Ralph_Slate - 12:54 am on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)
Yes tedster, sorry, it should be 2012.
I hear what you're saying about plus or minus 5%, but I was trending +45% over Jan 2012, +25% over Feb 2012, and +35% over Mar 2012. A 5% drop in Apr 2013 is more significant when you compare to +35% trend in March - it is like a -40%.
Keyword analysis is hard because a my traffic has two components; long-tail and sports figures who become newsworthy (maybe because of a trade or a big performance). It is very hard to perform analysis on the long-tail queries because each term is too sporadic to have a pattern. It is very hard to perform analysis on the top performers because the traffic is tied to external publicity that the player receives and this is too variable.
I have been trying to define segments of visitors in Analytics to try and see what has changed, but I haven't hit on anything major yet except what appears to be a general 10% drop from Google. For example, I defined a two-part segment (defined as a particular page and with a source of Google) and compare last week to the first week in March, and then I change it to exclude the source of Google (i.e. it is effectively "Not Google") and I'm seeing some differences.
I'm hoping someone has a good Analytics technique they can share.
Since my site is well established, the Google impact is clouded by direct traffic and other referrers. What puzzles me is that even when I had the penalty applied, the percentage of organic/direct/referral was similar - about 60-65% organic, 22-25% direct, and 10-15% referral. There was a small shift, from 15% to 10%, when my penalty was lifted, but despite my traffic ranging from 40k uniques to 120k uniques on various days, the percentages don't move much at all. I find that really weird.