Google is no longer our best friend. StumbleUpon is our BFF.
Google was always the biggest source of traffic for this website. But around the beginning of March of this year, we suddenly lost a big slice of our traffic.
It was a couple of weeks after the Panda update, and coincided with our last redesign. We still don’t know the cause, and it still hasn’t recovered, although we believe we’re publishing better content than ever.
The graph below shows our total traffic (blue line) from December 2007 through to the present day (8 September 2011).
The pink line below is Google. See how closely it tracks the total traffic (the blue line), until the dip in March of this year.
StumbleUpon, We Want to Have Your Babies
But what we lost from Google, we’ve gained from our new favourite friend – StumbleUpon – the orange line!
We got a bump in June 2010 (that first orange hump). Since then, we’ve done more to promote all social linking on the site. Did you notice the buttons at the top of the page? Don’t worry, there are more a bit lower down, so you can “like” this page there too.
This week is our busiest ever, in terms of visits. StumbleUpon traffic has hit an all-time high, with 33,000 visits – and there are still over 48 hours to go!
Now, I have to say that stumbling traffic isn’t the same as organic search traffic. When we get these “SUrges”, our average time on site and pages per visit metrics do drop, but it can all help to build awareness and exposure.
Web Site Owners, Get Social!
If you own a website, you need a really good reason not to include social buttons, so that people can tweet an article, “like” it on Facebook or Google+, add it to delicious or StumbleUpon, or add it to digg and Reddit.
There’s a big difference between these types of recommendation buttons and the “follow us on Facebook/Twitter” social links. They may also help, but they can’t cause spikes like these.