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June 7, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:53am

Mail Online search traffic halves after Google algorithm update

By James Walker

Mail Online has seen its traffic from Google halved after an algorithm change, according to its head of search engine optimisation.

The news website’s SEO director Jesus Mendez revealed yesterday in a Google support forum post that an update on 3 June to the search engine led to Mail Online seeing its daily traffic from Google fall by 50 per cent.

A Mail Online spokesperson confirmed that the details revealed in the post had come from Mendez.

Mendez said in the post: “The day after the broad core algorithm update (3 June) we saw a massive drop in search traffic from Google (lost 50 per cent 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 per cent and has not improved. This is across all verticals, devices, AMP and non-AMP.”

He went on to say the decline in search traffic was “much more pronounced” in the UK compared to the US.

Mendez added: “This is weird because the UK is our home region and historical drops have always been much more prominent in the US.”

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A Mail Online spokesperson said the update had had an impact “but only on our non-brand search”.

They added: “We have been working with Google to figure out what is going on but the people we are speaking to there are as baffled as we are.

“But they assure us the Mail has not been specifically targeted and we are working together constructively to figure out what is happening.

“It will take several more days for the core update to take full effect so we will have to wait to see how it settles down.”

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”.

“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.

SEO firm Sistrix published a blog earlier this week that claimed Mail Online saw its visibility fall by 43 per cent as a result of the Google Search algorithm changes.

But it also claimed that the websites of several other UK outlets – including The Sun, Mirror Online and The I Newspaper – saw a boost to their Google visibility after the update.

Press Gazette has asked Google for more information on the latest changes to its search algorithm but has yet to receive a response.

Picture: Mail Online

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