The dust after Google’s most recent Core Algorithm Update has settled. As always, it’s been a tumultuous time. Many websites saw their visibility change dramatically, other saw little to no change.
I went through the list of losers & winners that are reported by Sistrix with the goal of finding patterns that may have guided this specific update. I found 5 interesting examples.
I wasn’t too picky — I was simply on the lookout for huge drops of websites that were most likely caused by Google’s reevaluation of their quality and their place in search.
Let me share what I’ve found!
Duolingo — a business decision that caused a massive drop
Duolingo.com lost badly. It’s a popular website and app helping millions of users worldwide to learn various languages.
The category on Duolingo.com that got a massive hit in the May 2022 Core Algorithm Update was “dictionary”.
The thing is that… Duolingo no longer offers dictionary entries. All the pages that formerly contained dictionary entries are now being redirected to the homepage.
The timing is very interesting. According to Sistrix, the category got hit exactly as the update started rolling out.
It’s not like Google is going after Duolingo — it’s their business decision to no longer offer a product that got them so much visibility.
It seems that the May Google Core Update was just a catalyst to effectively remove these pages from Google Search.
DesignMyNight — a website occasionally blocking Googlebot
DesignMyNight.com was established in 2011. It provides inspiration for nightlife — it aggregates information on bars, restaurants, and pubs.
They got a massive hit during the latest Google Core Update.
When I took a quick look at the website, I noticed something strange. It seems that they might be blocking Googlebot by mistake.
Obviously, I don’t have access to their Google Search Console, but I am using Google’s Mobile-Friendly test which uses same IP and the same user agent as Googlebot.
Of course, the website may suffer from other issues, but blocking Googlebot in a case of an event website could be enough to make it the weakest link among its competitors.
DualDiagnosis — not enough E-A-T
DualDiagnosis reviews medical products, including weight loss products. Recently they got a massive (82% down) hit in the German market.
Let’s dig into the medical articles published on the website. All entries are written by Ben Lesser who, according to the website, is a freelance medic writer. Their articles are claimed to be medically reviewed by Nina Kohler and Ralf Dietrich.
The thing is when you look at their LinkedIn profiles, which are linked to on the website, it seems like… they are fake. These profiles tell me they are medical practitioners, but not where they practice, where they graduated from, and so on. On top of that, all these profiles have less than 10 connections on LinkedIn, which is pretty uncommon.
Have a look at Ben’s LinkedIn profile and decide for yourself. If you’re still on the fence, google Ben’s name with the German word for “general practitioner” (which is his job as shown on LinkedIn).
Siteslike.com — no added value, no visibility
Siteslike.com is another website that got hit during the latest Google Core Update. The idea for this website is pretty simple — it aggregates sites that are similar to each other.
When you open the website you will notice it’s just a pure aggregator, without any added value. No information about traffic, no additional reviews, no blog posts.
What I miss in websites like this is the lack of content curation. It’s all obviously fully automated. When you look up websites similar to Google.com, among obvious choices like Bing, you will get Expedia, Trulia, Hotels.com, or Wikipedia. Doesn’t make a lot of sense.
According to SimilarWeb (that sounds similar, doesn’t it), this website gets 584 mln visits per month. Well, not anymore.
As a side note, it’s getting most of its organic traffic from NSFW keywords. After this Core Algorithm Update, it’s safe to say that their entire business model wasn’t really safe for work…
Aramanatural.es — a hacked website
Aramanatural.es is a small website selling natural health products.
Ahrefs is estimating its monthly traffic at 2 million. Sounds like a huge company, right?
When I first saw that they lost 96% of their SEO visibility, I was shocked. The pattern was very interesting – the website got extremely popular just after Google’s Product Reviews Update to go back to its previous (minimal) visibility two weeks later. And then after two weeks, they jumped back, just to get obliterated again. A total rollercoaster!
Let’s find out what happened.
When I checked which URLs from Aramanatural.es were indexed on Google I was surprised to find a company that sells natural health products, was also selling watches, shoes, and so on.
It turned out that a website got hacked. Somebody took control over the domain and started using it to sell their own products.
Obviously, we don’t have access to the Google Analytics account for this website, and I don’t know how much traffic the hackers were able to generate. But it’s very interesting that they made this website rank for multiple terms unrelated to the domain’s main topic.
What’s the lesson?
The examples above show that any website can lose its visibility during a Core Algorithm Update.
We tend to try and deconstruct these updates and say: “this update was targeted at medical queries”, “this one was about affiliate websites”. It’s normal, we like to categorize things.
But we tend to omit the cases that show how important content quality and the website’s technical health are during Google’s Core Algorithm Updates.