At Groupon, they conducted a potentially dangerous experiment to give us the answer. We don’t recommend you try this at home, but having great confidence that Google could index a site really quickly, we completely de-indexed our site one day.
That’s right — for the sake of SEO science, Groupon deindexed themselves completely for about 6 hours. We know what you’re thinking, but we assure you that this was not just an accident that occurred during use of the remove-this-URL-from-the-index feature in Google Webmaster Tools.
During this test, we examined Organic search and Direct traffic by hour and by browser to any page with a “long” URL, like www.groupon.com/local/san-francisco/restaurants. We define long as being at least in a sub-folder, so this excludes the home page and top level folders like/coupons, /getaways, etc. (We excluded these “short” URLs because those are pages that actually do get a fair amount of Direct traffic — on the homepage, Direct really is Direct.)
Props to Groupon for undertaking this awesome experiment to find 60% of their direct traffic was actually from SEO: http://t.co/CpB93aEgQc
— Jared McKiernan (@jaredmckiernan) July 8, 2014
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) July 8, 2014