The webmaster community is buzzing about a steep decline in the organic visits they are seeing coming from Bing Search.
At first we thought it had to do with a Bing Search algorithm update, but after a deeper look, it had to do with Google Analytics tools not tracking Bing organic traffic as search traffic, but rather as referral traffic.
I analyzed dozens of sites within Google Analytics and noticed the same pattern — about 20% declines in Bing Search organic traffic, while a huge 200% or so increase in Bing referral traffic to the sites.
Here are four large site profiles I checked, showing week-over-week changes with organic and referral Bing traffic:
- Organic Bing Traffic Down 20%, But Bing Referral Traffic Up 350%
- Organic Bing Traffic Down 5%, But Bing Referral Traffic Up 145%
- Organic Bing Traffic Down 10%, But Bing Referral Traffic Up 265%
- Organic Bing Traffic Down 22%, But Bing Referral Traffic Up 230%
I contacted both Google and Microsoft yesterday; both are still investigating the issue.
We suspect it has to do with how Bing is sending over the referrer; it could be that something changed with that, confusing Google Analytics and other tracking tools.