Facebook traffic What's the current status?

Facebook is becoming less important as a source of traffic to your site. We wrote about it before, but mid August a lot of internet-sources reported that Facebook “did not care about publishers”. Joshua Benton wrote a nice and nuanced article about the matter, in which he also shared some interesting statistics. Facebook is indeed referring less and less to publishers. In this post, I’ll share what Yoast has noticed in decreasing traffic from Facebook, I’ll share my personal view on the matter and I’ll discuss our current strategy in dealing with it.

If you want to learn more about using social media and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-Around SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it’ll help you put these skills into practice!

What have we noticed at Yoast

At Yoast, we’ve noticed our traffic from Facebook is going down. We share blogposts on our timeline and the number of visitors we attract to our website has halved in the past year-and-a-half. Overall, our traffic is going up though. We still notice a nice growth in organic search (which is a good thing, considering we’re selling SEO).

Yoast, of course, isn’t a classic publisher, like an online newspaper or an online magazine. However, we use Facebook primarily to share our blogposts. So, I think Facebook pretty much treats us as a publisher. And indeed, we’ve seen our traffic going down.

My personal experience as a Facebook-addict

I am a Facebook user. I use it professionally, for my work at Yoast. Besides that, I am also in a few Facebook groups that give me information on WordPress and SEO. But most of all, I love catching up with friends and family through Facebook. I post pictures of my children and write little anecdotes about my life.

In the last few months, I’ve noticed a lot of people leaving Facebook, or spending far less time there. Some friends left a while ago because of the privacy issues. But others are leaving too. I notice lots of people are sharing less on their timelines. And I am also posting far less on my timeline myself. Some Facebook groups remain very active though. And lots of people aren’t really disappearing; many of them are joining Instagram.

If people are really leaving Facebook and turning to other social media platforms, traffic from Facebook will decrease even more. And if that happens, I’ll need to find another platform to share those amusing anecdotes about my life ;-).

What to do?

A while ago, I wrote a post on what to do if your traffic from Facebook is decreasing. Engaging content, personal accounts, working with influencers and advertising are all possibilities to increase your visibility on Facebook. These are valid options, which we’re working on as well. For Yoast, investing in other social media platforms is now also becoming a new very important strategy.

This week, I decided to put some genuine effort into the Yoast Instagram account. If Facebook indeed turns out to be on its way down, now is the time to dive into ‘new’ social media platforms. I’ve challenged myself to double the current amount of followers on Instagram before Christmas. I’m now experimenting with writing SEO tips in an Instagram Stories format. I really enjoy exploring new possibilities, but I am not a professional yet. If you would like to witness (and help with) my enthusiastic (and somewhat sad) attempts to double our followers, please follow the Yoast Instagram account.

What about you?

I am curious if you noticed anything different on your Facebook timeline (personal or professional) in the past six months? Do you also notice a decrease in Facebook traffic? Are you a publisher of some sort? And I would also like to know what your tactic is. Are you focusing on different social media platforms? And which one? Or is Facebook still the most important one?

Read more: As Facebook’s algorithm changes, SEO becomes crucial »

Coming up next!

82 Responses to Facebook traffic: What’s the current status?

  1. Nilesh Pandey
    Nilesh Pandey  • 6 years ago

    Sir, I liked your article very much explained your very best. And I liked this thing very much. The way you write is great. And now I will always be reading your article. Thank you!

  2. Fransisca Tan
    Fransisca Tan  • 6 years ago

    I think that Africa is still very strong in Facebook. There is still a huge reaction to posts and a lot of people connect with companies. For us twitter is not as strong though.

  3. Paul D.
    Paul D.  • 6 years ago

    Across the board there seems to be a general Facebook fatigue, one that I definitely have experienced myself.

    It’s very much three card monte with Facebook. They’re pushing mercilessly to squeeze every advertising out of publishers. The idea that a page could have 1k followers and a post reaches only 30-40 of those is ludicrous.

    That and I am almost certain in their scorched earth campaign over fake news outlets and links – smaller publishers will get accidentally caught up in it. Definitely not good for business, or anything else for that matter.

    The answer for us is Flipboard. Its user base is growing significantly, and the app is first class. Though most importantly from a publishers perspective, everyone is there for one reason: to read news that they find interesting. No unnecessary distractions, it’s a level playing field for all publishers, and it’s a considerable boon for traffic figures.

