When Google introduced Search Plus Your World, many were worried that this would negatively effect social networks outside of Google Plus. To be sure, there was bias towards Google + in Search Plus Your World when users saw results such as Mark Zuckerberg’s unused G+ page showing up when they ran a search for “Facebook”. When Page Lever ran some numbers to see if Search Plus Your World was effecting Facebook at all, they found some interesting results.
Not only had Facebook seen a drop in traffic from Google, but it was an incredible 51% drop. However, it appeared to be a completely separate instance from the premiere of Search Plus Your World. While Facebook saw a remarkable drop in traffic from Google, it was also seeing a drop in traffic from Bing, who obviously has no reason to favor G+ over other social networks. On top of this, it appears that the drop in traffic from Google began three days before Search Plus Your World was even implemented.
Page Lever adds a Caveat:
A couple of caveats:
To be clear: Referral traffic started dropping on January 7th. Google didn’t roll out “Search + Your World” until the 10th of January.
These pageview counts are only comparable within this dataset to see relative changes–ie, Bing vs Google, and the trend over time. If you want to compare your Facebook page, you should compare relative changes, not the total pageview count of traffic from search engines. Let me repeat, you should compare the relative difference between Google and Bing for your fan page and this dataset or between the change over time for your fan page versus this dataset, but not the raw pageview count.
I’m measuring SEO traffic that is reported by Facebook in their list of external referrals for the day. This does not account for pageviews that come from internal referrals such as people searching from within Facebook. Additionally, the numbers reported by Facebook for internal plus external referring sources rarely adds up to the number reported by Facebook for total-unique-pageviews for the Fan page that day.
You may noticed that there are several large spikes in the graph. I don’t know what caused it, but my hypothesis is a search term started to trend and several of the Facebook Pages in our data set ranked well for it, temporarily spiking the traffic. It’s still unclear why Bing’s referral traffic would so closely mirror Google’s traffic.
For those interested in seasonality, I did check the data going back to August 2010, but found no seasonality at any point during the year. Instead, it was erratic and spiky–I chose not to graph that data because it just made the graph difficult to read.
Read More here.