MailOnline takes brutal hit from Google algorithm update

A MailOnline SEO has admitted to a big traffic hit from a Google change.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

Now, this has got to hurt. Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz has noticed a rather interesting posting in an SEO forum:

Jesus Mendez, the SEO Director at MailOnline, which operators, has admitted publicly that the site took a massive hit by the June 2019 Google core update which began rolling out June 3rd. He said the site "lost 50% of daily traffic" because of this Google update.

This will be the same MailOnline that has already taken a battering since the Facepocalypse of last year, with Facebook referrals down?

The site has confirmed the accuracy of the post to Press Gazette:

The spokesperson continued that while loss of traffic beyond the outlet’s control was “frustrating”, impact on revenue had been “negligible because we make the vast majority of our money from direct traffic to our home pages and apps which are unaffected”.

Colour me skeptical: the SEO-optimisation of the MailOnline’s pages is so heavy that I struggle to believe that the impact is quite that negligible. This feels like positive spin, especially when Mendez talked about a drop of "over 50% of daily traffic".

If I had to guess, I would imagine that the site has been caught up in Google's attempts to clamp down on "aggregated" write-though content of stories first seen on other sites. It is just a guess, though.

However, it’s hard to disagree with this:

“Indeed, this episode, once again, underlines the wisdom of the strategy of concentrating on our own audience rather than relying on third party platforms,” they added.

But how do you grow that audience with reduced Google and Facebook presence…?

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.