This is another one of those “inside baseball” post about being a blogger, with perhaps a passing reference to the existence of video games at best. You have been warned.
As I may have said in the past, web stats are like numbers from the UN, the more precise they are, the more likely they are to be wrong.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy web stats all the same, and so I have various ways to look at the traffic that comes to the site, including Google’s Search Engine Console tools, Google Analytics, Microsoft’s Bing Webmaster Tools, Yandex’s site tools, that flag counter widget in the side bar, and the built-in WordPress stats. None of them ever agree with each other.
Which is fine, I have no need for precision. I just like to see trends and what brings people to the site. It doesn’t change what I write, but it is interesting to me to see what is accidentally popular.
This week I was bored and poking through the various stats and came to Bing’s tools, which were updated a while back to copy as closely as possible the Google console, and I noticed that somewhere around June 8th traffic to the site pretty much died off.
If that were an EKG on a medical TV drama they would be calling a code blue and yelling for the crash cart and headed straight for a commercial break before we knew whether the person had died or not.
Now, if that had happened with Google I would have noticed right away. Most traffic here comes from Google, and when Google feels a chill sites like mine catch pneumonia. Back in February they made some change and my traffic from them was cut by a third and it was immediately obvious in the WordPress stats. They might not exactly line up, but trends stand out.
Bing, however, does not send me a whole lot of traffic. If you look at last year’s annual round up, Google sent me 155K referrals and Bing sent 2,716. So a hot day for Bing looks like this:
So Bing wasn’t a waterfall of new viewers, but it was never zero… until now.
Now, of course, it could be that video game trends have moved away from whatever it is I write about these days. But not showing up at all, even in impressions… that seemed strange.
I opened up Microsoft Edge because it defaults to Bing for searches, and typed in the most common search term that brings people to the site, TAGN… seriously, some of you could bookmark the site… and this is what I got.
The top result, which is a listing of acronyms, that remembers who I am. But literally no other result was associated directly with my blog.
I searched for the full blog name and got results for sites that mention the blog, and sites where I auto-post links to recent posts, like Tumblr, Flipboard, Twitter, and even Facebook. There were even links to the Blogger site where I used to backup my site until IFTTT broke that link.
But nowhere was there an actual link to tagn.wordpress.com. I had been delisted.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do. Microsoft has a list of reasons why your site might not be listed, but once you get past the technical items that you can check, it sums up to just maybe they don’t like you, which are the last two things on the list.
So somebody at Bing must have decided around the end of May that my site doesn’t meet whatever their quality thresholds are, because it says right on the page that “Bing likes unique, quality content.”
And, in looking into this, I discovered that DuckDuckGo uses Bing to get its search results. That explains why traffic from DuckDuckGo, which is about on par with Bing, went away as well and why my attempts to find my blog there end up with the same set of results.
Oddly enough, I had been using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine recently to see how well it did, and was tempted to write a scathing post about how inferior its results were compared to Google’s, and then I found out they use Bing… and that pretty much explained it.
I must still be in Bing’s system somewhere, because every few days on the chart it shows I was in the results for 1 search. But otherwise Bing appears to have disowned me.
Yandex still loves me though. I still get a page view or two a week from them!