Change in traffic signature + Traffic Increasing - March, 2020

Blanco

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Much noise was made from March 17th onwards about Googles Algo (suppression algo) being turned off. This seemed like a positive event. Maybe internet search more like pre-2012???? Tested it out and it seemed to be true in some cases.

Meanwhile traffic lost it's regular pulse signature around the same which I initially put this down to the global lockdowns and more people out of work and at home, so more browsing and in different pattern.

However, there is now a building trend of traffic increasing daily, seems ot be mobile more so, and the weekly pulse is still not like the historical which is a pattern despite volume that is established well over a decade, so the traffic is more noisy or turbulent, but it has less dips, possibly because of the increase!

Has anyone else noticed this trend in their traffic, since mid March but becoming more noticble this month (May)?

To note - nothing else was done to increase traffic, not site re-deisng, no paid for ads to drive traffic, nada.
 
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Blanco

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What do you mean by this?
Well it involves politics, and the Trump admin (love it or hate it) but often most do not like to discuss this on most forums without losing the plot.

So let's say controversial searches, were often suspected to be biased one way and it turns out they were, very much so, heavily so. This also applies to youtube results too and lots of old videos, that had disappeared or where never apperaring in SERP anymore where back based on online chatter.

People stated testing it out and seemed to verify this, many getting more accurate results from the SERP, or SERPs like they use to remember, like I said, more like pre-2012 internet, so I am hoping traffic will also come back to forums.

There have been a lot of leaks and various info released about practices at Google, that may have ended up in the DOJ (leaked active blacklists on controversial subjects) and the current admin has stepped in and put an end to it, if fact there may be an anti-trust case soon against Google - but since the 17th, there does appear to be a material difference in SERPS, it may screw up SEO consulting empires, but I am not sure.

The traffic pattern is like nothing before, it has not typical weekly heartbeat.

By way of example, a less politically controversial subject (kinda of) but controversial for other reasons is Raw Milk, users reported any time they searched it, especially in recent years they always seemed to be getting the negative stories first, now those stories do not appear and got the kind of info they expected to see on the subject.

If this turns out to be the reason forums have declined a lot since 2012, it is going to be huge. It may just unearth collusion between Google and the two big social media giants, who knows, it has happened before, probably happens all the time but man, so many places suffered from traffic collapse and everyone sites social media, but if Google was the enabler, oh boy!

Class action anyone?

I could be wrong, because it could be no more than a reflection of a chance in patterned browsing habits due to the lockdown across most of the world. So I wondered had anyone else noted similar changes in the typical traffic signature patterns.
 
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koraldon

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A lot have changed since 2012, to try to pin forums decline on some unknown algorithm and something that sounds like a conspiracy theory is naive.
People have abandoned forums since forums didn’t evolve fast enough - except reddit and a couple others

my data shows an uptick in traffic since early March and starting to go back to normal.
No magical change on March 17th
 

Blanco

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A lot have changed since 2012, to try to pin forums decline on some unknown algorithm and something that sounds like a conspiracy theory is naive.
People have abandoned forums since forums didn’t evolve fast enough - except reddit and a couple others

my data shows an uptick in traffic since early March and starting to go back to normal.
No magical change on March 17th
If you are not able to engage in good faith without resorting to petty characterisations and hackneyed rubbish trying like using the mindless CT line, in place of a real argument or consideration. Then stop now do not read further.

Like many who has presided over a forum for nearly 2 decades and also watch the net evolve with the great onto elf new users with the increase on global bandwidth, has bee met with some dismay at what these big tech platforms have done to not only great online communities and their traffic life blood and renewal, but user habits online and the SEO industry that has grown up around the regular change to the Google Algo - but you would be foolish to ignore the power and influence of Google, that has something like an 80% share of all internet search results, that is an incredible dominance and over what people get to see when they search, the temptation to abuse such power seems ot have been too great to resist for some.

This is something you can prove to yourself, but you might not accept it.

A controversial search result that now appears fixed - an image search, which should not be controversial but for the bizarre results in one grouping.

Before the 17th of March, for a number of years online chat noted that googling the term "White Couples" as an image search, threw up an array of mixed race couples no white couples in the image SERP. Weird and I have no idea who or exactly when this was noticed this first.

Hardly any white couples would appear, I tried it on severely occasions, and it was the case and then if you Google'd Asian couples, Black couples etc. etc. lo and behold, you got a uniform image result, as you would expect, but not for white couples.

