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Search Traffic Declines, Engagement Remains Steady

Search Traffic Declines, Engagement Remains Steady
Credit: Shareaholic

Boston, Massachusetts–Organic search traffic is on the decline, but consumer engagement is remaining study, according to a new study conducted by Shareaholic.

For more than a decade, marketers relied on organic search to drive inbound traffic to their sites, but now, the landscape of consumer flow to web properties is changing. In an analysis of search engine data from December of 2013 to May of this year, the study found a decline in the number of visitors clicking through from search engines.

But a new Shareaholic analysis of search engine data from December 2013 to May 2014 has found a steady decline in the number of visitors coming from search engines over six months.

What’s more, though Google leads with the largest percentage of search market share, that giant is sending fewer visitors than rival search engines with very small percentages of market share, namely, Ask, Bing, and Yahoo.

The study’s goal was to quantify the percentage of inbound traffic generated by search engines. The results are quite different from accepted conception in the marketing industry.

Search Traffic for Inbound Visitors Declines

The study revealed some noteworthy data, for instance, search engine generated traffic accounted for one-third of overall traffic, with Google sending 31 percent of visitors through its organic results. Rivals Ask, AOL, Yahoo, and Bing sent less than one percent in May of this year. Google delivered a full 17 times the amount of visitors as its rivals combined, but it appears this reported decline is quite subtle.

Analyzing metrics which included average visit duration, pages opened during each visit, and bounce rate, the study found remarkably that Google did not rank in the top three. In regard to informed consumers versus uninformed consumers, Google is delivering more visitors, but those visitors are of less quality than those coming from Big G’s rivals.

Possible Reasons for the Decline

Because companies are increasingly leveraging social media in their inbound marketing efforts, that is contributing to the decline. In addition, since Google changes its algorithms regularly, it necessarily forces businesses to rely on other marketing methods to attract engaged consumers.

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