Conundrum : SEO rising Traffic falling Web Rank

This is Part 3 of an examination of Web page ranking and search engine optimization (SEO).

The conundrum of SEO, increasing traffic and declining web rank caused me to send out a help request (SEO: search engine optimization). That opened a Pandora’s box.  With that help request, I posted  a graph that illustrates the nature of the problem.  The following is a more recent version of that graph.

Comparing daily page views of daily page view data for dads&things, as per data provided by Google Analytics for for the host server, for WordPress and for GADWP (Google Analytics Dashboard WordPress) vs daily Alexa web rank

Comparing daily page view data for dads&things, per data provided by Google Analytics for the host server, for WordPress and for GADWP (Google Analytics Dashboard WordPress) vs daily Alexa web ranks
(The gap in the tracking data by GADWP is due to me having to disable GADWP for a while, to enable trouble shooting relating to a problem I had with WordPress.)

That  Google Analytics for WordPress had all along shown only a tiny fraction, only about 2%, of the actual daily page views that the host server indicated per its version of Google Analytics data did not bother me so much.

Nor did it bother me all that much that the tiny fractions of the actual daily page views that Google Analytics data showed per WordPress and per GADWP differed so greatly from each other.  They both indicated a common trend, even though they did not represent reality, not by a long shot.  Even though it is unfathomable why Google Analytics data for WordPress and for GADWP differ so much from the more accurate version of reality employed by the host server, I knew what the respective data sets represent.

Not even the fact that the daily web rank values produced by alexa.com for dads&things did not faithfully track daily page view trends bothered me all that much.  There was at least a hint that all data series related to the same website and the traffic it receives.

It rattled me that, on 2019 02 11, in spite of an enormously increased volume of traffic to the blog, there began a sudden, steep, downward departure of website rank that shows, as of now, no sign of letting up.

Obviously, thousands of hours of hard work to achieve good SEO, using the best tool I had been able to find for doing it with, Yoast SEO Premium, had been to no avail.  Not only was the enormous rate of growth in daily page views not reflected in traffic data produced by Google Analytics for WordPress and for GADWP.  If anything, the Google Analytics data showed ever more decline in traffic, the more the traffic increased.  At least there is method in that madness.

There was no method I could discern in the madness and absolute irrationality of  the sudden departure from a web ranking trend that had corresponded at least somewhat with the extent of SEO I had been doing and the annual doubling of traffic it had achieved or at least substantially contributed to.

I searched for information that would explain the puzzle and, after a few days, found nothing.  As a last resort, I posted my help request, to Facebook:

March 15, 2019

Can you help with giving some advice? For anyone who has some experience with running a website or blog, that may be easy, especially for someone who knows something about SEO.

Please, have a look at the appended graph. It displays an obvious problem for which there may be an obvious solution. I have some ideas on what may be causing the problem. It seems unlikely that the problem is caused by faulty SEO. The latter is up-to-par for the blog.

What is the first thought that comes to your mind, when you look at the sudden downturn in ranking, while the daily number of page views keeps slowly going up?

Note: The large disparity between the number of daily page views per Google Analytics and as per 1&1.com (the web-host provider) is due to Google Analytics apparently analyzing only visits directed through search engines. Search engine traffic to the blog is very low (presently about 1.7% of traffic). That is off-set by a very large portion (close to 80%) of traffic coming to the blog direct.

The ensuing discussion

Sure enough, I soon had a response (only one, in total, and that shows how much things changed since the advent of the social media, as in the days of e-mail discussion forums there would have been many more people willing to offer tips and advice):

March 18, 2019: Tommy Wennerstierna: seo-hacker.com

A Closer Look into the Google January 2019 Algorithm Update

A Closer Look into the Google January 2019 Algorithm Update

and

March 18, 2019: Tommy Wennerstierna: seo-hacker.com

Google Launches March 2019 Broad Core Algorithm Update

The January release of Google Algorithms most likely did have an influence by causing the sharp down-turn in web rank for dads&things, while the March release should not have had an impact beginning February 11, 2019, when the down-turn of the web rank had its start.  I had a quick look at the two articles, and discussed my impressions with Tommy.

Walter H. Schneider:Tommy Wennerstierna, Thanks for that. I will investigate that a little more closely, especially this part: “Updating older content is also effective, as they would be able to recapture traffic, and become an evergreen source of content that users would come back to.” That is exactly what I have been doing for the past year, as part of my effort to spruce up search engine optimization (SEO), upgrading older content. That involved fixing a lot of broken links, such as finding new locations or making an effort to locate copies of articles I had linked to, copies on the Internet Archive.

