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Troy

Google Search May be Fickle but They are Finally Getting it Right...

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...at least for now. 

 

The graph below shows AALBC.com's bounce rate (the percentage of people who come to the website and only view one page) versus page views (the number of pages viewed by the site's visitors.

 

A site's bounce rate (shown in dark blue and shaded) is a good indicator of how engaged a site's visitors are with the ste.  The lower the percentage the better.  Page views (shown in light blue) is also also a great indicator of how engaged visitors are with a website.  Obviously, the more pages a visitor views the more engaged they are; the higher the number the better. There are other important indicators like how frequently a visitor comes back to a site and how long they stay when they visit.

 

There have been three dramatic and significant swings in AALBC.com's bounce rate this year; early April, mid May, and late June.  Whenever you see a dramatic and abrupt change in a major data point like bounce rate, that is usually an indication of a Google algorithm change (the formula Google uses to rank sites in search engine results).  Now Google does not announce when they are making algorithm changes and what the changes will be, but any webmaster worth their salt will notice.

Google_algorithm_changes.jpg

 

The mid May change (about May 17th, indicated by the red B) was picked up by other webmasters, as I've seen conversations on various message boards.  AALBC.com's site was adversely impacted by this change.  There is usually a direct correlation between a site's bounce rate and the number of page views (assuming there isn't also a substantial change n the number of visitors).  In other words, as the bounce rate goes up the pages views go down.  

 

In AALBC.com's case, from about May 17 until June 21, there was a significant drop in the number of pages views on our site.  Now of course everything is relative, because the site's pages views for June 2017 is the higher than it has ever been for the same period in any previous year. Still it was cause for concern.

 

Google's axe cuts both ways. As you can see at point the opposite happened, Google flipped their algorithm switch and AALBC saw an increase in traffic, similarly, around June 21st point C, Google completely reversed the change it made a month earlier, and AALBC.com has enjoyed the lowest bounce rates it has every seen--single digit bounce rates!

 

Now it has been two full months since Google has impacted AALBC.com with a major algorithm change, and the the last change was more than corrected for the adverse change in May.

 

Now all I've done so far is describe what happened.  An obvious question is; what can I do about it? 

 

The only answer, while Google dominates search, is to adhere to Google's rules for search engine optimization.  The top rule is to create a site that visitors will find valuable. All you can really do after that is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

 

Seriously, I've spent the better part of the last two years greatly improving the website, not just for visitors, but to also satisfy, Google's fickle search engine algorithm.  I've also tried to help people understand that if they do find the site valuable they must actively support it. One way to do this is by sharing any content they find valuable with others. I also recently created a bestselling book seal to help authors, more easily share their bestseller status while and the same time supporting the website. 

 

The fact is, AALBC.com survives at the whim of Google's search engine, and this is not a good position to be in, which is why I'm appealing directly to people.

 

Today Google is doing a better job with search.  They are sending more people to AALBC.com that are finding our content valuable, as evidenced by record low bounce rates over a sustained period of time. This is how a great search engine works.

 

But Google is not perfect; they frequently make changes and later reverse those changes materially hurting business in the interim.  Google is still front running search results to book sites with their own products

 

October 2017 will mark 20 years since I started creating AALBC.com.  This was even before Google's search engine launched. Let hope 20 years from now, there are still indie websites able to reach an audience.

 

 

 

Google_continuing_to_play_games.png

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Google changes on whim. Thank God for Facebook and other social media. Social media is definitely the friend of Black bloggers. The most important thing we have as black bloggers at our disposal is networking. Most website algorithms do not work primarily in our best interests. And because Black people do the least social networking even though studies indicate that we give the internet the most considerable amount of attention, it is clear that we are using the internet in the wrong way. This is why white people can create Black oriented websites and attract considerably more than average Black bloggers. They network and cooperate with each other better than we do.

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@NubianFellow, I agree with your assessment almost completely.  The most powerful point you made is that; "we are using the internet in the wrong way."  

 

I can go on for hours about how we are using the Internet in the wrong way and why Black oriented websites owned by Black people choke on the dust of the white owned Black oriented sites. It is frustrating to constantly read how Black people over index on our use of Twitter and other social media, without sharing in all the revenue that is generated as a result of our activity.  The fact that these corporations hire so few Black people is not a revelation to anyone either.

