- If you are not the first, you are the last
- A code snippet ate my traffic!
- A short story in the long run queue
- Search changes. The traffic is down. What can we do?
Since its inception in 2006, the blog has been a staplethe inbound activity of. The more articles our marketing team published, the more our audience grew. By investing in the growth of the blog, we have seen incredible returns. In 2014, we were getting 1.5 million views per month, but we didn't stop there. Thanks to our historical optimization project as well as expansion of topics and an obsession with only posting truly high quality content, the growth continued from regular way. and right. The blog now receives 4.5 million visits per month. For a B2B blog, this is huge.
Everything was fine until the dreaded day arrived when we started to notice some flatness in the traffic from our blog. And then a few declines. Our days of rapidly growing monthly views came to a halt and all of a sudden we were stagnant.
But, why? We had high traffic from our existing posts and created several new posts in 2017 that generated considerable organic traffic for the new keywords. This combination should result in more traffic, no ? We were confused, so we took action.
After many hours of analysis by our Blog and SEO teams, we have come to the bottom of this disturbing trendline. The good news is that we now know the culprit who stole our traffic.
The bad news? This is Google.
If you are not the first, you are the last
Before we delve into how Google is hijacking our blog traffic, let's step back and review the major components of the modern search engine results page (SERP). If you've seen the movie Talladega Nights, you know the main character, Ricky Bobby, loves the line: "if you 're not the first, you are the last ". It turns out that Ricky Bobby could have been a SEO in 2017. Its signature phrase is appropriate when it comes to featured snippets.
A snippet is a snippet of text that Google serves on the SERP itself. You may have received a snippet when looking for a definition or something that involved a step-by-step explanation :
SEOs call the result of the snippet "above position 1. " In this example, the result under "People Ask " box (or related questions) would also be considered position 1:
How the extrDo Featured Code Aits Affect Website Traffic From SERPs? Well, if you hit the Featured Snippet, you're "first" and you can expect to get even more clicks than if you ranked # 1 without a snippet on the SERP. But if you're not in the snippet, you're "last" - featured snippets reduce the total number of clicks on other results.
Here is an example to illustrate this point. The SERP below does not have a featured snippet. On a traditional "10 blue links" SERP like this, the first result can expect to earn around 33% of total clicks, the second result 18%, and the rest 11% or less. So if this SERP had 100 total clicks per day, that means 33 would jump to # 1, 18 to # 2, 11 to # 3 and the rest to # 4-10.
But add a snippet to the SERP, and that ratio changes completely. Increasing the number of clicks to the featured snippet result actually reduces the clicks than the rest of the results on the page get. Keeping the same 100 clicks total, maybe 50 now go to extract, 20 to # 1, 10 to # 2 and the rest to # 3-10.
This means that if you are not in the snippet, you might get less traffic to your page even though the root has not changed.
And in fact that 's exactly what we see on the blog ...
A snippet ate my traffic!
If you look at blog traffic Spread across a post by post level from year to year (year over year), you start to see the impact that not capturing the snippet can have on overall traffic.
No posts have gone from an astronomical amount of views to zero. In fact, the opposite has happened somewhat - the net new articles written over the past year have started to generate a considerable number of visits.
But there were quite a few posts that received less traffic over a year, and a quick look at the SERP would usually reveal the reason.
1. 38% decrease in visits from 2016 to 2017
2. 16 of the best job interview questions to ask candidates : 35% decrease in visits in 2016 to 2017
3. 15 Hidden Instagram Hacks and Features : 24% decrease in visits from 2016 to 2017
In these three examples, our page ranking has not fluctuated significantly over a year - but we are not capturing the snippet for the wordshigh volume keys. And just by the very fact that there is a snippet of code on the page (not to mention ads and other search features like "People also asked "), our raw traffic coming from these SERP has declined.
So the snippets are the reason why we saw our blog traffic flatten this year. Even though we ranked well because our result was not in the snippet, their effect on SERP click-through rate (CTR) reduced our raw traffic.
In addition, we spotted another trend that was taking its toll ...
A short story about the long tail
Conversational search also affects search results and increases the popularity of long tail keywords . While it wouldn't have been unusual to search for "boston restaurants " in 2012, it is more common today to search for "where should I eat tonight? Google has much better understanding of the intent behind a given search and presentation of the correct result - even without key information (the second search doesn't even include a place or word "restaurant"!)
The same thing happens with trade terms. As people search more and more in a conversational and precise way, Google improves to deliver the exact result for your very specific search. For example, while in 2012, Google could give the same result for "goodny interview questions " interview questions to ask an interviewer "and " what questions to ask in an interview "- something widely applicable like " 'interview "- today those searches are more likely to generate totally different result pages.
For example, you can search for three very similar search phrases and get three totally different SERPs:
What does this mean in the context of the blog? Even though one of our posts is still ranked # 1 for a term with the highest search volume - for example, "interview questions " - it might lose out on all variaLong-tail items, like "interview questions for the boss, " "fun interview questions. " etc. And these long terms add up as a whole.
This article is a good example of how overlaying long tail decay on snippets can really affect traffic:
How to create the best PowerPoint presentations, with examples : 60% reduction in visits from 2016 to 2017
Here are some of the specific search phrases this post is classified for:
You will notice that is # 1 for " sample PowerPoint presentation "and " sample presentation. "Not bad. But when you start looking for some of the longs longer queues from this report, the SERPs are starting to look quite different:
Search is changing. Traffic is down. What can be done?
The number of featured snippets on SERPs has increased 328% since summer 2015 . By some estimates, just under 1 in 3 Google searches now return a code snippet . And, perhaps most troubling to marketers, almost half of searches today do not result in clicks according to the data from Moz - a side effect of broadcasting responses directly to the SERP.
Search is changing. Searcher behavior is changing. Put those two together and " SEO is getting harder than ever ", as Matt Barby, Resident SEO at , like to point it out.
So what can be done to combat the traffic drops caused by these search changes? At, we try these three tactics:
- Capture the Snippet. Optimize existing posts that do not currently capture the snippetfeatured and write crisp new articles with snippet (and other search features) in mind.
- Find the green space. The extracts are not going to stop eating away from the traffic, no matter how hard you try. Even with optimization, we will not get back all the traffic we lose. We will therefore work to identify gaps in the topics so that we can develop and create groups around new areas.
- Go for the longer longtail. Instead of optimizing a full article for a bunch of smaller keywords, we'll start writing shorter, more specific articles for all the precise variations of a keyword. These are the messages of the "cluster" which are essential to propel a content element "pillar" towards this coveted n ° 1 position.for the most competitive conditions - and simultaneously capture all that long tail traffic.
This is our plan for 2018 - now we would love to hear from you. Have you noticed a plateau or a decrease in traffic to your blog? What do you think of Google's snippets and other SERP features? Share with us on Twitter:
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