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Change from non-www to www. Performance Decrease

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# 1
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Our account has had a steady increase in clicks and CTR since inception two years ago. Over the past month our account has had a 30%+ decrease in clicks and that decrease in performance continues to get larger each week. I cannot figure out why this decrease in performance is occurring and I am reluctant to make any further changes until I figure out what is causing this decrease in performance. I made the following changes to our account starting about a month ago and I feel quite certain these changes have caused this decrease in  performance as opposed to changes in our competition.

 

Our server has served our site to visitors as a non-www URL since inception two years ago. Four weeks ago I instructed our server to start serving our site with a redirect to www. in the URL, and once that redirect was in place our CTR immediately dropped from the high 4% range to the low 4% range with no drop in ad rank (although that CTR has subsequently increased to the mid 4% range).

 

Also since inception our site's Preferred Domain setting on Webmaster was "Don't select a preferred domain" and two weeks ago I changed that Preferred Domain setting to www. Our site as a Property with www. in it has always been a Property in Webmaster and I then added a new site map our www. property with www. in each page URL but many of those new www. pages have still not (yet?) been indexed.

 

Note that our ads all have a final URL that does not include www, our account is a Google Ad Grant account, our ad rank has changed from 2.1 to 2.2 since I added www to our url URL a month ago, and our Impression share has been steadily decreasing from around 58% to 50% for the account. 

 

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Accepted by topic author Steve B
April 2017

Change from non-www to www. Performance Decrease

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# 4
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@Steve B;

The data certainly does NOT support your hypothesis.

The only statistically significant change is in exact match IS. All other metrics are well within the statistical margin of error.

The change in exact match IS I attribute to Google's latest change about matching exact match KW and a search query. (Announced, surprisingly,  March 17... Smiley Surprised )

https://adwords.googleblog.com/2017/03/close-variants-now-connects-more-people.html

 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Change from non-www to www. Performance Decrease

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# 2
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I would not attribute the decrease to the URL. To me it sounds more as an increase in competition:  new competitors have joined. A good place to start that could signal if this (i.e  increase in competition) was the case would be auction insight.

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Change from non-www to www. Performance Decrease

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# 3
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Following are our Auction Insights impression share, average position, and top of page data for the eight weeks prior to March 17 when our non-www URL started being redirected to www (week 1 = Jan 2, etc.) and also data for the four weeks following March 17 (week 12 = April 10-16):


Search Exact Match Impression Share %:

 

                         1    2    3    4   5    6    7    8

Weeks  1 - 8:     65  63  64  64  66  65  60  59

 

                          9   10   11   12

Weeks 9 - 12:    58   56   55   54

   

 

Thanks for focusing me on our Auction Insight data. Clearly our impression share had started to decline prior to March 17 and so I agree with your assessment that our decline in performance is probably not the result of changing our URL but rather is probably about changes by our competition.

 

Average Position:

 

Weeks   1-8:   2.1   2.1   2.1   2.2   2.1   2.1   2.2   2.3

 

Weeks 9-12:   2.2   2.3   2.3   2.3


Note that in all 12 weeks our average position was the best of all our competitors except for Weeks 9 and 10 when a new competitor appeared who had an average position of 2.0 and 2.1 respectively. That new competitor did not appear in Weeks 11 and 12.


Top of Page %:

 

Weeks   1 - 8:     88   87   87   87   87   88   87   86

 

Weeks 9 - 12:     87   86   86   85

 

 

Thanks for helping me with this, I appreciate it very much.

 

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Steve B
April 2017

Change from non-www to www. Performance Decrease

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

@Steve B;

The data certainly does NOT support your hypothesis.

The only statistically significant change is in exact match IS. All other metrics are well within the statistical margin of error.

The change in exact match IS I attribute to Google's latest change about matching exact match KW and a search query. (Announced, surprisingly,  March 17... Smiley Surprised )

https://adwords.googleblog.com/2017/03/close-variants-now-connects-more-people.html

 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’