Could this be the real reason why Steemit's Alexa Rank is falling?

in utopian-io •  2 months ago

Repository: https://github.com/steemit/condenser

Details

Early in the year, I did some competitive analysis between Steemit and it's obvious rivals Medium.com and Quora.com and found some interesting results.

And at that time it seemed like nothing could stop the Steemit Train from moving to another level, but then we started seeing a drop off in membership, posting and community participation, and everyone assumed this was because the price of STEEM was falling.

But today I want to put forward another reason why the Steemit Alexa Rank has dropped from its Top 1000 position to the 1728 Global Rank we see today.

Scope of Analysis

I'll be looking at standard website metrics freely available from Alexa.com but will also dig deeper into the organic traffic flow Steemit.com receives and external elements that might affect that traffic.

Tools

Most data is freely available on https://alexa.com and I'll also include more specific traffic data from https://ahrefs.com

Disclaimer: Traffic data is only an approximation based on similar results for like traffic rankings. I do not have access to the pure Steemit.com analytics data.

Results

Steemit.com Traffic and Rankings

Firstly let's look at the current Alexa Ranking for Steemit.com

Alexa Rank.PNG

As we can see Steemit peaked in the Top 1000 around mid-March of 2018 but since then continued to decline.

And most punters believe the site has been in decline since Bitcoin and consequently the price of STEEM has been falling, although they conveniently forget the Bitcoin Price Decline started in early late Dec 2017, when STEEM was enjoying a peak of activity.

This graph from @PenguinPablo reveals the decline of activity didn't happen until early March 2018


Source: https://steemit.com/steemit/@penguinpablo/daily-steem-stats-report-thursday-july-19-2018

In fact, there is one other piece to the puzzle that shows this decline more dramatically and it's the organic traffic reaching the website.

organic keywords.PNG

Source: https://ahrefs.com

Or more importantly the Ranking of Steemit.com in Google Search.

As you can see in this graph Steemit.com Organic Reach was heading North until an event around 8th March where it lost over 30% of its traffic.

And all three graphs appear to line up around early March or more specifically the 8th March.

But what was happening around this time apart from the continual decline of the Bitcoin Price?

Well, any good SEO Analyst would first look for a Google Algorithm update and this is where I found a smoking gun.

The Smoking Gun

You see, it appears at or around the 8th March Google released a significant Algorithm Update as reported by a number of SEO Websites.

core update.PNG
Source: https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change

And although Google is always tight-lipped on what changes were made, the industry believes it was centered around E- A - T which is short for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust.

Here are my laymen descriptions of these terms.

Expertise - How detailed is the information on the page.

Authoritativeness - How popular are the people writing on the blog.

Trust - Can this website be trusted as a unique source of information.

Now there has been a lot of commentary on the quality of posts on Steemit, and with this latest major algo update, it appears Google doesn't like this either, hence Steemit appears to have been penalized.

I believe this is the real reason when Steemit has been declining over the last few months. Google just isn't sending the traffic through as they had before.

Clearly, word of mouth and a low STEEM price isn't enough to keep us moving in an upward trend.

But as you can see in the organic keywords chart, Steemit.com has recovered a little, due to the sheer numbers of posts created per day, but this could only be temporary if the quality hasn't improved.

Top Five Pages Delivering Organic Traffic to Steemit.com

And for the record 4 of the Top 5 Organic Keywords delivering traffic to Steemit.com are related to links for content streaming sites.

top traffic.PNG

Conclusion

The decline of Steemit.com is more so relating to the quality of posts and the ability to attract quality writers than the price of STEEM.

For instance, I was recently made aware that @robertkiyosaki (a well-published author) had joined the platform and received less than a few votes for a quality post.

When Google talks about Authority, they are thinking about people like @robertkiyosaki and not all the spam running rampant throughout Steemit posts.

So it seems the discoverability of quality Authors is another feature holding Steemit.com back, more should be done to uncover real talent on Steemit.

And it also seems Google wants to promote Authoritative Websites in their search results and ones that seem trustworthy.

Sadly an indicator of Trustworthiness is the uniqueness of the page and sadly Steemit has failed to create canonical links for content created elsewhere on the blockchain. Therefore, Google will continue to penalize them for duplicate content until they do.

And as more interfaces to the STEEM Blockchain come online this problem will only get worse if not addressed quickly.

So we shouldn't go jumping to conclusions until we know the facts.

In this case, this downward trend began when the Google Algorithm Penalized Steemit.com for the quality of their website, loosing potentially 1 million views per month in the process.

And for the record, a low STEEM price is actually a great time to earn more STEEM, as you get more STEEM tokens per a comparable payout amount.

Related Analysis - Steemit vs Medium vs Quora - Competitive analysis

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This is some awesome detective work!

I completely agree that Steemit could use some better quality content! It is especially heinous what appears on the trending page, and the fact that those with the power to take away bot power have not done so.

