Has anyone else noticed a similar issue in their communities? If so, how are you responding?
Sessions and Pageviews have been on a pretty steady decline over the past few weeks, yet our activity levels and user counts seem to be steady and even increasing.
I am also curious if any of you have tried methods to increase page views that are not part of your normal routine? I am curious if doing something abnormal for you could potentially be reflected by GA. I recently listened to an episode of Smart Passive Income where they talked about content audits. Specifically about how removing and updating older content can lead to an increase in page views. I am wondering if anyone has tried any experiments of that kind to see if a change is reflected?
Topic and activity-wise, March and April were some of our busiest months on record, despite showing low traffic numbers in GA.
Here's another look at activity... we're right on track, if not busier than before, yet fewer pageviews and sessions.
Something funky happened.
Seeing the same in our Community as well. Some topics have a minor decrease, some have a major decrease (almost a complete drop-off).
Here are two completely different posts from our Community, notice the steep drop-offs at various different timelines. Any thoughts on what's happening here? We're seeing a massive drop-off which has basically cut our organic traffic into a quarter of what it should be.
Do you happen to have the stats you quote going further back, maybe Dec Jan Feb?
As Drew C saw his problems start then, and that is when the urchin tracker was dropped.
But the drop-off in the graphs shown here seems much more severe than even the 10% you report above.
I'm wondering if it may just be a reporting issue - perhaps some % of the page views aren't being reported at all due to our asynchronous analytics.js load. We'll do more investigation on that in our next sprint.
This topic has consistently been a top viewed topic for us (~3500/mo). So far this month, just 99. It doesn't appear in any Google search results either. There are several links to it, even in related conversations - all of them appear in the results summaries, but the actual topic itself doesn't show up.
There's another thread that looks very similar that I can share if someone is interested.
- 40,000 Feb
- 35,946 Mar
- 42,460 Apr
- 31,137 May
- 11,365 June
From here it's pretty clear to see that the "All Traffic" drop started in March and was initially caused by a decrease in direct traffic. Later on, organic traffic started to slip in mid April causing the rest of the crash.
One thing that catches my eye here is the downward shift in direct and the upward shift in organic traffic in March. One thing that might have happened is that the direct traffic started to become better categorized in GA (as we know lots of direct traffic is actually "dark" and not truly direct). Regardless if that's the case, this traffic shift explains why 'All Traffic' was relatively level throughout April until organic started to decrease towards the end of the month.
Additionally, we are planning to release a new feature to let you manage your community web domain using Google Webmaster Tools. Hopefully this will give you added visibility and control over the SEO of your community and, as a side benefit, help us collectively troubleshoot these issues. We expect to have this feature ready in the next few days.
As a fellow community manager, I can definitely understand your frustrations with this. Like many of you, I am seeing a drop in traffic but not in activity and it just doesn't really add up. We have been working on some things behind the scenes (I'll let someone in Engineering speak to that). We are reaching out to Google to try and work directly with them on this to see if there's something we may have missed or something we can do to get more accurate reporting. Once we know more, I hope that we will share that here.
FWIW, the Community Health Analytics show the same traffic pattern as the Google Analytics data:
The bump up in direct page views in Feb seems weird, too.
I think we'd all agree that the lack of consistent updates, transparency, or even an official statement from GS on this subject is troubling.
Perhaps Google no longer approves of GetSat's SEO strategy, or something in the vast agglomeration of GetSat Communities all living in what is really the same place has accidentally fallen foul of some of Google's rules?