Web Traffic Stinks; What Gives?

It’s the last day of April and in a way I think that’s a good thing. I’m hoping for some better things to come, and for the record, I’m talking about online things.

What an interesting month this was. There were some things I did that in the past would have been amazing in raising traffic. Instead, I seem to have taken a hit in traffic across the board except for one of my sites, and that makes no sense.

I had heard that there was indeed another Panda update from Google. I’ve been touched before so I figured that maybe it was done messing with me. Nope, seems not to be the case. This blog dropped about 25% in traffic over the last month, even though I’ve kept up the same posting schedule. Actually, it dropped the previous month as well, but only about 5% so I hadn’t thought much about it, but when I looked at Analytics again I noticed that suddenly on one day it dropped noticeably, which means I was doing pretty well until that point. Heck, I was even listed on Technorati’s top 100 business blogs in 68th place; that’s gone now.

I tried an experiment on my business blog that has always worked in the past. I wrote 18 articles in 15 days, and posted 15 straight days. Over the years, previous tests have always shown that more content equals more traffic; instead, traffic dropped about 10% during the period and continues to slowly drop. Now, this blog not being niched maybe I could see it, though I still wouldn’t like it, but my business blog is fairly strongly niched; no reason it shouldn’t have gone up.

My finance blog stayed almost the same, and my SEO blog did go up, but that one’s still fairly new. The website that made a nice recovery in my mind is my medical billing site, where traffic jumped 25% after falling some months ago, but my Adsense money hasn’t gone up any and that’s slightly disturbing. I got a notice from the Adsense folks saying I should add one more ad unit to each page, but I’m thinking that would be overkill.

Is anyone else noticing traffic fluctuations on their blogs or websites that aren’t positive? I know I’m not the only one, as I was reading a few blogs over the weekend lamenting the same thing. These things are getting out of hand in my opinion.

18 thoughts on “Web Traffic Stinks; What Gives?”

  1. You too? I thought it was just me. Maybe everyone is outside enjoying the nice spring weather… Bahahahahahaha. Silly me; people don’t go outside anymore! Don’t know, Mitch: the economy? The elections? Home shopping network? Don’t know.

    1. I don’t really know either Allan but it’s strange because we write content, good content in my opinion, and yet Google, in its infinite “wisdom”, penalizes us for it. So be it I guess.

  2. Yes, one my retail websites. Driving me nuts actually but found a problem with sitemap and fixed it and then old broken links became an issue, just fixed those. Have you checked your sitemap and seen how many pages Google has indexed vs. how many you submitted on the sitemap? We had gained a lot of traffic since January until about a week ago and I believe it’s the sitemap – about 5-10% of traffic drop. At first I thought it was the nice weather too. The new update is called a Penquin this time. I hope Google is not favoring their adwords advertisers. Hope they remain fair and square.

    1. You know Lisa, I’d actually uninstalled the Sitemaps plugin some time last year while trying to trim the high number of plugins I had, so it’s been fine without it for awhile. Guess I’ll load it take and give it another shot to see if that helps any. I hadn’t realized they changed the name to Penguin; sneaks, but it still did the same thing. And I see you wrote about it as well so I’m heading over to your blog.

  3. It wasn’t Panda update, but in the last month there were 40 changes and after than another 50 changes of algorithms, the most significant one is related to evaluation of backlinks. Those updates were posted at Google Webmaster Central official blog. I also notices traffic fluctuation and I am really satisfied, almost all websites and blogs increased traffic and one particular website improved traffic with about 200%.

    1. Carl, I’m blaming Panda updates, and there’s nothing you can say to make me change my mind. lol There was a Panda update as well as other changes, and the truth is that for this blog there’s nothing about backlinks for them to evaluate that would have affected it so it has to be Panda. I looked at other things they said as well and the only thing that fits is being affected by Panda.

      1. I am not sure that it will be a good idea to share the links to exact source of information, but if you want to know more about changes, drop me an email and I will send it to you, however I can tell you the exact dates and when updates started – 28 February 2012 was the first one and there was official statement for 50 changes, old algorithm with a lot of modification, as I mentioned above, the most significant one was related to backlinks, the other significant one over-optimization filter.

