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So, I've been using my newly-acquired privilege to see site analytics.

Around about May 20, 2014, there is a precipitous drop in site visits and page views. We went from ~70,000 visits per weekday down ~39,000 visits per weekday. "New visits" and "page views" followed suit.

There is no corresponding dip in posts or votes, so the site was just as active.

Was this a tweak to Google's vaunted algorithm? (That's where the vast majority of traffic comes from. 1) If so, wouldn't there be a similar dip throughout Stack Exchange? Or could it be one (or more) scrapers got taken offline?


1 As of last month, 92% of traffic comes from search engines, and Google accounts for 96% of search engine referrals.

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This was the result of Google algorithm update, specifically Panda 4.0 rollout on May 21, 2014. Some SE sites benefited from it, some lost traffic, some were not affected in any noticeable way. Web Apps was hit the hardest among the SE sites. See

  • I wonder why Web Apps was hit so badly. Or, perhaps a better question might be why was Web Apps doing so well before? – ale Nov 25 '15 at 20:27
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    That I can't know. The site competes for attention with Google's own product support forums. It's possible that the revised algorithm tipped the page rank in favor of those. What factors go into the algorithm, nobody really knows. – user79865 Nov 25 '15 at 20:29
  • That might be it. In a search for "remove tab stop from google doc" my SEO-friendly question comes in low on the front page behind several links to productforums.google.com, support.google.com, youtube.com, googledrive.blogspot.com, then the non-Google properties of gcflearnfree.com, steegle.com, and techrepublic.com. (Granted, those are all quite a bit older than my post.) – ale Nov 25 '15 at 20:35
  • Is there a trustable timeline of all major Google algorithm updates? – Nemo Dec 4 '15 at 23:23
  • @Nemo I don't know; this is something closer to Webmasters – user79865 Dec 4 '15 at 23:31

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