Search Engine Referrals To Facebook Pages Halved

By Julie D. Andrews 

In January, Google released its Search Plus Your World, which was built to customize results to social networks, as well as to highlight Google Plus. Fears swirled among competing social networks, Facebook among them, that the search-engine giant had aims of boosting its own social network while limiting traffic to others.

Appearing less often in search results on the site most Americans consult to find things would mean less traffic arriving to Facebook pages courtesy of Google.

Now, five months post-launch, Facebook analytics company PageLever examined the impact Search Plus Your World has had on traffic referrals and reported the results.

When PageLever analyzed external referrals from Bing and Google across 500 Facebook pages, each with at least 10,000 likes, it found that traffic referred from Google had dropped by 51 percent and that traffic referred from Bing had dropped by an even more substantial 59 percent year over year, Search Engine Land reported.

Before the launch of Search Plus Your World, Google led 9.25 percent of external traffic to Facebook pages, compared with 4.52 percent post-launch.

This put to bed a theory that the launch of Search Plus Your World alone was to blame for the dip in referrals from search, and potentially raised a question of whether the search engines are in cahoots.

PageLever Co-Founder Jeff Widman told CNET Google’s referral traffic to Facebook actually began to mysteriously fall off three days before the Jan. 10 launch of Search Plus Your World, saying:

Referral traffic from both Google and Bing to Facebook pages started dropping Jan. 7. That’s three days before Google rolled out SPYW. The timing is certainly suspicious.

So, in general, Facebook is getting less traffic from search engines. As for who is pulling the puppet strings, it’s still anyone’s conjecture.

Readers: Do you think the fall-off in traffic to Facebook pages from Google and Bing is a result of Search Plus Your World, or is something else going on?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.