How Much Traffic Did WebmasterWorld Lose?

Dec 1, 2005 • 9:11 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO & SEM Forum News

I have been on a rampage, asking people their thoughts and gathering data on exactly how much traffic WebmasterWorld forums. You all know about WebmasterWorld Banning Search Engine Bots from Crawling its site, it was a tough decision I bet, but how tough? My first guess was that WebmasterWorld lost about 30 - 40% of its overall traffic due to being delisted from Google and MSN (soon Yahoo). The one question, I didn't feel comfortable asking Brett in the Interview was how much traffic he lost. I doubt he will tell us, and I don't blame him. But let's guess, at it. First let me tell you what others thought, based on electronic conversations I had with them (they gave me permission in exchange for a link to quote them).

Rae, old time WebmasterWorld member from, said "I'd guess BT has a crapload of natural traffic." She guesstimated only a loss of about 10 - 20% of overall traffic due to the lose of search engine referrals and she stands by it.

I then asked Daron Babin, SEGuru, from Webmaster Radio his thoughts. He felt it was more in the range of 35-45% of lost traffic.

I also asked Shawn Hogan of Digital Point who estimated more like 50% of lost traffic. But he gave me some very informative statistics, (of course stats are based on assumptions). Here we go...

He tells me about half of his forum traffic is from search engines, I can tell you about half of my traffic (maybe 40%) is from search engine referrals. Shawn puts WebmasterWorld "at loosing 500,000-1M unique visitors per month." He continues to explain, that if you look at Alexa Reach Per Million for WebmasterWorld, you will notice that they went from 2,190 to 1,050, about half of their traffic. But in reality, he explains, that since more WMW members are likely to use the Alexa toolbar, that you can even bump up that figure to WebmasterWorld losing a three-quarters of their traffic. Wow!

Shawn also posted some of this information in Digital Point Forums so discuss it there as well.

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Andrew Barnett

12/01/2005 04:42 pm

FYI, according to HitWise, has received between 70% - 80% of their traffic from Google and Yahoo over the course of the past three months. Other upstream traffic from search is negligable.

Peter Caputa

12/01/2005 05:21 pm

It seems kind of silly to prevent the crawlers. If he can't afford another server, why not sell some advertising? i am sure there are many ad networks that would love to advertise on the site.

Josh Wex

12/01/2005 05:50 pm

Yes, but this is a short term loss. Since announcing he was banning all robots, he has probably receieved hundreds of quality links covering the story. Once he removes the ban, I estimate his traffic will significantly increase.


12/01/2005 06:32 pm

It's unfortunate that kind of step had to be taken but an immense of amount of resources were probably spent combating rogue bots. I agree with Caputa - why NOT sell some advertising?


12/01/2005 07:46 pm

1. Alexa Page Views appear to have dropped by roughly 30%. 2. Brett makes his money from (voluntary) memberships. The loss of search engine traffic will have a minimal adverse impact on memberships, at least during the first 6 months. Possibly, memberships will increase if the "feel" of the site improves for frequent users (those most likely to pay for a membership).


12/02/2005 01:27 am

Don't know what Brett was thinking but the decision made by WMW seems completely dumb especially when there could have been many alternatives. I am simply amazed at how smart people can make such decisions. No matter what Brett's reasons are, he should know that better alternatives exist. Frank Mash

Adrian Lee

12/02/2005 11:23 am

I don't visit WMW, but from those that do, has the signal-to-noise ratio improved with the SE traffic dropping off? With a site the size of WMW, I think the idea if far from stupid, especially if Brett's tried lots of other things already, as he's said. If traffic drops off too much and it really slows down more than he wants, it'll be easy enough to unban the bots again and I'm sure the whole place will be reindexed pretty quickly.

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