 

Where are opinions diverge is on the 'benefits" of Facebook. Here too is a subject I can go on and on about, but at the end of the day people love Facebook.  I do what I can to use Facebook to my benefit, but I refuse to publish content on the platform or actively engage there, as this activity cannibalizes Black websites' ability to generate revenue.  Since so few of us make any real attempt to earn a living from websites, I completely understand why most people don't get it or care.

 

Trying to appeal to Black  people based upon what has been lost as far as Black content on the web, or how existing websites (like AALBC.com) are weakened, and the great Black websites that will never launch, because of our slavish devotion to sites like Facebook, fail to resonate with folks, because again we love Facebook so much.  Facebook has done a brilliant job addicting and manipulating us to use their platform. 

 

Facebook pages out rank many authors own website's in Google searches--deservedly so, because authors spend more time and energy publishing information on Facebook than they do their own websites.  Of course they'll argue that no one will visit their website and they are so happy to have Facebook to help them connect with others  But these are people, who never knew a world, before Facebook.

 

They also don't know that Facebook is FAR more aggressive than Google has ever been at controlling which posts are seen as to maximize the time people spend on Facebook.  At least Google says if you create a great website we'll send people to it.  If you want to get people to your website using Facebook you better be ready to send some money.  

 

At some point we have to invest in our own if we are going to have anything of value... 

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@Troy I agree with your sentiment brother. We had a black website which was blackplanetdotcom. Even though it wasn't black owned, at least they did cater to us. But when myspace jumped out of nowhere, that site lost relevance quickly. Black folk are addicted to jumping on white people's bandwagon. That's why it is so hard for us to build. Due to how Black people think, Facebook is a gold mine for Black websites. Unfortunately, it does require actively engaging on Facebook and becoming social on that platform. That's where all the Black people are - unfortunately. I have had unreasonable success. I used to purposely stay off the website because I hate the institution of white supremacy that our people are geared to empower every chance we get.  But as we look closely at our people's social behavior, we then understand the necessity of white social networks, such as google plus, facebook and even twitter, which I am not active on because I don't completely understand it. But just the fact that we have something called "Black Twitter", is fascinating to me, to say the least.

 

The pitfalls of Facebook is since we are handing over our power to white supremacy, they are going to control us and our social behavior. This is only to be anticipated. I post about black social networking and supporting black websites and forums and those posts get buried with the one and two likes posts. But if I post a meme about how white people took advantage of our ancestors, instantly viral content! Amazing!

 

I highly recommend being at least a little more active on your Facebook pages. You will see a growth in traffic to this website. It should reflect on the ads. However, thanks to Facebook I have seen tens of thousands of people on my website at a time to the degree I had to upgrade my servers to specifically handle Facebook traffic. And what I have learned about Google ads is that they are completely ripping us off. I currently have no google ads any of my websites. Knowing how bad I was being ripped off, it wasn't worth what they were paying me. 

 

Bottom line is we need to offer our own products and our own services to make rewarding profits on this internet. We can sell our own products and services, and by getting rid of the middleman, we bring more profits to our wallets! We can appreciate higher profits that way!

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We should probably compare notes at some point. I've already did the" actively engage on Facebook" thing.  What I learned was that the time and energy I devoted to Facebook paid better dividends when directed to my website.  

 

Of course the other reasons you mentioned like, "handing over our power to white supremacy," should not be glossed over. This is reason enough alone to leave Facebook alone.  No, I'll do without the traffic. 

 

How do you monetize your website?

 

I use Google ads they perform fairly well for me, providing a consistent revenue stream for my unsold inventory.  I do have three ads the are fixed a text ad that I just introduced  last week.  It is ugly, but it paid off immediately.  I also run a rectangle ad in a fixed position above the fold and a large vertical banner I used many other ad networks some of whom performed fairly well. None of them performed as well as Google has over the long term.

 

But here is the kicker, most of my revenue from Google comes from that rectangle banner above the fold.  Do you know I can not directly sell that same space for what Google pays me!!

 

I know maybe I need an effective sales person, because clearly the spot are more valuable that what Google is paying me--because they are making money off the spots, but again If I trying charge a fraction of what Google pays for that spot per month, say $500, no one would pay if, so Google gets it and they are obviously charging more.

