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Wikipedia Referral Traffic | Google Analytics Reports Complete Drop-Of


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#1 ttw

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 12:23 PM

Hi Folks

 

Across two different client sites we are seeing that all Wikipedia has dropped off to a trickle starting about June 13, 2015.  

 

We are looking at the "No Filters" profile in Google Analytics so don't see how this could be a Google Analytics filtering issue.  It of course could be a change in the way Google Analytics is reporting Referral traffic from Wikipedia.

 

We do not have access to the log files for either of these clients.

 

Has anyone seen this in their referral data?

 

Thank you, Rosemary

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Edited by ttw, 18 September 2015 - 12:24 PM.


#2 chrishirst

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 01:34 PM

And do your site logs show a corresponding change?



#3 ttw

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 01:46 PM

Hi Chris:  As mentioned I don't have access to their log files.  

 



#4 chrishirst

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 03:13 PM

Are you aware that Wikimedia implemented HTTPS: for ALL users of Wikimedia sites (which includes Wikipedia)  on the 12th of June 2015.
 
http://blog.wikimedi...tes-with-https/
 
 
and from RFC 2616
 
Clients SHOULD NOT include a Referer header field in a (non-secure) HTTP request if the referring page was transferred with a secure protocol.


Edited by chrishirst, 18 September 2015 - 03:22 PM.


#5 qwerty

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 07:46 AM

There was an article about a month ago suggesting that Wikipedia is getting less traffic from Google than they have in the past, possibly because of answer boxes in the SERPs. If Wikipedia's traffic is down (assuming their traffic from Google is a significant portion of their overall traffic), then it follows that sites linked to from Wikipedia would be seeing less referral traffic from there.

 

Wikipedia responded with a report on recent trends in their logs of both traffic referred from Google and traffic without a referrer (for the reasons Chris cites above). The former was up, but the latter was down, making the study inconclusive.



#6 ttw

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 08:05 AM

Hi Folks:   Thanks for the feedback but this loss of Wikipedia referral traffic is also occurring on another client's site that is HTTPS.  Same date - same big cliff drop-off.  

 

Do you have any idea why that would be?  It appears to be affecting non-https and with https sites.



#7 chrishirst

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 08:37 AM

re-read 

 

http://www.highranki...ne/#entry340473

 

Especially the quote from RFC2616 there is a link to the W3.org document if you don't believe the bit I quoted 

 

 

Bottom line is:  HTTP: URLs will NOT ever show a 'referrer' from a HTTPS: URL this is why ALL Google referral information disappeared from logs and analytics data when Google implemented all HTTPS:, and even IF your all URLs are HTTPS:, do not expect to see HTTPS: referral data start appearing, it simply is NOT available from the request header.



#8 ttw

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Posted 21 September 2015 - 01:24 PM

Thanks very much for your clear explanation.  I appreciate it.






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