Strong Correlation - Paid Social Advertising and Organic Search Traffic?


(Patrick Curtis) #1

For ~5+ years, Wall Street Oasis has maintained strong traffic, but we had been flat to only slightly up on almost every traffic metric imaginable. I

It wasn’t until this past February that we once again reestablished a track of steady growth YOY. While we are constantly trying to improve the user experience (see my merging and purging SEO thread) and speed and other metrics that Google uses to “Rank” your site in the algo, I thought it was very interesting that as soon as we started Facebook Ads on Feb 7, there seemed to be an immediate SEO impact. (see chart below)

I was wondering have any other community managers seen a correlation between the amount they are spending on paid social ads vs organic search traffic like this? It seems pretty remarkable / too coincidental. I figured Google takes social signals into account, I just couldn’t believe the dramatic impact it seems to have had (relative to spend).

Thoughts? Seeing this, we are thinking of increasing ad spend / expriements across FB / LinkedIn, etc…thought I would share in case anyone else wanted to test.


(Bas van Leeuwen) #2

Hey Patrick,

One idea I have: could be that you just are more popular because of the FB-ads; being more popular would also lead to more of your users searching for WSO.
(the trend where week over week it seems to diverge more supports this theory :slight_smile: )

Could you also overlay your direct traffic? If my idea is correct this should also increase at the same time.

Also: I’d love to see this with a week-scale instead of daily; makes it easier to focus on the trend

(Richard Millington) #3

@Bas_van_Leeuwen makes some really good points on this.

Think we need more of an SEO expert here on this. @dominic_woodman @jennita @proweb etc…

This might also just be a coincidental benefit of your SEO efforts that just began to kick in around the same time. When did you start doing the merging / purging?

(Patrick Curtis) #4

Thanks for the thoughts Bas…here are some weekly graphs over the same time period:

  1. Direct traffic looks to have increased prior to Feb

  2. Here is the Organic Weekly Traffic Graph…again, that first week in Feb when we started FB ads jumps out to me…

…we also seems to have another smaller leg up around April 2017 once we started implementing a lot of schema data so that Google could understand our content better (make sense)…

I was just really surprised at the amount of the bump we got and can’t trace it back to anything else really…we have been doing the merging/purging for almost a year, so maybe it just coincidentally had a positive impact the same week we started FB ads, but I think it has to do with our social signals suddenly strengthening…

anyways, thought I would share because it’s an interesting case study :slight_smile:

I am increasing budget significantly on Facebook across a wide variety of ad types (Boosting Popular Posts, Paying for Exposure for WSO page to get more page Likes, etc) to see if we see any additional organic traffic bumps from that…

Stay tuned!

(Patrick Curtis) #5

Thanks Richard…merging/purging has been an ongoing effort for over a year now, so I think it’s too coincidental to be the same week for us to see that leg up, but could be.

We did see additional strength in late April this year when we added schema data (see my response to Bas).

I guess I’m just curious if anyone has ever seen this…a ~2-5% jump I’d understand, but this is ~20-25% jump in organic traffic for a fairly large site (~1m uniques/mo)

Thank you,

(jennita) #6

I think @Bas_van_Leeuwen hit the nail on the head. Likely what has happened is that you’re getting more traffic to your site in general, then people go back and search for it again. You could have built a few links along the way as well if people have linked to your site because of the ads. In general though, the momentum that the ads created is likely helping you out.

One thing I’d like to see if possible, is the ad itself and details about it (or them). Does the ad send people to your site directly? Are you getting high engagement on the ads? What does your FB insights look like?

Another thing to think about is that often times direct traffic is really social traffic, often called “dark social”. So if that started before the FB ads, it still could be something else.

Not sure I’ve helped much, but there’s my 2 cents! :smiley:

(Richard Millington) #7

Thanks @jennita, really useful.

@Patrick_Curtis is it possible to share the advert itself? Could be interesting to see.

I actually haven’t seen many people use social ads to increase community participation. I’d love to get a sense of what sort of return you’re getting. Cost per member acquired etc?