 

Funny you should mention "Black Twitter" when I first heard about it is was presented as such a powerful force.  I asked myself how could I not be aware of this site.  I went around looking for a damn, Black Twitter website, only to learn it was just use using Twitter... I was very disappointed because of how we'd embrace Black Twitter as if it was our own.  Black Twitter id just Black folks using "white Twitter."   Now I know a few Sista's have garner a great deal of success on Black Twitter, but so what.  That pales in comparison with the number people that would benefit if there were actually a Black owned BlackTwitter.com.

 

Your site differently gets a lot more traffic than this one. Are nubianplanet and blackhostingsolutions both your sites?  I have never had tens of thousands of people on my site at one time. With that much traffic I'm surprised you are not making a mint with Google ads.

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@Troy The traffic of all my websites shift. Once I noticed the power of Facebook versus every other social network I used, I have seen that it could be instrumental in getting content visible. My ads don't perform as well as google ads, but I just made a point to refuse to do business with white companies that don't really pay us what we are worth. They do not value Black people and pay us less for ads based on Black oriented content. I don't like to openly showcase myself as the admin of sites that I do run but I would be happy to go over notes with you personally.

 

 

I found out about Facebook's power by a mistake actually. I did a topic and posted it on Google Plus for keyword link juice. But then it magically spread to other platforms, like Twitter, Reddit, and even Linkedin. But a few days later it hit Facebook. First time ever I had thousands of people on my website at a time. It lasted about a week that I had tens of thousands of people on my website. I learned a lot that day and immediately started using my Facebook account. It has paid off quite well.

 

The reason I am done with google ads is that Google gets too much control and say so over my content. They could penalize me, not pay me or even cancel my account and I would be powerless to challenge them.  I'd rather determine my own income and try to gain as much web control as I can while it's still possible. Eventually, I feel the web is going to change in a way that our interests will suffer greatly. That's because we have no control and based on the way I study our social behavior on Facebook, have no desire to have control. Black people could care less about Black Social networks. Funny thing is Facebook basically started out where every true Black social network is now. White people supported it though. Our people don't embrace Black projects the way they should and because of that, Black businesses suffer the most. It's funny to me and sad at the same time that right now people on Facebook are talking about how much they hate white people and want nothing to do with them. However, they are on Facebook and not here or at any other Black owned website.

 

Black Twitter is a complete joke to me. It only shows the level of craziness our people embrace from these websites who could give two cents about us. I do feel that none of these sites are our friends and I just have more of a piece of mind not using them. Now if I had that traffic on a continuous basis, I'd be making a lot more money through any advertising. the traffic is not constant. The biggest site is more constant because of the presence it has on Facebook, which constantly sends people to the website. Without that presence that was established on Facebook, it wouldn't have a good presence at all brother. But I must say, Facebook has been the way to go for me. Even though they have suspended me and scolded me for posting relevant content that embraces our people and culture, sadly, our people are over there. I wish they were here or another Black website so we could cut out the middleman. But our people crave inclusion. They need white people to embrace them in order to be validated. That has always been our problem, I believe.

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Well I can tell you it is encouraging to discover other Brothers with informed opinions on this subject.  

 

OK I have had ten of thousands of people on this site over a period of days--I thought you meant at the same instant.  During those periods all of that traffic did come primarily from social media.  But these surges are fleeting, impossible to control, and in my case still make up a small percentage of my overall traffic

 

Facebook does drive more traffic to this site than all other social media combined. I have had a couple posts go viral on Twitter; once my kid, who works in marketing, texted me that she saw one of my posts trending on Twitter.  The problem was that this viral activity remained on Twitter, a very small fraction of that Twitter activity resulted in traffic back to the site.  The same post on Facebook, with much less engagement, resulted in a far higher number of visitors to the website.  

 

Twitter users are simply less likely to leave Twitter to visit this website--probably for the same reason people read 45's tweets rather than reading a newsletter article describing and assessing the impact of his actual behavior and policy.

 

Below is a graph I created a few years ago breaking down the nature of my traffic, the only change is that Facebook has become more dominant relative to the other social media sites. But Facebook is a big portion of a small slice of the pie that makes up this site's traffic:

 

You may also find the article I wrote, "The Results of a Decade on Social Media" interesting.

 

social-media-breakdown.png

 

 

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