?

Roll on the 17th of March 2020 - now a search gets a more consistent and expected result but with one added bonus.

When you google "White Couples" today, not only do you get White couples in the image research as you would expect, but you also get historical screen grabs of people who where testing it to see if it was true before the March 17th change, demonstrating the skewed result of mixed race couples when searching the term "White Couple" with a screen grab from such past search results.

Maybe Raw Milk, was to obscure, this is very straight up and easy to understand and test.

What is the explaination?

IMHO it has put meat on the bones one the last number of years of leaks (incl. Dragonfly) that led to speculation Google was operating blacklists and also de-monitising controversial site content, youtube, videos & channels (which may also affect SERPS & SEO) and as I suggested previously, one particular leaker who had since left Google, possibly walked out the door with a lot of evidence that found it's way to the US DOJ - There has been suspicion that Google had gotten so manipulative that is was manipulating search results in controversial political debates too influence voting results, namely such event around the topic of "abortion", being a prime example, some of this has made it in a small way to some media channels but I would still cite the vast majority of user are mainly clueless at how search results and search engines are powerful, they are also the weakest point in terms of undue influence and subversion.

The US executive, can walk in and take over Google or at the very least (being more plausible in real world terms) inform Google of any notable and serious breeches of US laws and to desist form certain practices or else - if they are seen to break the law and maybe not, Google & others can be classified if not already, as utilities and possibly nationalised and taken over if required in temporarily or temporarily, War time or in times of emergencies from what I understand.

It is suspected the US Gov has intervened with Google in this instance and is the source of the 17th March change in SERPS.

In summary, I could post screen shots but the proof is in the eating, go try the search term, "White Couple" Vs "Other-Type Couples" and you should discover what has been noted by more than one. and a little surprised too.
 
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koraldon

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So your claim is that the search result for a small subset of searches such as white couple is the factor that caused the decline of forums?

like I said and you ignored, my data on the two sites I own show zero change with regard to March 17

Can you post a link to google blog or other source detailing the change you claim in the search algorithm or is it just hearsay and speculation?
 

Blanco

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So your claim is that the search result for a small subset of searches such as white couple is the factor that caused the decline of forums?

like I said and you ignored, my data on the two sites I own show zero change with regard to March 17

Can you post a link to google blog or other source detailing the change you claim in the search algorithm or is it just hearsay and speculation?
No that is not the claim, you are misleading in your opening supposition.

My post is extensive and you can prove it to yourself, or not - the proof is in the eating.

I accept your data shows no real change and I appreciate that insight. That was the motivation of my OP.
 

mysiteguy

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No that is not the claim, you are misleading in your opening supposition.

My post is extensive and you can prove it to yourself, or not - the proof is in the eating.
The burden of proof lies on those making the initial claims. That is you. Simply claiming a conspiracy by Google does not make it so.

Google has had a large update, but it didn't start until May 4th, they confirmed it and rolled it out to data centers over the course of 2 weeks. There weren't any major changes by Google in March. However, there were major changes in the world which resulted in many people flocking to social networks and forums, creating an increase in UGC.

The decline of forums is attributable to many things, based on my experience, participation-in, and studying of, the market since 1995. None of these have to do with any deliberateness by Google.

1. The rise in mobile use. Though they are much better now, lengthy and detailed discussions are not well suited to small screens.

2. The rise of social media. The barriers to entry are lower than with forums, and the models designed to pull others in via the existing relationships people had with each other. No longer did you have to have a career, hobby or interest in common with others... you simply had to know them.

3. Internet Brands, Vertical Scope, and others started buying up forums around 2007. Many who had not had forums, treated this as a gold rush, and we saw many new forums from 2007-2009 in topics already extensively covered by forums. After 2007, competition increased for the same traffic.

Additionally, IB and others started "over monetizing" their acquisitions. This drives many people away, the forum experience wasn't as pleasant.

4. Late to adapt to new technology, though this issue is really part of issues 1 and 2.

5. Information saturation. The need to ask a question and interact has decreased. Odds are if you search for in Google or Bing, you'll find it's already been answered. This contributes to a worse ratio of readers to posters on forums. And this leads to communities becoming "stale" if the admin doesn't nurture participation.

During the "decline", while others saw gloom and doom, I saw an opportunity. My forums have grown, even more so in the past 3 years. And I even purchased forums that were neglected, and have turned them completely around to become growth platforms.

