This January Google launched “Search Plus Your World (SPYW),” a service that drastically customized search results based on social connections while bolstering visibility of Google+ products. While the new changes absolutely increased visibility for Google+, there was concern that SPYW would negatively affect other social networks. Five months into the SPYW, traffic to Facebook Pages is down. However, it’s also down from Bing, suggesting that SPYW isn’t to blame.
PageLever, a Facebook analytics company, uncovered a significant drop in traffic post SPYW launch. The company studied 500 fan pages with a minimum of 10,000 fans, looking at external referrals from Bing and Google. Internal Facebook referrals and searches did not play a factor in the data. The overall results show that Google traffic to Facebook pages has dropped 51%:
Before the Search Plus Your World launch, Google drove 9.25% of the external traffic to Facebook pages. After the SPYW launch, that percentage of Google referrals was down to just 4.52%.
Surprisingly, the numbers were down on Bing as well, dropping 59% year over year. For Bing to also drop suggests there’s some issue with Facebook getting traffic in general from the major search engines, not that SPYW is to blame.
NOTE: Previously we’d headlined this story “Google Sending 51% Less Traffic To Facebook Pages Since “Search Plus Your World” Launch; Bing Drops, Too” but looking further at the data, and after some follow-up with PageLever, the Bing drop makes the SPYW connection seem less likely. So, we’ve changed our headline and qualified the lead further.
The takeaway if that Facebook Pages seem to getting less traffic from both Google and Bing, but why exactly is unclear.
NOTE 2: PageLever has checked further, and the fall in traffic from Google and Bing began on January 7, not January 10, when Search Plus Your World was launched. It has since updated its post to reflect this. So, this drop definitely seems unrelated to SPYW.
A few large unattributed spikes do show on both Bing and Google as well.
Quantcast numbers do show a aggregate drop in Facebook’s overall traffic since January, but does also show a slight peak in late February (near the launch of the official fMC event):
For a full report and statistics, see PageLever.