I’ve noticed a weird phenomenon on my stats tracking: a precipitous decline in the number of hits via Google. Really no big deal–they were always a small part of my traffic and likely didn’t generate much in the way of repeat business–but it strikes me as curious.

Stats from HostingMatters:

April 2003 (9th-EOM)
Google: 354
Yahoo: 142
MSN: 128
AOL: 16

May 2003 (full)
Yahoo: 268
MSN: 174
Google: 20
Dogpile: 16

June 2003 (1st-12th)
Yahoo: 113
MSN: 49
Google: 11
Ask Jeeves: 11

Google is easily the most popular search tool, as illustrated by the April stats. But, since April, I’m getting the same traffic from Google as I’m getting from places like Dogpile and Ask Jeeves, whereas my MSN and Yahoo stats are staying relatively level. And there doesn’t seem to be any real difference in the search strings that would account for this variation. Indeed, the weird “Destiny Stahl nude” stuff was mainly in May.

Any clues as to what would cause this?

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jay Solo says:

    Weren’t they allegedly eliminating blogs from their standard, default searches, because we were polluting things and making it harder to get “real” sites? Perhaps it’s because that process has started?

  2. joy says:

    No, they are keeping blogs, it has been confirmed. That was a meme that got picked up and promoted by folks who kinda sorta don’t like google.

  3. jen says:

    Are people not Googling as much?

  4. Ursula says:

    ARe you sure google is still keeping blogs? My site (Ursula’s not so secret History) use to be on first page close to top of list when you ran a search on “ursula.” Now it’s not even on the first five pages.

  5. joy says:

    Yes, I’m sure. In fact, a spokesperson from Google confirmed this at that jupiter blog conference that none of us lesser bloggers were invited to earlier this week.

    Also, anectdotally, my google stats are stronger than ever, but I sometimes write straight tech stuff which is what is getting linked (also that and french military victories).

    Here’s a bit of advice, do not get caught in the trap of worrying about google rank. They frequently change their algorithms, and what might have happened last month won’t happen this month. Google rank is not a dependable indicator of anything.

  6. Hm. How about a vast Google/Blogger conspiracy to marginalize blogs that don’t use Blogger (since Google owns Blogger)?