        Quite a while ago, you wrote a post related to misleading information on Twitter and Re-Tweeting non-verified information, being realistic most bloggers are repeating the same topic again and again – Panda, Panda, Panda, nothing to blame Panda about, when there is new algorithm it affects everybody the same way.

        One more thing that I have mention in comment before, past Google algorithms gave a lot of benefits of WordPress platform and now they are taking it back, as there are other CMS systems with similar capabilities and WordPress in not just a blogging platform, but very flexible CMS which most companies are building their websites, most probable reason for drop in traffic on blogs, same thing happened several years ago related to Pligg social bookmaking websites.

      2. See Carl, this is one of those times where one can keep throwing in stats and the other person isn’t going to listen. Panda or Penguin, I still believe that’s what’s affected my traffic. I did go and look at those changes you mentioned and none of them fit either this blog or my other blog. I’ve never over-optimized and I don’t have problems with backlinks. If that was the case then it would probably have knocked down the traffic on my finance blog, since all my guest posters get to link back to their websites.

        As to the other issue, I don’t know how Google could have given more credence to WordPress than other software, but I do know that I loaded a blog onto my friend’s site last week and her Alexa ranking increased dramatically after doing so. That always seems to happen, even now, so if they’ve taken away anything I’m not seeing it; doesn’t mean it’s not happening at all though.

  4. It must have affected many Mitch!

    Yes indeed, the latest Google Update has affected my site a little too, as I see a small shift on the downside on my blog, though it never stays the same. One day it goes up and the next day it’s down again. I guess this would carry on till they finally finish the update in the real sense.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      If it was just a daily change it wouldn’t bother me so much, but looking at it month to month, it’s definitely hitting me.

  5. I don’t think the A to Z Challenge can be blamed for having any effect on your traffic or that of any of the above since that’s a whole different ballgame. I tend not to check my stats most of the time–partly because I don’t understand them and in April I’ve just been too busy dealing with comments and posting.
    It’s been a busy Challenge in April with in the neighborhood of 1700 participating blogs. A lot of them seemed to be pretty busy. It would be interesting to know how all of their April numbers fared.

    Hope it all picks up for you Mitch and I wish us all big money. I could use it.

    Places I Remember
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    1. Hi Arlee,

      I doubt any of the websites I’m linked to are harming me since blog comments supposedly are immune. I say it that way because one never knows how search engines view do follow vs no follow. I’m not so worried about it here, but I definitely am on my other properties.

  6. Hi Mitch
    Yes, the update is officially confirmed now and it is the penguin this time. Although the update is aimed at spammers, it has hit genuine websites big time and I happened to read one hilarious account of a blank blog being ranked better than well reputed niche blog. I’ve heard you can send a complain for manual review if you are unsatisfied with the update.

    1. Rain, you can always send something, but they’re not going to see it or respond. That’s just not how Google works; they only respond if you make them big money, pay them big money or are famous enough to cause a ruckus, none of which fit my profile.

  7. I find my articles seem to rank well for defined keywords but I dont see much reward from search engines anyway – many would say that its down to poor keyword choice.

    Ive noticed a drop of late but am too busy getting my site the way I want it to give it much attention.

    In any case I think given the way search engines are manipulated I’m almost of the mind that its safer to plug your site into real communities that read blogs and deliver traffic – there’s plenty of them around.

    1. You might have a point there Peter, but I have to admit that takes time as well. Still, it shows how Google really is the big dog because if the other search engines were stronger this wouldn’t be an issue at all.

  8. I think the Easter weekend had lots to do with a drop in traffic. It is concerning when traffic drops especially if one is spending lots of time and or money trying to get more. I feel quite buoyant about May though.

    1. There was an Easter weekend in there, wasn’t it? Hadn’t remembered holidays at all. I’ll have to see if things start going back in the right direction again; thanks Neil.

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