Recently we had the opportunity to promote a website through some social media bookmarking which turned out to be an interesting example that displays how Google gives usage data heavy weight in their organic rankings (especially for new, hot content).

The site we promoted is brand new, just published a few weeks ago and we had not previously performed any marketing activities – so the site was getting just about zero traffic, according to Google analytics. 

  • We published an article on the site and pushed it to the front page of Digg, sending over 13,000 visits on day one
  • Day two showed just over 1,100 visits
  • Day three just over 170, etc.

In short, the site experienced a huge spike in traffic.  The really interesting part was that Google’s reported organic traffic correlated very closely to the total traffic spike (sent mostly by Digg):

  • we got around 1,000 organic visits on day one
  • around 350 organic visits on day two
  • 63 day three, etc.

The above illustration gives a pretty striking correlation between total traffic and Google organic traffic recorded.

At the same time, MSN and Yahoo didn’t report any organic search referrals (it’s no wonder their respective market shares are lower as it appears they have inferior spidering technology).  You also might now be thinking Google’s recent "brand’ updates have something to do with this correlation we’re seeing.

Taking it a step further…

I’d be interested to see a similar traffic spike test without Google’s analytics (GA) installed on a new website to see if Google would still be able to monitor and adjust their rankings accordingly.  In that case Google might not pick up the traffic spike and if a ranking shift did not occur we’d have a smoking gun on whether or not GA is responsible for transmitting usage data that effects organic rankings).


Your email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Longhand • 10 years ago

Have You checked keyword trends in the growth of organic traffic? Peoples get started to search to your sitename and to the title of the topic subscribed to digg via Google, it's a typical thing.

Read More

Mike Shannon • 10 years ago

Not sure I fully understand.  Are you saying people will search Google with keywords similar to new, front page Digg stories?  If that's the case I can see that happening, it might be a reason for the spike in organic traffic and not just Google giving weight to usage data.  I can't wait though to test this out on sites that don't use GA :)

Read More

Pete • 10 years ago

Is it possible that being on the front page of Digg, rather than the visits from Digg, drove the rankings and google traffic? So although there is correlation with traffic, perhaps there is alternate causality for the search engine rankings and subsequent traffic - the linkjuice from Digg?

Read More

Mike Shannon • 10 years ago

I think you're right, Digg's front page probably sends a lot of link equity and gives a temporary boost in rankings for sites listed (until they drop off the front page).  I suppose you could also make the connection that the amount of "link juice" a site is able to send out can be based on, in part, user activity wheather GA tracks it or click throughs from the search results signal it or something else... once we do more testing we may have a better idea on what creates the apparent correlation.

In any case, it's good to be listed on Digg for organic puporses :)

Read More

increase website traffic • 10 years ago

social bookmark sites definitely gives you good traffic. You have to make sure that you use dofollow sites to help with backlinks in google

Read More

Other posts you will enjoy...

RelationEdge Announces the Acquisition of Main Path Marketing and Launch of a Full-Service Marketing Cloud Practice
Twitter Moments – Should They Be a Part of Your Social Media Strategy?
Developing a Plan for Social Live Video
4 Common Email Problems and How to Solve Them