Google owes no one traffic. Forums, blogs, social media, news sources; none are entitled. The users pick the winners through linking, content with authority, and where they do. One either understands the game constantly changes, and adapts to the rules, or one doesn't and cries foul looking for someone to blame.

We've seen the rise, consolidation, decline, and then stabilization of blogging. The same with niche content centric sites like Fast Company and the many other "destination hubs" which once dominated the landscape. Even search engines went through this the first decade of the commercial web when there were dozens of "major" search engines. Even social networks are showing they aren't invulnerable to changes in the market (desires for privacy for example). Forums are no different.

One thing is constant: change.
 
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MagicalAzareal

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The US executive, can walk in and take over Google or at the very least (being more plausible in real world terms) inform Google of any notable and serious breeches of US laws and to desist form certain practices or else
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
No, he cannot. Compelled speech is against the Constitution and Google is not a government actor. It is possible they may change their policies, if it was politically or publically expedient for them to do so, but the U.S. executive alone does not hold this power. There is nary any news regardless.

A lot of censorship tbh stems from political aggression against them not being censorious enough and Congress' desire to repeal Section 230.
 
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BigIG

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Jul 19, 2018
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Much noise was made from March 17th onwards about Googles Algo (suppression algo) being turned off. This seemed like a positive event. Maybe internet search more like pre-2012???? Tested it out and it seemed to be true in some cases.

Meanwhile traffic lost it's regular pulse signature around the same which I initially put this down to the global lockdowns and more people out of work and at home, so more browsing and in different pattern.

However, there is now a building trend of traffic increasing daily, seems ot be mobile more so, and the weekly pulse is still not like the historical which is a pattern despite volume that is established well over a decade, so the traffic is more noisy or turbulent, but it has less dips, possibly because of the increase!

Has anyone else noticed this trend in their traffic, since mid March but becoming more noticble this month (May)?

To note - nothing else was done to increase traffic, not site re-deisng, no paid for ads to drive traffic, nada.
This is just CT nonsense, sorry mate.

This update wasn't anything to do with Trump. It was mostly about long form content and more focus on mobile. Some really big link farms where annihilated.

Also links from places like reddit have been devalued. That is pretty much what we know for now. It isn't everything that happened but then the update only finished rolling out a few days ago.

Also Google has given huge love to things like play.google.com and other mobile stuff - even if you are searching for stuff using desktop or laptop. Which is just crazy. Mobile first even if you're not on a mobile device.

There is a link at the bottom of this article showing winners but the article covers most of it:

 

Blanco

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I appreciate all the post and insight but to reiterate, March 17th is the key date, not May - Is it possible the google update have a run in or preamble period before announced or seen by weeks, enough weeks to span more than two month periods?

This might explain the Mar 17th date, where notable changes were seen in SERP around controversial issues.

I have looked at the pattern I spoke of again which is breaking a very clear and steady decline over 13 years, and it culminates around the 17th of March.

What I have noted further are page sessions are trending up and average session duration is also trending up probably average 1.5/2 mins extra. The trend for both of those has been on the down for over a decade like most other traffic measurables.

The point about search results showing up what was usually suppressed is verifiable. I am posing "is it related". They may not be related and I can accept that, I could have stumbled on a false positive and that is a real possibility, but if one may not prove the other that does not mean both can not exist of their own accord.

Overall it is a very welcome thing in traffic terms. It is a long time seen. A long long long time.
 

Blanco

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No, he cannot. Compelled speech is against the Constitution and Google is not a government actor. It is possible they may change their policies, if it was politically or publically expedient for them to do so, but the U.S. executive alone does not hold this power. There is nary any news regardless.

A lot of censorship tbh stems from political aggression against them not being censorious enough and Congress' desire to repeal Section 230.
Tbh I do not believe we know the half of what has gone on in Big Tech but what we have is more than controversial, it is dating if they have been actively curating and suppression SERP for political reasons across the world. Who audits this stuff? Where is the control? Monopolies have been broken up in the past. Anti-Trust in the eight hands can do a lot of good.

The argument when it bear down ot utilities is, omagine if you were decided a phone line or power, because of your political expressions of the past. The US courts have been political stacked and affect the Trump admin is close to or has flipped the 9th, so these things may not hold in the future.

To get back to the point above, it was in the context of the current period where emergencies are declared and things can be marked as utilities and then that give the executive further influence. My point is this would be done in support of freedom of expression, to protect the constitutional right of the US.
 

