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Not All Views on WordPress are Real Views

March 23, 2013

NOTE: this post will be of interest only to WordPress users.

Here’s a little something interesting I just discovered by accident – not all of your ‘Views’ are actually ‘Views’. A user doesn’t have to actually click on a link from a Google search engine listing and reach your blog in order for WordPress to count their search sting as a ‘Search Engine Term’ and their search as a ‘View’- so long as the page in question (one of your blog posts or your Home Page) appears at the top of the list of search engine results, WordPress counts it!  Don’t believe me? Try it yourself:

  1. Take a quick peek at your Stats’ to get a sense of what they look like right now (pay particular attention to Search Engine Terms, Visitors, Views, Top Posts and Pages), then log out of your WordPress account.
  2. Do a search in Google for your blog – either by its name or by a popular topic or post title that will bring your blog (or a specific post) to the top of the search results (keep trying terms until you get one that ‘hits’ at the top).  Do NOT click on the link.
  3. Log back in to WordPress and recheck your Stats; you’ll see an additional Visitor and/or View, the topic you searched for as a Search Engine Term, and the page that came in #1 on the search engine results list will appear (or have an additional number beside it) in the Top Posts and Pages list.

For example, if I search for ‘The Other Side of 55’, my blog comes up as #1 in Google; without clicking on the link, this registers a new Search Engine Term, an additional Visitor and View, and adds ups the count by 1 on Home Page/Archives (on Top Posts and Pages). I tried doing a search on my name (“margo karolyi”); my blog (again) comes in at the top and when I log back in to WordPress – sure enough, it shows a search for “margo karolyi”, a new Visitor, one more View, and an additional ‘hit’ on Home Page/Archives.  Just to be sure it wasn’t my imagination, I logged out again and tried the title of one of my posts (the joy and power of running away) – same result!  This clearly means that the Stats are not a reliable record of what people are really looking at (or that they’re looking at all).  This may not mean diddly-squat to many of you, but it you’re relying on your Stats to provide you with a true measure of the popularity of your blog and/or posts, you’re clearly being misled.

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7 Comments
  1. Mandy permalink
    March 8, 2014 6:24 pm

    This happens for twitter too. Facebook, I can post articles and not see any clicks. But, I noticed something was off when I tweeted a blog from a ning site and barely got any views (even 0-3). When tweeting the same blog from a wordpress site, I almost got consistently 30 views every tweet in the front end view counter. In jetpack stats, however, it only showed 2 clicks. This happens with Joomla too (my last site was joomla and it did the same). Haven’t tried other platforms.

  2. March 24, 2013 2:24 pm

    Well that kinda sucks.. haha

  3. March 24, 2013 6:11 am

    Wow. Thanks, Margo. Fascinating if not fun to learn.

  4. March 23, 2013 8:15 pm

    Very odd! That is disappointing 😦

    • March 23, 2013 9:35 pm

      I couldn’t find any reference to this ‘anomaly’ on the WordPress Support page re: Stats. It seems to happen only with Google (I tried Bing and Yahoo and it didn’t seem to count the #1 return as a ‘view’ in my Stats). I’m going to dig deeper on this – it certainly puts a weird ‘spin’ on Stats.

      Margo

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