Was TechCrunch Penalized By Google?

Jul 17, 2013 • 9:04 am | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

techcrunch logoJoe Hall posted at Threadwatch that Google may have penalized TechCrunch, one of the most popular blogs on the internet.

He looked at SEM Rush and Search Metrics data for the past few months and noticed a significant drop in search visibility for TechCrunch in Google's search results.

Here is the three month chart from Search Metrics:

click for full size

As you can see, the decline looks pretty significant, but to be honest, when it comes with news sites, stories can hit big one day and have a huge skew in the visibility it sees even in the search results.

TheNextCorner commented at Threadwatch and said if you look at the 2 year Search Metrics report, the recent decline doesn't look bad at all. He said, "but over 2 years, they still look quite good." Here is the chart:

click for full size

Do you think Google penalized TechCrunch? Is it just less overall searches for what TechCrunch is covering? Less hot breaking stories? Or maybe it was is nothing?

Forum discussion at Threadwatch.

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07/17/2013 01:38 pm

Don't know but if the advertorials penalty really is in effect, TC is a good candidate. But to be honest, a majority of these type of sites fall under that category and I can't really imagine Google doing anything about it.


07/17/2013 02:36 pm

The problem with using these datasets is that they are limited to have they are able to report, thus not giving you an accurate imagery as to what is actually happening with a site that you are looking at, instead they are used more of an indicator within an array of other tools by many. Your problem comes from the fact that the graphs are keyword search orientated, meaning that if for some reason TechCrunch were to rank for a specific singular keyword one week and then the story pass, it would look like there was a huge drop when really it was a term that they weren't bothered about. "Dear TechCrunch.... Just to let you know that your visibility dropped by 27,000 as per Search Metrics, meaning that you slipped from position 3 for car to position 1000...." Anyone care to hazard a guess as to what their response would be? Example ranking from SearchMetrics as of time of posting: Keyword: goog Position: 9 in .com Just imagine their delight if they were to rank number 1 for that term...

Michael Martinez

07/17/2013 02:57 pm

These charts are meaningless.

Dr Who

07/17/2013 03:09 pm

so meaningless people pay fortune to subscribe to see these "charts" eh? :)


07/17/2013 03:22 pm

I would never render these graphs as meaningless as long as they were used alongside other tools and analysis. They offer an insight but not enough to make an uninformed blogpost... ;)

Phillip Marquez

07/17/2013 03:42 pm

Totally agree with Alex and Michael above (er, below). While I cannot speak officially about anything related to my work, I've seen much hoopla about how Pandenguin impacted our Fortune 200 company but looking at our real numbers and KPIs... I didn't even bat an eye. Speculation from the outside is mostly meaningless with the occasional lucky correlation. It's fun to try and figure things out with a limited dataset, but I wouldn't put any faith in anyone's random observation. I mean, the only reason the guy spent 5 minutes grabbing data was because of a mistake in a completely different article. It's not like he has spent months (or years) observing and analyzing Techcrunch's search data; he pulled data on a whim and saw something in a limited dataset -- 3 months of (external) data... C'mon now. Don't get me wrong, I like Joe Hall and the IMN team. I think they do great stuff, but I think he seriously jumped the gun on this one.

Michael Martinez

07/17/2013 06:01 pm

Well, you need to look at this kind of data in a context provided by other data. Just plucking visibility charts off a service (no matter how reputable) doesn't reveal anything.

Pedro Dias

07/17/2013 10:02 pm

Agree with Michael. These are weak assumptions made over meaningless data (when looked at in an isolated way like this).

Larry Kim

07/17/2013 10:16 pm

not sure this is newsworthy...

Agtunn Naymin

07/18/2013 08:26 am

I think it is normal for TC

Stephen Moyers

07/18/2013 10:31 am

We can't say anything if Google is penalizing Mozilla, Forbes and other big players in the industry so it might also penalized Tech crunch.

Saifi Rizvi

07/18/2013 11:14 am

Well in dayz all updates are little bit annoying . You can't even predict what exactly comes in another new updates.

Nikhil Chandra

07/18/2013 12:07 pm

This post is taking Google Updates and its impact too far. These graphs are only good for speculation but not for any conclusions. This is exactly what Avinash Kaushik refers to as compound metrics. And the problem with compound metrics is that you don't know what causes the final number to happen. You don't know the focusing factors, hence you are blind to why things go up/down and was TeleCrunch penalized by Google. Why was this even considered newsworthy? Making assumption over an isolated data. I bet guys at Telecrunch would be laughing their a** off after reading this update.


07/18/2013 12:31 pm

I also compared the similar category websites (Mashable, VentureBeat) for both SearchMetrics and SEMrush - it shows the decline trend from those 3 sites - i wonder it must be something interesting on. This is speculating not the conclusion that it actually declined.

gregory smith

07/18/2013 08:57 pm

Hi, I absolutely agree. Any qualified Search Optimizer would NEVER make a speculation such as this publicly. This is absolutely obsurd and might very well call for a law suite. Greg Smith

gregory smith

07/18/2013 08:59 pm

This blog has went downhill over the years.. This should have never been published online, let along on this site..

Nikhil Chandra

07/19/2013 02:41 am

I can understand. That's exactly the problem with data aggregators. They somehow know that isolated data are meaningful as opposed to the real guys who know how not to analyse a particular metrics in isolation :-)

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