Blanco

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This is just CT nonsense, sorry mate.
Did you try searching as outlined in my post?

There are a number of point made, a I am trying ot ascertain if there is a link, cause a correlation are tricky here, but as outlined in previous post, these things can exist and stand separately, so cause and correlation.

Unless you deny that the SERPS are performing as outlined, because I can reject that outright as a specific point.

Further, my supposition was if the SERPS are heaving differently, and can we see that wash through in traffic, and that is not something I thought of on March 17th but had no traffic that looked out of the ordinary, now I do.

Yes, it is embedded in the noise of lockdown and of course it could be that change in online activity, that was not lost on me.

I can also say the mobile traffic does look more like the source of it, but again since mid March, back to previous question, do Google roll out take weeks and months and the rollout marked when it has more or less concluded across systems?

Is that the criteria for time-stamping updates?
 
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mysiteguy

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I appreciate all the post and insight but to reiterate, March 17th is the key date, not May - Is it possible the google update have a run in or preamble period before announced or seen by weeks, enough weeks to span more than two month periods?

This might explain the Mar 17th date, where notable changes were seen in SERP around controversial issues.
To reiterate, because it seems like you're not listening. No Google update took place March 17th.
The USA went into stay at home mode starting March 16th in much of the country. People patterns changed, not the SERPs.

I have looked at the pattern I spoke of again which is breaking a very clear and steady decline over 13 years, and it culminates around the 17th of March.
I have seen sides with steady increases, steady decreases and ups/downs over 13 years. And I'm not using a sample of a handful of sites. I have literally looked at over 200 sites for clients, plus my own, over this period of time.

What I have noted further are page sessions are trending up and average session duration is also trending up probably average 1.5/2 mins extra. The trend for both of those has been on the down for over a decade like most other traffic measurables.
The point about search results showing up what was usually suppressed is verifiable. I am posing "is it related". They may not be related and I can accept that, I could have stumbled on a false positive and that is a real possibility, but if one may not prove the other that does not mean both can not exist of their own accord.
The case that you're seeing a conspiracy where none exists, is further made by your refusal to consider any data except that on your own site.

You have zero data to back this up, except your site, and a sample of one is meaningless.

The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. Show proof.
 

Blanco

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To reiterate, because it seems like you're not listening. No Google update took place March 17th.
The USA went into stay at home mode starting March 16th in much of the country. People patterns changed, not the SERPs.
Pure projection dude, absolute projection to deflect - I recognised this reality in my opening post.

Meanwhile traffic lost it's regular pulse signature around the same which I initially put this down to the global lockdowns and more people out of work and at home, so more browsing and in different pattern.
I think it would be hard to not notice the lockdown in various countries some occurring relatively close to each other and to bake that in.

SERPS have changed for controversial search subjects as previously outlined it and heralded online on the 17th of March and any not earlier that I am aware of - Get over it.

Has it effected all searches. Well this is less clear, who can run a search before and after on every conceivable search? Naturally we will only spot the controversial ones, and how many people even know about these, not that many and no one in this thread it seems. I find that strange tbh.

There are some search subject I really do not want to introduce on the subject for reason already outlined in proviso posts - so I'll stick with the ones cited already, which you could have gone to prove to yourself as I had outlined clearly for all to try, but it appears you simply have not bothered to prove or disprove it to yourself with said instruction and insist the burden of proof has not been met, ok, so here is the spoon-fed version, open wide, links incoming!

2019

https://www.seroundtable.com/google-image-search-results-racist-26904.html

2017 - This one compare it against Bing searches too. Interesting.

https://theanomaloushost.org/2017/08/10/lets-play-the-google-bias-game-1/

The case that you're seeing a conspiracy where none exists, is further made by your refusal to consider any data except that on your own site.

You have zero data to back this up, except your site, and a sample of one is meaningless.

The burden of proof is on the person making the claim. Show proof.
You were given the proof early on in this topic of SERP behaviour and you ignored it - so let's be straight, ad nauseam, is not an argument.

If you want another one to chase, which came to me as I typed this reply, try the "European people art" search, totally bizarre results and you can still replicate by selecting the "art" tab to some extent on google today. Not sure about Bing.

Here is an Example someone captured to imgur by way of illustration of the point - https://imgur.com/r/conspiracy/EvhvGpJ
 
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