Downhill from here

So I popped onto my blog this morning to find that my Amatomu ranking had plunged from around 20 (it was in the top 10 to 15 before the algorithm was changed) to 80 (it is currently at 81). This is quite a big drop for Wired Gecko which has historically been near the top of the overall rankings. I took a look at Google Analytics and saw this:

Analytics 1

Visitors’ overview:

Analytics 2

What was really interesting is that the sharp drop off was in respect of referring sites. Search engine traffic (if I understand that correctly) remained pretty constant. The drop in traffic from referring sites is pretty dramatic, as you can see from these reports:

Amatomu:

Analytics 3 Amatomu

Technorati:

Analytics 4 Technorati

Afrigator:

Analytics 5 Afrigator

Google.com domains:

Analytics 6 - google

I don’t really know what the cause of the drop off in traffic is but it is pretty disturbing. I have been plagued by these spam blogs that keep leaving trackbacks to their ad infested blogs. Could that be the cause? I am not exactly an SEO pro so as long as I see upward trends in my stats I tend to be happy but when I saw this massive drop off I started to think about making a change (yes, again!!) to the way I blog.

More and more I see the future of social activity on the Web (at least in the next year or 2 and certainly for me) being based on a distributed model rather than concentrated on any one service. At the moment the paradigm is largely based on single services so people who are socially active on the Web will make use of a service like MySpace, Facebook or LinkedIn as the focal point of their activities on the Web or topic specific activities (business, personal etc). The emergence of Facebook Apps and, more recently and importantly, OpenSocial heralds a shift towards a more decentralised model where people have multiple access points on the Web.

The idea behind this decentralised model is that I have a presence on Facebook, Orkut, Plaxo Pulse, LinkedIn, my own blogs, Twitter, Jaiku and Tumblr (examples of service I am active on) and using tools like those provided by OpenSocial I can be active on all of these services using the same content sources (YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo etc) to support my ongoing record of my activities and my thoughts. Instead of being dependent on a single service to be the repository of my presence on the Web, I can be everywhere and accessible through multiple access points using tools like OpenSocial to keep those access points going almost like thin clients to my central server (aka me).

So here I am thinking that maybe it is time to shift Wired Gecko into a different mode. As I said above, I am really not sure why my ranking is tanking like it is and why I am practically shedding visitors like that. I am accustomed to drop offs when I am less active but this is a bit nuts. My options include closing trackbacks (if those sites are the cause of this), shifting to another platform like Movable Type (although I would need help migrating my substantial number of posts), or relaunching Wired Gecko as a tumblelog instead. It just bothers me me when I see such a drop off because it means that people are losing interest drastically, my blog is being blocked somehow, my blog is really at the bottom end of what algorithms now find appealing or someone (or a number of someones) are stealing traffic away from my blog (in which case something has to change to stop that otherwise I am just wasting my time blogging here).

So that was my day … it looks like it is pretty much downhill from here. What do you think?

Update:
Well, my blog is pretty much in free fall, certainly on Amatomu where it is at 155 or so. I suppose it doesn’t really matter why my blog has plummeted like this. I have been writing for the people who are interested in what I have to say and if 95% of those people have decided that what I write is a load of drivel anyway, then I will just keep writing for the 5 people who still visit this blog somehow.

None of the options I was considering in my lower light moment yesterday are really feasible given that this blog is meant to be a long form blog, I want to retain control over my content and like to have interaction on this blog. If a combination of spamming f%&$#ers and amended search algorithms all around mean that my blog’s ranking drops to the bottom of the barrel then I guess that qualifies as “shit happens”.


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