I can safely say that I edited all of the articles on my blog (except for 17 that I still have to do), close to about 980 articles.

What I don’t understand, though, is that I slowed down with doing that, lately. If Google penalized me with their January Algorithm update, why did I not see a more marked change in page ranking before the [11th] of February this year? That is when the downturn in ranking began in earnest, contrary to a steadily growing number of visitors and page views. Don’t answer that. It is just a rhetorical question.

Here is something else that may or should interest you. I am using Yoast SEO. I like it, because it permits me to format new and old article a bit better. It bother me more than a little that Yoast SEO caters to Google’s standards. Particularly[, in relation to]  composition of writing, e.g.:

  • Not enough passive voice is bad,
  • Too much passive voice is bad,
  • The best ranking is for the correct percentage of sentences that use passive voice.

There are similar constraints for sentence length, reading difficulty, paragraph length, frequency of identifying headings, use of images, although I am not aware of a recommended constraint. There’s a large body of reading required to get the hang of all of that. There is even a specification for the minimum length of the text of an article (about 250 to 300 words).

That bothers me very much. Why the Hell does Google reward articles whose intellectual content has been dumbed-down with a high page rank and punishes articles that have a high level of intellectual content? What happened to the free market system in relation to such things, to having supply and demand determine what sort of things people prefer? Google has no business controlling such things and steering them into a direction that is to their liking. That is a form of brainwashing.

If someone wishes to appeal to intellectuals, his articles [receive] a lower ranking than articles that are appeal to morons. Stupidity is rewarded and excellence punished. That is very seriously wrong and worrying, especially given the fact that I have not read anything by anyone that comes close to criticizing Google’s role in dumbing-down intellectual discourse.

Google has, of course, reasons for doing that. They do not publish their algorithms, but a large number of Google’s employees is hard at work constructing algorithms that will enable their machines to comprehend text. Complicated sentences are not conducive to achieving that. Complicated sentences are, among other things, ways to work around censorship algorithms and can, for instance with Facebook, be used to work around some algorithms that[, otherwise,] land people in FB jail.

[The good side of censorship]

Tommy Wennerstierna: Intellect is an odd asset nowadays

Tommy Wennerstierna: And censorship is a real thing

Tommy Wennerstierna: Google have destroyed access to Breitbart deliberately in order to defund them and make their content inaccessible. There is no threshold barring them from adding political bias into their algos.

Walter H. Schneider: Tommy Wennerstierna, re: “Intellect is an odd asset nowadays”

Not so much odd as it is being *deprecated* by Google, Facebook, and anyone else collaborating with intensifying the Tsunami of censorship that has been launched and is coming our way. There is a good side to it all.

Even though a very, very low percentage of the traffic to my blog is being directed by search engines (1.7%), the total traffic volume is nevertheless increasing. Close to 80 percent of traffic comes through direct links, and more than a 1000 websites have links to my blog. There are close to 50,000 links to my blog [and website].

The large volume of traffic they bring is of a very high quality. The average session lasts for close to one hour and involves an average of 20 page views and has a very low bounce rate.

  • Bounce Rate: 13.1%
  • Daily Pageviews per Visitor: 20
  • Daily Time on Site: 49′:39”

In comparison, a “normal” blog receives about two-thirds of its traffic through search engines.

  • Bounce Rate: 86.4%
  • Daily Pageviews per Visitor: 1.1
  • Daily Time on Site: 1′:48”

I have to start tracking those statistics to better understand them, and to see whether the number of links coming in is increasing over time.

Tentatively, I am inclined to guess that I am witnessing a new form of samizdat. It is very time-consuming to track that, for which reason I do not wish to keep track of a running comparison between my blog and blogs that are not being punished. For now, I will track only stats for my blog.

As of now, I have not been able to get an impression of how the March release of Google Algorithms may have affected the rank of dads&things, but I had a quick look at the article.  We discussed my first impressions.

Walter H. Schneider: Tommy Wennerstierna, I will look at that more closely and assess what Google is after.

Here is something of interest: “The latest edition of the Quality Raters Guidelines has been updated with many references to “E-A-T,” which stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.” In many places in the document, the phrase “high-quality” has been replaced with “high E-A-T.”

https://compose.ly/…/google-eat-algorithm-update…/

It will probably take a few hours of reading and trying to comprehend that. Nevertheless, I seem to be on the right track with what I stated in my comment relating to the first of the last two links you had sent, e g.:

“That bothers me very much. Why the Hell does Google reward articles whose intellectual content has been dumbed-down with a high page rank and punishes articles that have a high level of intellectual content? What happened to the free market system in relation to such things, to having supply and demand determine what sort of things people prefer? Google has no business controlling such things and steering them into a direction that is to their liking. That is a form of brainwashing.”