  4. Kenneth Abbott
    Kenneth Abbott  • 6 years ago

    Well with out promoting and using adds a lot of people aren’t going to see the posts in their feed anyway right? Face book is very “distracting”. There is just to much information presented at once and its hard to tell what to pick. I would never pay for facebook marketing when I can get the traffic for free from other sites that convert a lot better. Instagram and pinterest are on the rise anyway. You have big companies like wall mart using it so why not? This post is very exciting. I am new to all this and wanted to try Instagram anyway. But why is it all based on mobile use? I mean I can’t upload stuff on my computer? Seems kind of silly. This is what I’ve read else where anyway. I don’t have a lot of experience though.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Thanks for your input! I’ll dive into instagram and let you know what I think of it.

  5. Joe
    Joe  • 6 years ago

    I know that facebook isn’t neet and holds back info on a sleeze way. It’s also boring. I have deleted my own blog and group from fb and am searching for better ways to get traffic.


    • Marieke van de Rakt


  6. Szűcs László
    Szűcs László  • 6 years ago


    Since end of last month in Hungary facebook did something with the organic reach on facebook pages for some members in Hungary (Or I do not know elsewhere). After 10 minutes every shared posts (link, video, pic) reaches go down to zero. Do you have this kind of experience? Of course I am sending the report every day, but nothing is happen. This is a new error, or not error I do not know. Maybe they just increase quarterly revenue. Anyway there is a week in every month with some kind of reach problem.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      I do not recognize this problem. Perhaps it is only in Hungary. I hope it gets resolved quickly! Good luck!

  7. Melanie
    Melanie  • 6 years ago

    I have noticed that my Facebook posts that contain external links have massively less reach than those with just text or txt and video / txt and an image. I also have found video (particicularly LIVE) is doing better than most other types of posts. I don’t bother with ads, haven’t for a while now.

    I struggle with Instagram, seem to have much less reach and a lot more trolls.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      That’s interesting! Thank you so much for your input. I am struggling with instagram as well and already noticed more trolls.

  8. myBeautyCravings
    myBeautyCravings  • 6 years ago

    I was wondering then why my facebook posts would only “reach” about 4 to 5% of my followers. It was only when I attempted to advertise on Facebook (for a sponsored post) that I noticed an option under Target Audience. Apparently, I can choose to reach “People who like your Page”. It was an awakening. So all along, most of my followers couldn’t see the page that they have agreed to follow, unless I advertise to reach them?

    These days, I find that I have to spend adv dollars to reach my audience whenever I publish a post. Facebook would keep reminding me through various channels – notifications, messenger etc and urge me to boost my post.

    I’m not sure if that’s the best way for facebook to treat publishers, but I know I’m gonna shift my focus to getting followers to my own list (email list). Instagram is owned by Facebook, so I’m afraid the same algorithm change would affect my instagram account. It might have because only 10% or so of my followers see my post. If the percentage reduce further, it would be a pocket-draining exercise for publishers whenever they publish a post. And small publishers like us don’t earn much. This may be killing us.

    Thank you for sharing your post. It’s been helpful to read it from an authority site like yours.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      thanks for your input!

  9. Jacob Adler
    Jacob Adler  • 6 years ago

    Facebook has become 90% pay-to-play and we decided to abandon it – using only some rss feed content pushing there which is automated. We’re not creating any original content anymore to post there. Putting more effort into Pinterest and Twitter now. Instagram still seems quite good, depending on what you’re selling.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Thank you for your input and good luck! Hope your strategy pays off!

  10. Okii Eli
    Okii Eli  • 6 years ago

    Hi Marieke, I agree with you on Facebook traffic as I have a page with over 100k likes but the reach has been very low.Right now am focusing on Pinterest and SEO

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      thanks for your input

  11. himal ghale
    himal ghale  • 6 years ago

    I thought facebook and twitter were the best, but after reading this article I am confused.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      This could well be the case for you!

  12. Leon J Worden
    Leon J Worden  • 6 years ago

    Facebook owns Instagram.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      I am aware of that! But these platforms do have a different way of reaching people!

  13. Theresa Wagar
    Theresa Wagar  • 6 years ago

    I do social media for a few clients. One of my doctors, we have dropped from posting 3 times / day to 2 times because the return has gotten so low. We also post on instagram and twitter. My challenge with Instagram is not direct way to link back to our sites. I personally love pinterest and thing that might be a better ROI for social media, but even THEY just changed their algorithm. Nothing ever stays the same for long in this social media world. Will continue to analyze and work toward more engagement. Thanks for sharing the great article!!

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      thanks for sharing your experience!

