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Big Drop in Google Referral Traffic After Site Redesign - Not a "noindex / nofollow" problem

Badged Google Partner
# 1
Badged Google Partner

I didn't do the redesign, but I'm doing some after the fact troubleshooting:

Client had an unusually large percentage of traffic from Google.com as a Channels / Referral source before redesign.

Not talking about organic traffic from Google (although that went down somewhat also) - specifically referral.

Client saw a huge, prolonged drop in Google.com referral post-redesign.

NO, the developer did not leave a noindex or other Google-bot stopping code on the site.

I can't tell where the Google.com referral traffic was coming from specifically, because a Full Referrer / Secondary Dimension does NOT give me any clues - just Google.com.

 

Help solving this mystery appreciated!

Fred

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Re: Big Drop in Google Referral Traffic After Site Redesign - Not a "noindex / nofollow" p

Rising Star
# 2
Rising Star
Fred,

When was the redesign? There were changes to how Google Referrals were handled. I want to say in two waves. One Octoberish 2015 and perhaps January 2016.

Also you may want to peek at any ignorred referred settings in the web property as this will change traffic to "direct".

Best,

Theo Bennett
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Re: Big Drop in Google Referral Traffic After Site Redesign - Not a "noindex / nofollow" p

Badged Google Partner
# 3
Badged Google Partner
Thanks, Theo! That timing would make sense. Can you elaborate a bit on "ignored referred settings"? Link for that? Not familiar with it.
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Accepted by topic author Fred Z
May 2016

Re: Big Drop in Google Referral Traffic After Site Redesign - Not a "noindex / nofollow" p

Rising Star
# 4
Rising Star
Hey Fred,

In universal analytics you can actually make referrals change to direct traffic. It's typically used for cross domain tracking but if that's not in place you'll get unexpected results. I doubt that's happened in your case but is a slight possibility. More on that here:

https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2795830?hl=en

Best,

Theo
Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn