Supporting the suspicions of some, new data shows that since Google launched its "Search, plus Your World" feature in January, traffic from Google to Facebook fan pages has dropped. When SPYW debuted, Web watchers speculated that, by prioritizing Google+ search results, it would have a negative impact on SEO traffic to competing social networks, i.e., Facebook.
The new study, from analytics provider PageLever, centered around a sample of 500 Facebook fan pages -- each with a minimum of 100,000 fans -- focusing on external referrals from both Bing and Google. Between April of last year and January 9 -- a day before SPYW went into effect -- each page in the sample averaged about 9.25 referrals from Google per day. From January 10 to April 15, however, the average plummeted to just 4.52 external referrals per day -- a drop of about 51%.
“At first glance, then, it would appear that SPYW did indeed have a detrimental effect on Facebook's search engine traffic,” writes The Verge. “Complicating this hypothesis, though, is the fact that traffic from Bing also declined over this same time span, and by an even greater margin -- about 61% between pre- and post-SPYW eras.”