Saturday, July 16, 2011

Falling Web Traffic And Long Term Goals

Picture of a man free falling from a very high altitude in a stock photo metaphor for adversity, challenge and failure.
A businessman falling from a very high altitude is a stock photo metaphor for loss and adversity...and my falling Internet traffic!

Steady Progress And Plunging Traffic
As of last month I was hitting an average of 1,500 unique visitors a day to my web site. Not bad. Nowhere near my goal, but steady progress nonetheless. Of course, that was last month. Three weeks ago my traffic plunged to about 700 a day. Yikes!
Since then I have crawled back up to about 900 a day…where it seems to have leveled off.

The Panda Slap
What happened? When these dramatic fluctuations in traffic happen nobody really knows what the cause is…the from what I can figure out it is probably related to Google’s Panda release…their latest tweak of their search algorithm.  Some SEO types are calling such a traffic drop the “Panda Slap”. The apparent intent by Google was to, well, in the words of Matt Cutts, one of the engineers of “Panda”:

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

Collateral Damage, Discouragement and Long Term Goals
Of course, anytime Google tweaks things there is collateral damage, of which I am apparently included in. I have to admit, it is really discouraging to work my butt off for almost three years and then overnight see a fifty-percent drop in my search engine traffic! Arrrgh. I keep reminding myself that this is the time to not get discourage and keep on plugging away.  It is the long-term goal that is important. It helps to see that I am still make sales over the internet and still making revenue from online advertising, albeit a tad less than a month ago.

Rejection and Determination
As photographers we all have had to deal with rejection on almost a daily basis. How many times do you show your book versus how often you get the assignment? How many people view your stock images before you license one? It seems as photographers we have chosen a life of rejection and set backs, and those of us who ultimately reach our goals have developed a thick skin and a determination to dig a little deeper, go a little further, and, by god, get the job done!

An Insane Goal And Finding Enjoyment
In fact, in the middle of my discouragement, I am feeling a resolve, a determination to reach my insane goal of getting twenty thousand visitors a day to my site. The resolve actually feels stronger than before…like I have something to prove. I can do this! The trick here is to let go of my irritation and anxiety, accept that this is a marathon and not a sprint, and actually develop a mindset where I get enjoyment  from all the little tasks that will eventually get me to my goal. Those tasks range from adding more content to improving the content already on my site (reviewing, correcting and adding to the text on my pages), to continuing my effort at sharing my photography experience and work on this blog.

A Little Help From The Like Button
One of the many suggestions I have found on the net for dealing with the dreaded “Panda Slap” is to pay attention to social media since Google is now telling us that take such things as “likes” are definitely included in their site evaluations. Hey, you can help me…just click that little “like” button at the top of this blog! Thanks! Now its’ off to spend some time improving my early photo descriptions and metadata…I am SO looking forward to that.


Jaak Nilson said...

It is a summertime. People do not spend so much time in internet. It is an one reason too.

John Lund said...


Interesting thought, but my fall-off happened suddenly in just a couple of days. Well, whatever the reason, I am just going to keep on plugging away!