A lot of folk have been complaining about loss of traffic on especially long tail searches. My initial thought was to do with internal linking because that’s how I’ve traditionally ‘optimised’ for the long tail & increased serps competition etc – but a lot of different things could be at play.
There’s an interesting discussion at WMW.
I’ve been digging about analytics to see if I could identify a particular reason for this (as I see it on a few sites I monitor) and there doesn’t seem to be anything stand out and consistent in my analytics so I checked the source – Google SERPS.
In one example I thought was interesting enough to share – I’m looking at a 4 keyword term I am number one for (which gets a bit of traffic) drop 87.50% in traffic in the last few weeks…. AND IT”S STILL NUMBER ONE.
What do I have to thank for this PARTICULAR SEARCH?
- New 3 column SERPS layout making SPONSORED LINKS creep that further bit down the page and push organic listings further down
- NEW SERPS layout encouraging clicks away from the organic “centre’ listings – I mean, come on WTF is using that ‘wonder wheel’?? Totally distracts the user clicking into Google UK only results
- Oh, hello *&^%ing Google Shopping Results and local Business Results & &^%$ing video results and images results, PROBABLY grabbing folks attention from that coveted(?) no1 slot
- Hey lets not forget REAL TIME UPDATES & NEWS & Search Customisation Updates – the list is extensive
Oh yeah, about that number 1 slot – barely above the fold tonight as I check…. still number one though for all it matters but when you’re committed to building good solid sites for customers and aim to increase month on month traffic it’s not nice to report back:
Oh 87.50% DROP on a main keyterm traffic – Google has f*&^%$£ you. We need videos, pictures and shopping feed to feed the Google monster these days
Now – of course this is on one keyword and it’s a bit of a SENSATIONALIST TITLE I’m using, and everybody will have different reasons for drops in traffic – and plenty are moaning about THAT over the last months. I just thought this was a single, granular example of how I lost a lot of traffic on a keyterm just because of UI changes.
It’s not just what YOU do – it’s what Google is doing with those SERPS too.
In some cases, loss of traffic IS probably to do with how Google is presenting all it’s products to searchers too.
It’s reasonable to assume as Google refines it’s products, they are going to seep more and more into longer tail searches, stealing clicks when previously, you would have got them.
Whats the point of being number 1 for a term if just below or above that Google is presenting eye-catching distractions via Google Video and Google images and Google News and Google Local Business Listings?
It’s probably never been more important to make sure you are taking advantage of ALL Google channels these days because Google is – and it’s playing about with where they appear on the page.
On a seperate note I do subscribe to a lot of the long tail traffic drop theory out there at the moment too – and would probably think Google is getting better at crawling deeper and faster too, and identifying better links, which is could well be the reason if you are experiencing traffic drops.