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I started this thread to collect anecdotal information and see if there was anything worth testing.
I checked the Alexa reach of some major sites (hope it is reliable with these volumes):
"Google's" overall traffic is down ~5% (1 month comparison) while last year's drop in April was less.
"Facebook.com's" traffic is down ~4%, while last year there was no drop in April.
"Wikipedia.org's" traffic is down ~6.7%, while last year's decline seems less.
"Amazon.com" is UP 12.7% (last year there was a drop)...
"Ebay" down 6%.
The changes start towards the end of March.
So, while Amazon's, Ebay's and Wikipedia's changes are probably a result of an update (changes are too sharp), I still wonder why Google's and Facebook's own traffic went slowly down beyond seasonal?
I don't think it is about user behavior in this case, because the increase of 12% at Amazon happened within 2-3 days, around March 25. It is too sharp and it correlates to the Panda update in March. I know it is annoying to see auto-generated content at the top, but let's not forget: it is still Amazon.
However, we have to focus on what seems to have started on 4/1 or 4/15.
Again, I have to say that looking at the "Alexa-Reach" drop of Google and Facebook and comparing it to the drop I have experienced (drop in direct and referring traffic similar to SE traffic (!) ) I think that it is not only SERP related...
Unfortunately their year on year earnings growth show they are still king of the hill.
That's why I'm trying to figure this out. If it's the start of a trend, we need to get ahead of it.I suspect that as with me he has had this concern for years or he wouldn't have Google traffic at 30-50% of his total.
I feel Facebook is a much larger threat than Google. Not only because it only searches internally, but also due to the fact that it is a lot more aggressive in ensuring its dominance and stickiness is maintained!
Perhaps this should have been entitled "is google loosing dominance in smartphones search" @Leosghost?
The fact is like it or not Google are the dominant factor in all markets.
Google's preference to display Wikipedia, Amazon and other big brands may be accelerating advanced search behavior. Savvy surfers are learning to bypass Google to go directly to the source, rely on their friends advice or are simply going somewhere else to conduct their searches where diversity is king.
A clearer picture post 4/15 is that search behavior changed for a time. We can now see it clearly through other channels. Yet the return to normal business was faster with bing. Bing is also picking up new pages faster. Alternate referrers are increasing. Comparison engines are way up. I think this is the first time I can say in our vertical user behavior may be changing.