are they just making it up?

Brian Turner

April 15, 2011

Are simply making this stuff up?

Or are they simply one of the many clueless companies out there who are good at tracking useless data?

They’ve published a list allegedly of the 100 best and worst performing websites after Google’s recent Farmer update, which Google confirmed rolled out across the UK on April 11th.

And Techwatch is listed as one of the worst performing websites, losing -78.27% of Google traffic according to their claims.

Yet here is our actual traffic data for April to date:

As is perfectly visibile, there is no sudden 78% fall in traffic from the week before – as claimed by

Sure, the stats aren’t that high – TW averages around 25-30k unique visitors per day, which among the Tech news sites might not be that huge.

But, hey, we’re a little independent publisher, and don’t have the support of a multi-million pound parent company as many tech news sites do.

And we’ve certainly not seen our traffic plummet as claimed.

Yet the BBC has just published a story built around the data – and then curiously notes that, far from losting 94% of its traffic, has lost maybe 0.5%.

Dear anonymous BBC journalist – perhaps that was a clue that the data was not all that reliable. You might have wanted to consider that before publishing the story to the world’s biggest news company.

If this is an example of’s “leading SEO analytics software” then it’s obviously a product right up there with pulling figures from a hat shoved up someone’s arse.

In the meantime, there are “lies, damn lies, and statistics”.

But it would be nicer if journos didn’t claim a whole slew of businesses were being killed by Google – all on the grounds of a single blog post by a new business publishing data it doesn’t even explain how it developed.


Comments in chronological order (13 comments)

  1. Hi Brian,

    We have historical data for around 8 million UK keywords for the last 10 months. It covers the most popular search terms for the UK pretty well to be a good indicator of visibility from search engines.

    You are correct in your assessment – there is no sudden 78% fall in traffic from the week before –
    because our Organic Performance Index (OPI) measures visibility – not purely traffic. Our OPI is calculated according to a keyword’s search volume, position and the statistical value of traffic distribution.

    We welcome you to look for yourself – feel free to contact me.

    Danielle (Searchmetrics, Inc.)

  2. Brian Turner says:

    Danielle, you say you track 8 million keywords in the UK, and from this you can extrapolate that Techwatch has lost 78% of its visibility in Google.

    However, if this were true, then we would have seen a very significant hit to our traffic.

    You cannot claim that visibility does not equal traffic – unless you are tracking keywords which are wholly irrelevant to what people are searching for – as I’ve covered to above.

    It’s plainly not the case that we’re impacted – despite your claims – which means your data and its interpretation of is clearly flawed, both in the case of ourselves and and I wonder how many others.

    And yet it has not stopped you publishing what is clearly inaccurate and misleading information on your website, that ultimately seeks to undermine other people’s businesses.

  3. Brian Turner says:

    ADDED: I see Doug Scott from is also protesting the data as completely inaccurate on the Guardian blog:

  4. Johannes says:

    Hi Brian, our data isn’t showing any significant drop in your Google visibility. Don’t worry and trust your own logfiles: – Best, Johannes

  5. Doug Scott says:

    If anyone wished for me to send them an image of our analytics then please contact me. Our traffic levels have not changed.

    I am pleased to say that our staff and customers are no longer worried. After Search Metrics published some false data I have had to calm fears. Maybe their data is not what they are stating. Check your facts guys.


    Doug Scott

  6. Doug Scott says:

    Hi Brian

    We are going to publish some data next week as obviously our staff and suppliers got worried. The Searchmetrics data is definitely flawed, but that data then has been taken as gospel and published all over the internet. As a company of almost 50 staff these stories do us no favours…so today I have been adding replies to every blog I can find and generally fire fighting:)


  7. Doug Scott says:


    The Searchmetrics data may be correct, but the interpretation that you have made are simply terrible, there is no other word for it.

    Imagine what mayhem is caused in a company when suppliers start asking account managers if the bills will be paid, because you no longer have any traffic to our website. Think of the implications.

    Doug Scott

  8. Doug Scott says:


    Would you care to do the same for please so I can calm nerves and use it to publish to suppliers.



  9. Brian Turner says:

    @ Doug – good to see you, saw your comment on the Guardian blog. Would like to get this cleared up, too.

    Not sure if of help, but Sistrix published some data here:

  10. Johannes says:

    Doug, sure. Here’s the screenshot for It is indeed ranking somewhat worse compared to last week, but about the same like last October. If you need additional data, please let me know.

  11. Doug Scott says:

    To be honest we don’t do that detailed tracking…….we should I know, but we don’t:) But a graph was produced on A4U…

    This showed that out of the top 200 or so words we had hardly changed in rankings.

    But the traffic levels are almost identical.

    If anyone wants a picture of logs then I can supply it and we will publish it next week.


  12. Joe says:

    I bit dislike sites that query traffic, even sites like Alexa. Because the traffic shown is only from toolbars etc.

    Anyway, My site was hit by panda update on feb 24th and so far we lost 35% of traffic. We use to get about 600k page views now it’s more like 450k. But to b honest google thought me few things iignored this year, focus on quality not quantity. Only problem I still have with panda update is that other top sites got whitelisted even though they post poor quality content or copy paste .

  13. Doug Scott says:


    Can you contact me please and send me your email via my blog:



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