  14. Matt
    Matt  • 6 years ago

    Facebook traffic has decreased so much for my page that it’s not even worth posting or paying for ads. Why would I waste my money on ads if I can’t target all (or even a fraction) of the people who have liked my page?

    One thing I have noticed (which I find fascinating) is that after they announced that they would focus less on pages in user feeds (which according to Mark Zuckerberg made users “sad”), ads increased dramatically in my feed. And it hasn’t let up at all.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      I noticed a difference in ads too! thanks so much for your input

  15. Joost
    Joost  • 6 years ago

    I found that it is more important now to really add more text to your facebook posts. So not just post a URL there. Make it a bit more elaborate. But … still that did not bring all trafic back

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      interesting! worth trying!

  16. Linda
    Linda  • 6 years ago

    Not a big fan of FB although still active. Prefer Instagram but that is FB in disguise!
    Spend more time on Steemit these days. A decentalised blockchain platform where content and comments get paid. With crypto currencies on their knees at the moment a person ain’t gonna get rich easily there but there are many intelligent folks conversing on this platform. Check out my account and I encourage you all to sign up. If nothing else it is censorship free, hoorah :)

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      That sounds interesting! thanks for your input

  17. Victor Miller, Sr.
    Victor Miller, Sr.  • 6 years ago

    I’ve noticed that trying to sell your book on FB is a dead end for me. Everyone is selling but nobody is buying. I’ve slowly been making inroads in Instagram and Tumblr. I am a writer and fine art painter who is retired and has no money for marketing. Word of mouth is all there is for me. I’m open to suggestions on where to turn.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      thank you for your input!

  18. Saepih
    Saepih  • 6 years ago

    I also feel that traffic from facebook is dramatically decreased, but I thought it’s all because they changed their algorithm.

    As long as only the content is “approved” by the blue, then the content will reach many people.

    I shared a blog post in my business page yesterday, yet my friend didn’t read it even he liked and followed the page.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      We have 250K followers, but usually, a post will reach about 10.000 people. So, liking and following a page does not mean you’ll see it in your timeline.

  19. Bali Wellness Retreat & Yoga Travel
    Bali Wellness Retreat & Yoga Travel  • 6 years ago

    I have definitely noticed a decrees of traffic from Facebook too. Focusing on remaining on Google’ first page with uor key words. Not really interested in Instagram. Feel there is way too much competition there and not a ‘mature’ audience which is what we seek.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      I’ll let you know how our instagram adventure goes. We never put much effort in instagram either.

  20. Jane Littlewood
    Jane Littlewood  • 6 years ago

    Hi Marieke, I agree with you completely. I publish a suite of linked websites, Visit Fylde Coast, about the bit of UK coastline which includes Blackpool. At one time I had consistently amazing engagement levels on our FB pages and they drove a lot of traffic. I’ve noticed a significant drop over the last few years and since the changes in early 2018 the reach has plummeted. Don’t get me wrong, our pages are interesting and useful so our engagement is still worth having – and better than many other similar ones. But it’s obviously waning.

    I’m concentrating my efforts on building up my newsletter list. That way people will get all of the previous weeks updates and not miss anything because of the foibles of Facebook. Plus, it puts me in control, rather than a 3rd party.

    I usually read something from Yoast every day (thanks, I’ve learned loads) but I get your posts from your enews, I never see your Facebook page (but I’ve followed you on Instagram!)

    We swapped to WordPress early in 2018 and I’ve been using Yoast since then. I have to say it is amazing, the one thing I would NOT be without now. I’ve seen a steady increase in my organic traffic and I’m working my way through hundreds of pages of existing content, revising them for SEO.

    On a personal level, I now look at the FB pages that I’m interested in and flick through my feed far less frequently than I did. Think they shot themselves in the foot.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Thank you so much! glad to hear our plugin has helped you! Thanks for your input!

    • PingSunday
      PingSunday  • 6 years ago

      I’ve read Yoast news every day through their newsletter.
      However, Facebook, Instagram Tiktok are not dead.
      I’m using it everyday with my blog. It helps me gain traffic everyday for new customers. :)
      Social Media is “indispensable”, with SERP and organic traffic.

      • Marieke van de Rakt

        Thanks for your input. Very glad to hear that you get traffic to your site with social media! What kind of website do you have???

        • Coach EmRatThich
          Coach EmRatThich  • 6 years ago

          My website is for sports education (table tennis coaching). And in my niche, people interact a lot on Social: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. So I need to post frequently on Social, and Facebook is the fastest way to get new fans.

