[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Google Algorithm Update Sends Traffic Tumbling

Google's Core Algorithm Update Went Live Earlier This Week & Impacts ALL Sites

Up until Monday morning, the Daily Mail was doing what the Daily Mail does.

Insightful, thought-provoking and educational pieces on Love Island, minority groups, Brexit, Karl Stefanovic and the like.

However, come yesterday afternoon, all was seemingly not well.

Following Google’s latest algorithm update, oddly announced on Sunday ahead of a Monday launch, the Mail’s organic traffic collapsed.

I say *oddly* since Google doesn’t tend to preannounce updates of this nature, so hopefully, this may signify improved communication ongoing from Google.

Fifteen years late, but welcomed nonetheless.

According to a post in the Google Search Console forums by a user claiming to be The Daily Mail’s SEO Director Jesus Mendez:

“The day after the broad core algorithm update (June 3rd) we saw a massive drop in Search traffic from Google (lost 50% of daily traffic). This was a drop over the course of 24-hours and we have not made any changes to the site. Further, we saw our Discover traffic drop by 90% and has not improved. This is across all verticals, devices, AMP and Non-AMP.”  


For a business whose revenue is intrinsically tied to monetising free eyeballs with ads, this update will reverberate against its bottom line for months to come.

Google Search Algorithm Updates

Google, like Facebook, is constantly tweaking and tinkering with its search algorithm throughout the year. However, there are relatively few major, or ‘core algorithm updates’, each year.

Core updates, when they do go live, can have seismic impacts upon search engine results, as per above.

Many of the named algorithms we hear about (Penguin, Panda, Pigeon, etc.) were implemented to address specific faults or issues in Google’s algorithms.

For example, the Penguin update, first announced in 2012, was launched to combat spammy link building practices.

A core update is different.

A core update is a modification to the main search algorithm itself.

There are at least 200 ranking signals which go into Google’s search algorithm. Therefore a core update typically means that there is a fundamental shift in weighting or re-weighting between these factors.

Core algorithm updates are also indicative of Google shifting greater emphasis to machine learning based search rules, rather than its historical human-made algorithms.

We humanoids aren’t as smart as the computers are I.

June’s Core Algorithm Update

As organic reach and referral traffic from social channels has reduced in recent years, many organisations, large and small, are increasingly shifting budget back to search.

Moreover, with good reason, since Google overtook Facebook, again, as a referral source back in 2017. In other words, if you want more web traffic, for free, Google should be more of a focus than Facebook. Even if Google is a bit greedier today than in years gone by.

June’s core algorithm updated impacts all websites globally.

It would be wise to review your organic search traffic this week for movements up or down. Especially for those heavily dependent on organic search traffic, i.e. not for profits, government, publishers and e-commerce.

Best bet is to keep your ear to the ground, in particular on Twitter, and follow the SEO conversation.

Typically, within a week or two of a major update, SEO boffins have got to the crux of the issue and work can begin on rebuilding. If needed.

Is This Another Attack On Quality Journalism?

In an era of fake news (which the Daily Mail vehemently crusades against), who can be certain if the post is *really* Mendez.

However, the Mail’s drop off in traffic has been corroborated elsewhere.

Interestingly, to avoid the drudgery of a yawn-worthy politically infused discussion, it doesn’t seem like all Daily Mail sites have been impacted similarly.

If the post above on the Google forum is kosher, then it appears they’ve taken a hit in the UK, but not the US. Therefore, webmasters in Blighty have some work to do on the back-end.

Although… maybe it’s the EU? Maybe it’s China? Maybe it’s micro-plastics? Maybe it’s Raheem Sterling?

At the moment, we just don’t know, since the update is still rolling out.

Likewise, while the Mail’s down, data from the UK demonstrates The Sun, Mirror and Metro should have all received an uplift. Ergo, it’s clearly not a crusade against media dross.

Check out your data in Google Analytics or Google Search Console today.


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