I have noticed this too. Personally I have watched the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, figured if im doing it everyone else is too. Some sales are coming back today, if a reactor doesn't blow up, I guess traffic will be back to normal soon.
I think the earthquake in Japan played a role, as many were glued to the news, etc. But also, the change of seasons may be playing a role. Here in the northern hemisphere, as we approach spring, many schools are out for spring break, and many others with cabin fever are getting out to enjoy the warmer weather.
As the southern hemisphere approaches autumn, many of them may be enjoying the final days of summer. I always see a slight dip in traffic around mid March -- even into early April given that not all schools observe spring break simultaneously. April 15 is often another dip, when everyone in the U.S. is doing their last-minute tax returns (of course this year, we get a couple of extra days to file).
[edited by: crobb305 at 5:36 pm (utc) on Mar 14, 2011]
Could be the world is more intrested is the suffering that is going on in Japan not to say the possibility of a meltdown that would have dire effects on the world, than surfing the net for something non necessary. I would chill out guys jeeze a 6% drop I didn't know webmasters were so into the traffic thing to worry about 6%.
Sorry if I am kinda harsh just this is something any webmaster should have figured out.
Gorgwatcher, if you market globally, I'd say 6% could certainly be the result of the tragedy in Japan as BwnBwn says. My sites are focused on the U.S., so my slight dips in March are always related to nice weather/spring break.
I saw a dropped as well. Lots of good basketball this weekend with NCAA conference tournments. However, the % of traffic by search engine didn't change. All search engine traffic was down about the sa,e.
over here, we didn't notices as much of a decline but we have definitely noticed a shocking decrease in conversion. 90% of our Google traffic is long tail and it has dropped but only very slightly. We are an e commerce site so we luckily haven't been effected by Panda as far as we can tell. WE had a discussion her at our offices this morning ad we believe our conversion decrease could be due to Spring Break, however our loss in conversion is coming from all over the world, not just USA.
Woah! This morning we took a look at our Analytics and it looks like we just lost a good portion of our Google traffic. Google normally takes up about 60% of our 'daily pie' and this morning it is only at 50%. This is highly unusual. This is after a few days of increasingly low conversion.
Could it be a penalty of some sort? We've made no changes to the site in 1 month other than continuing to add new products to the front page.
I was just checking analytics for one of the sites I work with and there was definitely a sharp drop in Google traffic on March 12 - to the lowest level in more than a year.
Traffic began rebounding the very next day and now the levels are in line with past weeks. So I'd agree that something happened on March 12 at Google. But since it stopped happening almost immediately, I don't think I'll be analyzing it in any depth.
Spotted a massive drop for one of my sites starting on March 12th in webmaster tools. Looks like really frightening stuff, but I'm not the least bit worried.
I don't use Google Analytics. Instead I analyse my own log files every Sunday morning. I've seen the webmaster tools page do strange things before which have related in no way at all to actual traffic or actual Google referrals.
Just a thought. Are you sure you have the killer traffic drop? Or is that just what some third party that isn't working from your actual stats is telling you?