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Understand information in your reports and troubleshoot reporting issues such as self-referrals, (not set) data, and inaccurate information
 
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Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi There. I help administer a site that focuses on business strategy. Over the years, the site has enjoyed a slow but steady increased traffic year-over-year. And every December there is a dip in traffic during the holidays, but it bounces back in January and the upward trend continues.

 

December 2016 was no different, we saw a dip in traffic, but starting with January 2017 the year-over-year traffic has been down for the first time. And we're scratching our heads trying to figure out why. It appears that the biggest change in referrals is organic search. There doesn't appear to be any correlation between Google Algorithm updates as there are no drops during rollouts. It just looks like less people hit the site after the holiday break.

 

The site does enjoy the #1, 2, or 3 non-paid search result spots for a few popular business phrases and that doesn't appear to have changed over time. So I don't think it's an SEO issue.

 

That got us wondering if it's the result of outside influences. I'm wondering if anyone has seen their sites getting less traffic recently and are wondering the same thing. For example, our site doesn't do news coverage. Has anyone found any correlation with news/current events grabbing people's attention and non-news sites traffic suffering as a result? One theory on the team is that the new (Trump) administration is grabbing people's interest. The site doesn't cover politics. And the timing would seem to be about right.

 

Please, no political debates here, but we were wondering if people have seen changes in their traffic (organic or otherwise) as the result of outside influences like the example above.

 

Thanks!

2 Expert replyverified_user

Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 2
Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Peter, This is a pretty in depth analysis that would have to take place and certainly not enough information. You know your users better than us, do your users also share interests in politics? I would say your best bet is to use Google Trends and search up your business niche and business phrases you know you are ranking for and see if it's happening overall dip or just for you.

Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Rising Star
# 3
Rising Star

Hi Peter,

 

@Matt M gave you good advice on Google Trends.

 

If you've opted in to the demo and interest reports you can see (in those reports) where your engaged users also spend time.  That said, news sites are common for most site so it may not give much insight but it's better than stumbling around in the dark.

 

You should do some content analysis as well.  Segment for organic traffic and go to your landing pages report.  With the date range comparison set to year over year, select absolute change as your sort type.  With that done, you can then click the sessions column to toggle between biggest increases and biggest losers organically.  You can also look at each date range independently and see how many rows of data you have in the landing page report.  This will give you a sense if your organic reach has diminished.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Best,

 

Theo Bennett

Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
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Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for the replies -- I'll give those a try!

 

 

Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

@Theo Bennett would you mind detailing the click path in Analytics to get the reports you described? I'm not seeing some of the things you mentioned and other things are greyed-out (like "Absolute Change") so I'm not sure I'm following your instructions correctly.

 

As for the trends that @Matt M suggested, while it looks like our main search terms have trended down since 2008 in Google Trends, they are mostly flat for the last few years. Weird that this is the first year we are actually seeing a drop.

Re: Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Rising Star
# 6
Rising Star

 

 

Hey Peter,

 

Demo and Interest Reports:

 

ss Interests.png

 

Landing Page

ss landing pages abs change.png

 

To use absolute change, first you have to compare a date range (upper right corner) and then apply your segment.  Organic traffic is a system generated segment so look in the system area when you click add segment.  For Demo and interest reports, you need to opt in in the admin section.

 

Best,

 

Theo Bennett

 

 

Analytics Evangelist at MoreVisibility | Contact Me
Connect on LinkedIn

Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Rising Star
# 7
Rising Star

I'd be willing to bet that a few key pages, or groups of pages, stand for a significant volume of the traffic which comes to your site from organic - check to see if this is the case, and whether these pages - or some of them - have lost traffic. A drop in traffic spread equally across all pages could suggest a technical SEO issue whereas a drop restricted to some, but not all content, could suggest a need for new content. Also - is it the recruitment of new visitors from organic, or returning visitors, that are showing the drop? Apologies if this has already been suggested, but see what Search Console (previously webmaster tools) is saying. 

John Wedderburn, Advertiser Community, Rising Star
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Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks everyone for the additional suggestions and walkthroughs.

 

We think we've narrowed it down. There are a few key phrases where the site has always come up as the first result in organic search (and still does). Those brought in the bulk of the traffic. And those first results for those key phrases used to be at the very top of the results page in Google. However, there are now three, sometimes even four paid ads that now appear above our non-paid results. In combination with Google's suggestion feature ("people also ask"), etc. it pushes us well below the fold, even though we are the first non-paid result. We're thinking that must have some impact...

Year over year organic search down. Result of outside influences? (like Trump coverage, etc.)

Rising Star
# 9
Rising Star

Sounds like a good explanation. Like I suggested, check out the landing pages associated with those keywords and see if they are showing a traffic drop; also take a look at impressions and click data in webmaster tools. Sounds like you have a very strong case for starting a visibility project - maybe some investment in adwords to compete with the current advertising as well as a rethink of your SEO strategy. 

John Wedderburn, Advertiser Community, Rising Star
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