should be worried or not. If you usually make 1-5 sales/day there might be nothing to worry about. If you make 5-10 sales/day normally you should be a little worried, if you get 10-20 sales/day in averge you should be alarmed and if you get more than 20 sales/day normally it might be a good time to start panicking.


12:54 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'm sure the sudden change in weather has something to do with it along with the upcoming holiday, but comparing to the past 10 years, it's never been this bad. I also suspect that Google's Caffeine roll out is affecting sales, so combine everything and you have the perfect storm situation. Income from the site is usually $1000 to $2500/week. Right now I'm on track for a $500 /week, if I'm lucky.


1:10 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't understand how changes at Google could affect sales if Google traffic to a particular site remains the same or even is a little better. If there's an explanation, I'm all ears.

As I said, I'm at about 30% of where I was in May of last year. I could say that it's because of the economy, but has the economy changed radically from January through April? Those months were just about the same as last year. I can't find a reason for the drop this month.


1:37 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

maybe its the kind of traffic you're getting now. there seems to be an issue with long-tail searches across lots of sites. i'm guessing that if someone searches for a product + product number + shop name, for example, then they are likely on the verge of buying that product. but if they just search for the shop name on its own then maybe they are just browsing.

check your logs. if your traffic largely consists of the second type of search then maybe that explains why the sales have dropped.


7:45 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Same with me: re sales tanked, no change in traffic, or other changes to account for it.


8:36 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I seem to have lost about 3000 long tail keywords since last May. Went from over 10k to about 7k, almost a third of my terms. Coincidentally my sales are down by at least that much.


6:04 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have two busy sites with reasonable rankings and traffic that is solid up to and including today. Sales for the last two weeks are almost at a stand still! Must be something to do with Caffiene?


4:40 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

From what I could glean from the Matt Cutts video, it's an algo change that affects your long-tail search and is not caffeine related. Loosing long tail search terms can really take a bite out of conversions. I am seeing some return, but oddly enough only in the morning hours, then the site shuts off for the rest of the day. Never did THAT before...


9:54 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I haven't seen a huge drop in sales, but i have seen a major shift. My traffic has dropped by about 35% since last year but my rankings have not on my major terms. I did change my site around to be more "conversion friendly" which has helped but it only displaced the sales lost due to the traffic drop.

I have studied long and hard in the analytics, and it's definitely something to do with the quality of the traffic and long tail changes.

My best guess is that a small part of it is due to caffeine and the majority of it is due to all the other google "improvements" (ie. product images in search results, ppc image ads, real-time search, ppc site links, etc) combined.

I think it's effecting the search habits that was the norm before the caffeine update. The user is now more distracted and less inclined to delve a little deeper in the natural results.

Have any of you guys looked in your google webmaster tools acount and looked at the impressions of your natural search terms? i know it only goes back a few months, but the click through rates has dropped for me.

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