Google Likely Penalized TechCrunch


Our story begins yesterday when user GrowMap submitted a story about a change in how Technorati accepts content. In a rush of search geek excitement David Harry wrote up a post about it here. However, David, made a mistake and accidently interpreted the story being about TechCrunch...I reached out to him and he has since changed the post. HOWEVER, it got me thinking about TechCrunch and so i started doing some digging....take a look at this data from SEMRush:

Now my first instict was PENGUIN 2.0 but then I started to look a little more.... SearchMetrics is showing a drop in June not May.

Now of course this is in no way a complete analysis. To be complete we would need access to data that well...only TechCrunch has, but it does raise alot of concerns for them. What do you all think? Has TC been devalued or penalized by Google? Let us know what you think in the comments! oh and also, if anyone from TechCrunch is reading this, I know some folks that can help you understand all of this better. ;)


That shouldn't necessarily be

That shouldn't necessarily be Penguin... I see they've been declining for a while

Good point but....

Alexa just reports traffic, not rankings....and yeah i don't think its Penguin.

I think that it may be just

I think that it may be just as likely that their audience is simply moving on. 2 years ago TC was on my daily look at list. I havn't been there in perhaps 2 months now. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. I feel that the quality of the writing there has seena dramatic drop, the increase in was I refer to press release journalism has grown substantially, and a whole host of other reasons they simply aren't the site they were 2 years ago. At least for me.

This doesn't account for the sudden drop in traffic lst month, but it does account for quite a lot. 

what about the rankings though?

the data I posted, isn't traffic, its rankings....I agree though, I think many of TC's core has gone else where. Especially after Arrington left

Right. And while I have no

Right. And while I have no doubt that traffic/visits play no role in rankings, the loss of readership directly affects the amount of links they generate each day based on sharing and posting etc. And I believe that may play a large role in why they are dropping. Sort of like spiraling down the toilet ;)


Sorry to call this noise instead of a signal. 

I've got access to the full suite of Search metrics, so if you look over the last 2 years, instead of just the free 3 months, you would see that Techcrunch is down over the last couple of weeks in the search visibility index of search metrics, but over 2 years, they still look quite good.

Check the image for the last 2 years 

Now, I do agree that sites like Techcrunch or Mashable carry a risk to be penalized at some point for their over optimization of internal links for major company names. Any article on a large technology company does not even link out anymore, but links to an internal tag page for articles about that company. A major source of traffic for Mashable would come out of SEO for brand names, where they rank on first page for Facebook etc. 

I think it would make sense this practice of black hole SEO would deminish in value for these sites... but according the recent ranking data, it has not

The data point to "boring"

Agreed.  That graph of traffic levels over the last 2 years points to a site that is, overall, healthy from an SEO perspective.  The June drop is just part of their established seasonality where traffic begins to crater into the summer and early fall.


However, that graph, and this one, also point to something that would have me *reallly worried* if I was AOL, or even an editor at TC:



Ever since their acquisition by AOL (point G on the graph), their brand has become less popular.  Back in 2005, TC made their presence known in the startup community as the place where you *had* to be mentioned.  Your startup getting coverage on TC was a big deal.


Now it's more of a "meh" deal.  In an industry where "buzz" and "cool" count for a lot, nothing is an un-cool as getting bought by AOL.  Can you think of anything AOL has touched that isn't incredibly mediocre?  AOL is where innovation goes to die.


As a result of a stellar backlink profile, and prolific editors, TC still gets plenty of organic search traffic.  But TC is turning into another huge hulking black hole on the internet.  It pulls in traffic simply because it's so massive.  But that's why people end up there, not because they seek it out.



You thnk the way to troll for new business is to attempt to do a public outing using a few points of a vague metric?  Perhaps you should read this article I put out there almost 2 years ago on the perils of doing so?





Come again?

I am not outing anything here. I am not trolling for business....tolling for other things? I will let you decide about that! LOL :P Vague metrics? Yep! All metrics outside of Google and TC will be vague.

The point of ThreadWatch is to have a discussion, not prove a point.....if you don't think TC has been hit, then tell us why....thats the point.

Possibly Related??

If you look at the dates of the drops it was around June 5th. There was chatter of an update on June 5th seen across mozcast and the other serp trackers. . A thread discussing it on webmasterworld where two webmasters (Mastersat & Sepsguy) shared copies of their analytics , and showing they were both hit on June 5th. The speculation in the thread is that it's Penguin related but I'm not fully convinced on that but it does look algorithmic with all these sites being hit at the same time.

tc - vs google

Google believes no one should write article against G+ 




It does seem like they are penalized

It does seem like they are penalized. And you're right about how the penalty looks algorithmic. I guess TC has their own share of ups and downs in Google.

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