  21. Elen Ghulam
    Elen Ghulam  • 6 years ago

    I stopped using facebook completely. I only login once in a while in case somebody sent me a message. Wrote a blog post about it here: https://www.ihath.com/2018/03/25/refugee/

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Thank you so much for your input

  22. Gracious Store
    Gracious Store  • 6 years ago

    Just as some people are getting Facebook fatigue syndrome, what is the possibility that the same fatigue syndrome will not affect other social media?

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Good point! I don’t know. I do know that people can change their preference for social media platforms. Before Facebook was big in the Netherlands, we had a different social media platform. But with the introduction of Facebook, everybody switched.

  23. Sallie Borrink
    Sallie Borrink  • 6 years ago

    After thinking about it for the better part of a year and creating an exit strategy, I completely left Facebook in April. I deleted my personal account as well as my website pages. I have no regrets other than missing some people I interacted with regularly on Facebook, but now rarely do.

    As far as my website/business, it hasn’t suffered at all. I’ve been more focused on what I truly want to accomplish. I no longer have to think about Facebook at all so I can focus on creating quality content, SEO, my email list, creating my products, and Pinterest (which is by far my biggest referrer).

    Ironically, I read your post on a day my Facebook traffic has skyrocketed because someone shared one of my posts that still goes viral from time to time. So there is still power there, but my blogging friends who are still using Facebook all say it has dropped to virtually nothing and they hardly mess with it any longer.

    Adapt and survive. That’s the name of the game!

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Thank you so much for your input! Very brave to quit facebook al together. Although it does not bring us much traffic (but still a little) and no sales whatsoever, I am hesitant of leaving. I feel that being in someones feed raises brand awareness. That’s really hard to measure though. The only real way of finding out is leaving facebook and measuring the impact of that. Reading your story, it could well be that I am overestimating the brand awareness-impact.

  24. Fernando Saling
    Fernando Saling  • 6 years ago

    I provide service to a customer who has health products store. Until about a year ago, advertising on Facebook generated access and sales. Now, it does not make much difference to advertise or even post.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Interesting! So even advertising does not work anymore!

  25. Nworie Lawrence
    Nworie Lawrence  • 6 years ago

    Hi, am a user of Yoast in my new site myeduscholars.com
    What you discussed is the truth, i thought i was the only one experiencing this too. I run group of 31, 440k members in facbook but each time i share contents from my first site, i rarely see 1 or 2 traffics from facebook. It was terrible. The group aim wasn’t realised and it affected my motivation.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      thank you for your input!

  26. Mike Hardaker
    Mike Hardaker  • 6 years ago

    Focus on organic ways to reach your customers that you can control like your newsletter that I clicked through to read this article.

    I worked for a popular ski film company about 7 years ago, we had 300,000+ fans we had built, we would do a post and reach most of them. Then an algorithm change happened and Facebook decided to allow us to only reach 10% of our fans. So overnight we started talking to 30,000 people vs 300,000. That is unless we wanted to pay to boost a post.

    Tread lightly with Instagram, its actually horrible for business when you look at CTR…

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Thanks for your input! Instagram is indeed really hardly useful in order to attract traffic to your site. I am trying to share seo tips directly on Instagram. We’ll see how it goes. I am having fun with it, so that’s a plus!

  27. Cindy DeJager
    Cindy DeJager  • 6 years ago

    I have really noticed a decline in visitors and my posts don’t seem to go anywhere unless I share them between groups that I belong to or pay to boost them. (And even boosting them is not as effective as just simply sharing the post). I am a publisher of a digital magazine and so I guess I am one of those publishers that Facebook doesn’t care about, however I do find my groups are quite active and I’ll likely hang in with Facebook for awhile longer.
    As for other social media platforms, I am not a fan of Instagram. I use Twitter quite a bit as my alternative to Facebook.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Groups are indeed doing well on Facebook. We notice the same. And for us, twitter has always been really important as well. Thanks so much for your input!

  28. Marcus Tibesar
    Marcus Tibesar  • 6 years ago

    I thought Instagram is Facebook.

    Didn’t Facebook buy Instagram?

    By the way your Illustrator continues to do amazing artwork, and I like to read your blog posts if only to view the drawings!

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      You’re absolutely right. Facebook owns instagram. But the two platforms are very different. Instagram seems to have a younger user base. My son uses it as well :-).

  29. Fabio
    Fabio  • 6 years ago

    For my little experience seems like Facebook tends to penalize outgoing traffic like blog posts while i notice a good engagment when the discussion stays on the blue platform. We will see what happends?

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      I think you’re right! And, indeed, we’ll have to wait and see!

