14 days ago, I decided to perform an interesting experiment here on my site, where I completely removed the blogroll. On August 17, 2015, I removed the sidebar blogroll links. These were sitewide links to highly trusted sites, all on-topic links. Here’s what happened 14 days after I removed the blogroll links from my blog.
First, a little background. If you view my site’s home page, you’ll notice that I use a static page for the home page, that doesn’t change. It’s about me and what I do. I decided to do it that way as a presentation of me, rather than make the home page of my site a “blog”, where I show a snippet of my latest blog posts. Currently, my latest blog posts are available on the blog’s sidebar, so they are linked from the site’s home page.
Over the years you’ve probably heard people say that who you link out to is important, and potentially something that would have an effect on search engine rankings (and ultimately traffic to your site). I typically link out to appropriate sites and even Twitter profiles and other posts when I’m writing. That’s logical, if I mention a site or someone I will link to their site or their Twitter profile. However, I think the blogroll is different. On my site, the blogroll was linked from every page, appearing in the right sidebar, but not towards the top of the sidebar. It was just a list of about 15 links. Here’s what it looked like before I removed it:
In theory, I would be passing “link juice” or authority on to those sites, and then some of those would pass that authority (or whatever you want to call it) back to my site. Some of those sites link back to my site, and some do not.
So, what happened when I removed the blogroll? Let’s take a look at 14 days after I removed it from my site completely. After 14 days, I am assuming that Google has fully crawled my site and realized that those links are no longer there. But since there’s over 1,000 blog posts on my blog, it may still have some link data, so I will keep watching to see if there have been any major changes.
Let’s take a look at the Google Analytics and compare the Google organic traffic for the past 14 days versus the previous 14 days:
Google organ traffic is down 2 percent. Not much of a change at this point. But, what’s interesting is that one of my goals is up 28 percent.
In contrast, let’s look at the Bing traffic:
Now this is very interesting. Bing’s organic traffic is up 73.68 percent since I removed the blogroll from my site. It went way up, and my conversions went way up, as well. Is this an indication that Bing simply doesn’t like blogrolls, and you should generally remove them from your site’s blog? Well, there are certainly other factors at play here, and it’s just too early to tell. But I certainly will be watching the Bing organic traffic to see if it continues to increase.
So, based on this knowledge, should I put the blogroll back on the site and see what happens? Or should I just leave it off, as there aren’t any changes in Google traffic to speak of once removing the blogroll from the site (and Bing traffic is way up)?
One thing that I would mention, is that based on actual rankings, semrush.com is reporting that exactly 7 days after I removed the blogroll, rankings went down:
I will continue to monitor search engine rankings, and I may just put that blogroll back up to see if the rankings go back up again 7 days after I put the blogroll back up on the site. I’ll keep you posted. I’m not that worried about actual search engine rankings at this point, as the traffic I’m seeing is actually not taking a significant hit from Google organic (and I’m seeing more conversions).