Convergence - 7:36 pm on Apr 12, 2013 (gmt 0) [edited by: Convergence at 7:58 pm (utc) on Apr 12, 2013]
So overall traffic continue to rise without a slap back down to your usual levels after the initial boost? This means the more pages you have the higher your traffic will be! This is different compared to my information site where my new pages receive ranking / traffic while my overall site's traffic remains steady. The "winner" or "fresh" pages of my site sucks google inbound traffic from my older pages. Then once the "freshness" boost ends, the traffic returns to my older pages. Which kinda killed my motivation to add new content onto the site.
Hard to explain. The way our site is constructed each "niche" or "main category" is it's own entity and the Google treats each as such. If we add to an existing category, traffic goes up slowly, not really a surge. The Google takes it's time crawling and adding pages to the SERPs.
When we add a new niche/category, it becomes a crap shoot based on what is going on with the Google. Was much easier when "Weather Reports" were announced - also there were patterns leading up to a major algo adjustment that made it somewhat easier to "plan". Normally, that new category would instantly be crawled and shown in the SERPs - traffic would fly through the roof for that category. A surge. But last December this changed. New category was crawled, pages showed up in the SERPs - NO traffic. But 120 days, to the day, traffic took off. Lasted 2 weeks and 4 hours - exactly. Then ALL our categories took a hit. Last Friday at 11:04EST. Now we're seeing the biggest crawl by the Google I have ever seen in 15 years of being online. Thousands and thousands of pages an hour. 30K new pages in the SERPs since last Friday. Climbing daily. Traffic increase? NONE. The traffic we are seeing are merchants/brands that we recently added (past month or so). Our "old" bread and butter pages seem to have dried up.
Are your pages automatically generated with prices pulling in from different websites? Or you manually go through the databases? In my mind with price comparison, you compare a couple of widgets together right? So that widget page A compare Widget A, B, and C. And widget page B compare Widget B, A, C. Does this entail multiple pages (URL) with same information, but only "order" or "layout" differences?
Entire site is automated/dynamic. Only the initial merchant's datafeed prep involves manual intervention. If Widget A,B,C, are being compared (exact match) then only ONE page is shown. there is duplication in the sitemaps, but live only the one page is shown. The Google chooses one of the URLs from the duplicates to index. The rest are merely crawled. Items that are similar to the item being compared are offered as well.
How about user metrics? Do the users typically have instantly bounces or they continue to compare more prices with different items? Do many of your pages never receive any traffic at all? It seems that with exact match in mind, many pages probably receive no traffic at all on some days. (unless they search for that exact term).
"Bounce" is tricky to judge. A high bounce rate we like. In from the SERPs - out to a merchant. When we start seeing visitors spending too much time on the site, it means they didn't find what they came for, usually from a deleted product (404). This happens in surges as well. We'll see a spike in 404 errors. Then we'll see the Google come in do heavy crawling, traffic drops, SERPs get cleaned up, traffic returns.
Yes, MANY pages receive no traffic at all. Mostly because most merchants/brands aren't being shopped. Bigger the merchant/brand, more traffic we get to their products. Smaller the merchant/brand, the less frequent their products get shopped.
Has any of the google updates affected you in the past?
Oh hell yes - going back to Florida, LOL. But that wasn't on this site. The last spank was Mid-September's combined algo rollout. Again, lost 95% of our traffic overnight. Traffic started climbing upwards but never returned to Pre-September levels. We just accepted we were in direct competition with the Google Shopping and that is that.
But last Friday's traffic drop - really has us worried. It wasn't just a leveling out of a new category - it was across the board. Again...
[edited by: Convergence at 7:58 pm (utc) on Apr 12, 2013]