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