That being said. I don't trust Google. There are a lot of good authors on here that criticize Google and think their SEO strategies have become politicized. I happen to be one of those people. (Not necessarily the good author part, but the thinking that Google politicizes its SEO part :p)

They eliminated their "Do no evil" slogan and have outwardly admitted to working with the US military on less-than-savory technology. I have also noticed that anything that doesn't fit the bill politically is scrubbed from the first few pages of any search on the topic, and it is more than obviously politically charged.

I would not be surprised at all if this update that affected Steemit so adversely was deliberate. The powers that control us don't take too kindly to places where you are uncensored and free to say (pretty much) whatever you'd like! Just some food for thought from your favorite conspiracy theorist! :D

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Google Algorithm updates are nothing new to the SEO Industry and usually, sites aren't hit that hard unless they are doing something wrong.

Sadly, it's all preventable, if you address the problems with the quality of the website. But this isn't a concern for Steemit INC apparently.

We just need to stop caring about Alexa ranks and Steemit being a flagship for this blockchain.

There is no conspiracy here, just lazy website management.

Great job done.
And here is my view.
What Steemit now, is just a circle of people with high reputations that upvote one another and most of them don't care to bother about new accounts and new contents. I have seen some helpful ones, who try to promote quality even if the account is in the early stage. But they are very less. And often the accounts, who post good contents are neglected even after their considerable time and effort here on steemit. So, why would good writers or content creators stay here if there are other good platforms where they at-least get lots of views and good response.
I see that most of them don't have time to make those so called whales and dolphins happy, even to just get them started while they are already a huge success on other platforms.

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Yep, it sure seems that way.
When bots make more money for you than curation, people just get lazy.

There is quality here. Just it's just swamped by all the crap.

These are the type of articles we need to see more of. Great article. New follower.

If you take out the sudden spike in the organic keywords graph then the trend still seems to be a steady increase. If it continues the stay climb there may yet be hope.

I think (hope) as time goes on, if the quality authors keep plodding along, as the site grows the attention will slowly shift to the better authors and the crap will be left sitting in its own little circle.

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If Steemit INC got their act together that spike would have likely continued upward. They now have an onslaught of Steempress duplicate content to deal with.

Only positive action will ensure there is any hope as unfortunately, the 'little circle' affects the Trustworthiness of the site too.

The only thing they can do with the crap is to devour the links so Google doesn't mistake it for content they want to rank for.

Don't underestimate losing millions of visitors per month due to having a poorly designed website.

First impressions are everything.

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Way to smack down my attempt at optimism! 😜 LMAO

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LOL. I'm a realist :-P

Well, this is really something amazing, in fact it's so amazing that

You got SNEKKED!
Because we love your post!!

You Got Snekked is a curation project!
We aim to find good content, share a happy moment, & some visibility. Your post got our upvote, and we will feature your post and possibly an image from it in our curation compilation if you don't mind! If you don't want to be featured, please let us know!
You can find us on Discord

https://discord.gg/VWJxTEz
It's not a huge vote though, but just so you know your efforts are appreciated

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Wow! Thanks. And a link back would be nice :-)

Fantastic addition of extra context.
Thanks mate.
I'm not overly concerned. I haven't been on steemit.com for a while now.
steempeak.com is heaps better :)

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SteemPeak.com never heard of it. lol
The first STEEM Interface to include canonical links and have a strong following will eventually be on top of this heap.

Thanks for the heads up. I'll check 'em out later.

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Its all I use now. Wallet and comment history filter is a game-changer.
Rapid account switching, savable drafts and templates.
Beautiful :)

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@jarvie, I'm no HTML coder, but is this something worth considering?

TRUST got us Steemians in the feels

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To the google bots, Steemit just looks like a content farm. And not having 100% original content hurts for sure.

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not having 100% content hurts for sure.

Not sure what you meant. .did you mean original content?

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Yes, my bad. Corrected.

I've actually had in mind a very similar article... using a post I deliberately wrote to get on the first page of Google for some ninja related keywords, but it doesn't appear at all..... yet there is on Bing and DuckDuckGo. This is way more comprehensive than I was thinking though.

So, given this particular update from Google... do you think if we created a front-end that only held the really great, super top-notch articles from Steem, would that rank better with Google? (After the first year of establishing DA)… A front end where people could browse to find amazing articles and avoid spam completely...

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Bing and DuckDuckGo still work how Google used to work as far as SEO goes. Backlinks, keyword density and domain name with a relevant keyword all mean something.

Google is more advanced now, and you'll notice data above the fold isn't even suggesting organic websites anymore. It's mainly ads and data Google has scraped from those sites.

Generally, you need to scroll down to find actual websites for popular search terms.

We just need to remember they're an advertising company first and search company second.

And yes, a heavily curated website using canonical links identifying the source should rank well given you have enough unique content originating from the site to complement it.

Quality and Quantity still work. You just need to let the bots know where the content originated from if it wasn't on your site.

Start small and add more categories as you can manage to curate.

Thank you for your post. As a Steemian who posts only original content, it is frustrating seeing copyright violators and spam earning high rewards, while original posters earn pennies, if that much. Hope the trend turns around soon.

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It's easier to copy someone else's work, so I don't hold much hope going forward. Especially since there is money involved.