  30. Ragil
    Ragil  • 6 years ago

    I think now is time to move from Facebook to Instagram because in my country, people not anymore using Facebook as a social media or checking their home feed but only for communities group.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      We’ll see you at Instagram!

  31. Bruce Gerencser
    Bruce Gerencser  • 6 years ago

    My Facebook traffic has dropped 90% over the past year or so. The only reason I continue to post to my page is that I have a small number of readers who always access my site through Facebook.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      That’s shocking! thanks for sharing this with us!

  32. Rob van de Wetering
    Rob van de Wetering  • 6 years ago

    Business wise it looks like Instagram gives us more call to action then Facebook on the moment. My private Facebook account? I still love it, living in New Zealand with my family still living in the Netherlands, it’s still the best way to keep ‘informed’ what going on.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      I still love facebook as well. But with lots of people leaving, it is less fun. I feel bad for my grandmother who loves facebook, because it let’s her be part of the lives of her grandchildren. But us grandchildren are posting less and less. Thank you for your input!

  33. Muhammad Shahid
    Muhammad Shahid  • 6 years ago

    You are right, I have also observed decline in facebook traffic and also people are not interested to click the links to go to other pages from FB timeline.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Thank you for your input!

  34. Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)
    Tunde Sanusi (Tuham)  • 6 years ago

    I thought i was the only one who noticed that!
    However facebook chatbot still rocks

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      You’re certainly not the only one! I’ve been replying to lots and lots of comments and everybody seems to notice a drop! Thank you so much for your input!

  35. Tim
    Tim  • 6 years ago

    Your Facebook presence is a Page, which tends to be your articles, and a few readers’ reactions. Pages are rarely as interactive as FB Groups which usually have more contributions from readers.
    If this is right, wouldn’t it be worth creating a group on FB? It should be easier than starting a new presence on a different platform.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      We’re definitely considering a group… that could indeed be a great strategy. I don’t know why we haven’t done it yet, actually. I am going to talk about this in our next marketing meeting. We’ll need to be a bit more interactive, so that’ll be a challenge. Thank you so much!

  36. Chris
    Chris  • 6 years ago

    I personally get more traffic via Facebook more than ever. I wondered is this down to my competitors pulling away from the platform opening up a bigger slice for myself but Facebook is still a huge part for my site traffic.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Great to hear! it could indeed be the case that you’re profiting from the fact your competitors are focussing less on facebook. Or maybe, you’re just doing really well. Thanks for your input!

  37. Sajjad
    Sajjad  • 6 years ago

    Instagram is powerful social network now and it is time to migrate Facebook to Instagram!

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      see you on Insta!

  38. David LeBlanc
    David LeBlanc  • 6 years ago

    Yes, clients of mine report drops in Facebook traffic, particularly one who operates a couple of sites selling women’s clothing. The switched emphasis to Instagram and Pinterest.

    I have dropped the my Facebook pages for privacy reason as have several people I know, or their usage has tailed off, privacy being one of the issues.

    Also, there seems to be a nascent reviving interest in blogs again, which is good for my business.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      thank you so much for your input!

  39. Martha Cranford
    Martha Cranford  • 6 years ago

    Yes it is harder to reach our audiences through Facebook! It seems to work better for small local businesses that can tag individuals and share personal content. Your page has over 100 times the followers of our page yet we get more interaction from our posts. I am not sure how larger businesses can make Facebook work for them. Look forward to watching your results with Instagram and possibly following your lead.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      You’re right, we do not have much interaction. We never had. People tend to reply on our blogposts and we like having the conversation on our own site (instead of on Facebook). This could well be the reason we’re not doing that well on facebook. Interaction seems to be a key thing in getting more traffic. Thank you for your input!

  40. Ignatius
    Ignatius  • 6 years ago

    I think that Africa is still very strong in Facebook. There is still a huge reaction to posts and a lot of people connect with companies. For us twitter is not as strong though.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      That’s very interesting! thank you for sharing this with us!

  41. Brittany Bly
    Brittany Bly  • 6 years ago

    It’s a misunderstanding to think that Facebook should or will be driving traffic to your website. Users on Facebook are there for Facebook, not for individual publishers! And Facebook is in no way incentivized to encourage people to leave the platform to visit a publisher’s website. Luckily, there are some great organic strategies businesses can use that keep people on the platform instead of encouraging them to leave. Publishers should consider how they can use Facebook Events, Groups, and Video more effectively.

    • Marieke van de Rakt

      Those are great tips! Thank you!