Why is Hacker News spiking in organic traffic?



Amongst all the chatter of the crackdown on site authority abuse, I decided to have a look at Hacker news to see how it was doing organically.

In stark opposition to most high authority site who push to abuse it for advertising revenue, Hacker news represents a well moderated site that has continued to stick to its original founding principal.

Here is an export from Ahrefs

The raw data suggests that the site has grown from 400K visitors weekly in May 2023 to almost 1.4 million visitors in May 2024.

The SERP feature discussions and forums on Ahrefs shows a steady growth for HN since early December 2023.

For context, here are some things that Hacker News doesn’t do that is “recommended” SEO best practice

  • Doesn’t have friendly search permalinks (uses item?id=403108XX)
  • Uses no Meta tags except the referrer tag and the viewport tag
  • Various Google FU returns no sitemap.xml
  • Adds a 30 second crawl delay in the robots.txt perhaps given the volume of content (Bingbot shrugs)

Here is an old discussion dating back to 2015 where the suggestion was made to make the URLs human readable. Dang responded with

It’s an interesting suggestion, but I’m not sure I clearly see the value, especially compared to the other things we have to do.

(I’m going to demote this thread now, rather than kill it, so anyone who wants to can continue discussing.)


One question I have always wondered is that by making the URLs human readable the HN site will receive a substantial boost in organic rankings but would that ensue redditification of HN ?

Discuss this on HN