Dropping traffic, Gutenberg, and Google: what on earth is going on?

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My ads are back (WordAds/WordPress must have been having issues earlier today), but I do wonder how much longer I’ll qualify for the WordAds program (members get a small income based on number of impressions per ad).   My earnings have been dropping along with my traffic, which has been dropping steadily for several months, but has really taken a nosedive since the beginning of this year.

I can’t think of anything I’ve suddenly done differently that I hadn’t already been doing.  I did change my theme fairly recently (I think it was around Thanksgiving), but I don’t think that has much, if anything, to do with the drop.  In fact, my readers have said my new theme is easier to read and the layout less cluttered (I removed a lot of widgets from my sidebar).   So I think, if anything, the simpler, cleaner theme would be a draw.   Removing the unwanted and outdated sidebar items also has increased the speed of loading.

My WordPress stats show that my search engine activity is lower than it used to be.  This blog also no longer comes up on page one or two if I type in keywords that are used frequently on this blog, such as narcissism, or narcissistic abuse.    I can see that my Google hits are low, but there’s no way I can find out why.   Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow its users to use Google Analytics, which does go into a lot more detail about the reasons why your blog isn’t getting Google traffic.

Not writing as much as I used to is obviously a factor, but I think there’s more going on, since each month is worse than the last and I’ve actually been writing more recently, or at least sharing old blog posts to social media when I’m not posting.   I don’t write every day, but I do spend a lot of time promoting this blog and its posts.  I seem to get half of my hits these days through Pinterest, of all things.

I have two theories as to why my hits have dropped so drastically lately.

  1.  Google has penalized this blog (but again, since I can’t get Google Analytics as a WordPress.com blogger, I can’t find out why.)
  2.  Gutenberg.   I don’t understand Google algorithms or even what they are, but I’ve been told its algorithm has been changed recently and it prefers Gutenberg to the classic editor, which I am still using (and want to continue to use).   So articles written in Gutenberg, apparently, are given priority.

Now I’m wondering if I should make the switch to Gutenberg, as much as I hate it (I’ve played around with it on a dummy blog I created just for that purpose, and I still hate it).   But I know if I did that, blogging would be a chore instead of a pleasure, so maybe it wouldn’t be worth it.

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21 thoughts on “Dropping traffic, Gutenberg, and Google: what on earth is going on?

  1. I’m trying to think of why Google would give preference to blogs in Gutenberg. Maybe it is a techno-geek mutual admiration society thing. I don’t look at stats much, so I don’t know if there is trend on my blog, except that I do get one or more new followers per month.

    Yes, the adds are back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m stumped, too, especially since it seems to be across the board. I have Google Analytics, but I don’t know how that would tell me much….Webmaster Tools tells me there’s been a huge drop in impressions over the past few months, ie, people aren’t seeing my site as much in searches. But why? I have no idea.

    I do see a couple of huge drops. One right around the time they switched to Gutenberg; the other may have been when I turned off my Amp pages after a frustrating experience there. I wonder if they’re penalizing non-Amp pages.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Here’s something in Webmaster Tools: a switch to mobile-first indexing. Before, Google took information from the desktop version of sites. Now they’re taking it from the mobile version–and mobile typically takes longer because it hasn’t caught up with the desktop.

    Like

  4. I can’t help you with your ad problems with your blog, but I do know that as I start to slow down my writing and my reading and replying to other bloggers my stats drop to zero pretty much. Just a few days with no content and they start to drop. I am trying to bring them up again and get my blog going again which I am constantly dropping off the face of the earth for a bit and then pay the price. I hope you figure out your statistic problems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s good advice. I don’t comment much on other blogs anymore, and I know that doesn’t help. I used to be MUCH better with this. I can’t find the time to read more than one or two other blogs though, it’s hard enough just tending to this one.

      Liked by 2 people

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