How Google’s E-A-T Algorithm Update Affects Your Content Strategy

Tommy Wennerstierna: Aka political bias and censoring

Tommy Wennerstierna: HAL knows how you think, and he may not like it.

Tommy Wennerstierna: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAL_9000

Walter H. Schneider: I’ve got to go back to bed and get some more sleep, again, thanks for those links.

Walter H. Schneider: Just one last thing (I can’t resist drawing your attention to it):

“It’s also important to note that E-A-T applies to all websites and topics, not only those that deal with serious or life-altering issues. Due to their solid industry reputation, even gossipmongers such as TMZ and Perez Hilton can be considered “experts” in celebrity news. Fields such as fashion and humor also have experts whose content should be prioritized according to the E-A-T standards.”

https://compose.ly/…/google-eat-algorithm-update…/

Anyway, I’ve got to sleep on it first.

Tommy Wennerstierna: btw. Bing have 30% of the global searches thru agreements with Yahoo and others

Walter H. Schneider: Tommy Wennerstierna, I don’t quite see how “Yahoo and others” can determine what portion of global searches go to Bing. The choice of a specific search engine is about the only thing in the scope of a search that an Internet user has any influence over, given that he has no control over whether something he is looking for will be at the top of or lower down on a search return list. Mind you, the smart Internet user has an extensive and detailed index of bookmarks and avoids the use of search engines as much as possible.

[Comparing search engines]

My blog has an independent, site-specific search engine, FreeFind. As far as I can tell, it has no pronounced search-engine bias. It indexes and searches all of my blog and website. It also can search all of the web. https://search.freefind.com/

Some time ago I made a comparison of the quality of some popular search engines. I should redo that comparison, but have a look at what I determined:

«««
So, how well do those search engines identified above perform with the ranking of web pages at Fathers for Life when doing a general search of the Web for the term fatherlessness? Websites that mention the search term often and on many web pages should obviously rank high on a given search-return list. With respect to the term fatherlessness, the website of Fathers for Life should always be listed as one of the first few entries on such a list. If there are many websites that use the term fatherlessness, then the list of entries on the search return list should be long.

  • FreeFind: #2 of 690 entries on the list of results. More…
  • Duck Duck Go: #2 of 178 entries on the list of results. More…
  • Bing: #3 of 813 entries on the list of results. More…
  • Ask: #111 of 129 entries on the list of results; More…
  • Google: #202 out of 297 entries on the list of results. More…

Note: The first try of that search, using Google, provided 491 results but no hits for Fathers for Life. The second try, a few hours later, produced the result indicated, #202 on a list of 297 entries. The third try, about four hours later, produced no hits for Fathers for Life on a list of 295 entries on the search return list. What good is a search engine that does not produce consistent results?
»»»
Source: “Search-engine censorship, socialism, ant hills, and female supremacism”
Posted on August 12, 2008
Last Update: May 9, 2018
https://blog.fathersforlife.org/…/search-engine…/

Tommy Wennerstierna: Things have changed. I was wrong. Old number. https://www.statista.com/…/worldwide-market-share-of…/

Walter H. Schneider: My concern, wrt your original statement, is that I don’t think that the respective market shares that search engines have cannot be determined through an agreement between search-engine providers. They are determined by consumer choice and marketing strategies.

The remarkable aspect of Google’s first rank is that it reached and retains first place, in spite of its constantly declining product quality and value. That shows the power of advertising and the extent of the gullibility of the majority of the consumers.

I use anything but Google for searching. Google Search is simply and plainly *far* too unreliable to be worth using for searches.

Aside from that, I will set out to repeat and update my comparison of search engine performance. I’ll let you know about the results, later today.

Walter H. Schneider: Tommy Wennerstierna, here is the promised change to the search engine comparison:

Updated 2019 03 18: Added links to related articles and revised search engine comparison tables to include 2019 03 18 search results. The information may help you to decide why you should prefer some search engines over others. This link will take you right to the key change: https://blog.fathersforlife.org/…/search-engine…/…

Continued in next part:
Page Rank vs Page Reach – Which is more important?


#Censorship #MediaBias #SearchEngineOptimization #SEO

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