πŸ’£ Google destroyed these sites

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I’ve had some incredible responses to emails from the last couple of weeks.

The kind that make you go WOAAAAMYGOD Google sucks.

Several subscribers reached out with me to share their stories about what’s happened with their sites.

I think those are worth sharing to understand the impact of Google’s power and influence.

And help to really hammer home the point: easy Google traffic is gone.

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On to the Google destruction…

Google destruction #1: JustCreative.com

Jacob from JustCreative reached out to tell me:

A downward spiral for us at justcreative.com/blog with a sharp drop with the latest update.

This is an interesting one to look at since the beginning of the drop seems to have happened during December 2022.

Those could be related to the December 2022 helpful update or the link spam update when it first began.

They took a positive bump from the February 2023 product reviews update which seems to align with the site’s content and deep reviews.

But then possibly another jump around during the September 2023 HCU, or October’s spam or core update.

All of them together has just seen a constant decline for the site.

Interestingly, the brand has some deep authority in the creative/brand design spaces and the author offers direct consulting services, has a design-related podcast, etc.

The major constant with this project is that there are plenty of “best” roundups and review contentβ€”which who knows, might be a general trigger for a great clappening over time. Whether they are great quality or not is a another thing.

Jacob said that this business has been put on the backburner:

It’s on the backburner, not reinvesting apart from small news updates and keeping some content fresh.
Also started a new site in a different niche as a testing ground.

I completely understand his decision to not put too much time into it anymore.

The time, sweat equity, and potential cost it could take to recover a site like this is so significant that sometimes the best business decision is to just sit on your hands and focus on something else.

Google destruction #2: OutdoorOnly.nl

Patrick saw a very steep and sudden decline with OurdoorOnly:

My (outdoor) niche site is still going down.

It’s pretty clear that the September 2023 helpful core update really started smashing his site.

Patrick avoided most black-hat strategies, trying to do everything “white-hat”

We have real expert in our niche (not writers). We have tested most of the products ourselves. No AI content writing (only for outline and grammar checking). We did linkbuiling, but I think 99% of all websites do this. We have a custom template (special build). We use our own photos.
I have updated many pages for typos or adding some details, I use [year] to automatically change the year in the meta title, I have a TOC on top of every page, I have an FAQ on every post.

Since it’s in Dutch, I can’t give much of an analysis on his site except after translating I immediately notice several “best” articles.

Is there a commonality here that “best” of anything just makes you a SERP spammer in Google’s eyes?

Patrick also mentioned using a dynamic current year in the title, as well as having a table of contents and FAQ on every page. Perhaps these kind of things are adding to the commonality that Google’s ML uses to clap with.

Or maybe it doesn’t actually matter because he’s not the outdoor equivalent of Forbes.

He hasn’t been completely disheartened, yet, as they are putting a plan of action into recovering the site:

This was a second slap in the face, but i’m not giving up yet! I made a plan to recover and put some extra effort into making the site more helpful.
Let’s see how that will work out. I’m hoping to be back next year around this time.

Patrick posted a thread on X sharing his site history which gives good context behind the site.

Maybe the way forward for OutdoorOnly is pivoting into the ecommerce side where there is plenty of opportunity for outdoorsy types wanting to buy outdoor products in the Netherlands.

Google destruction #3: Parenting niche site

The final example is of a true authority and expert in the parental niches has seen a constant decline since a year ago:

I don’t think my main site was “hit” in that I don’t see a drastic decline in traffic. I said drastic, because there is a decline. When I look at semrush now, new competitors are popping up.
Two of them are sites that are 6 months old. Their content is all AI, including the images. The “about” profile or EEAT is a complete joke, even a stock image of a woman who is all over the internet if you do a reverse search.
I’ve been a special education advocate (my niche) for 15 years. I’m one of the best in the country. I have thousands of organic backlinks because I’m damn good at my job. My site is all hand written by me, based on my experiences as an advocate in the real world.
Yet google thinks that “Jane Doe” with her stock image, “suspicious” backlink profile (on semrush) and her 6 month old site filled exclusively with AI content is a better source of information than I am.
And these are my top posts, YOY, in GSC. That’s actual clicks. Or not-clicks, as the case may be. The further down the list I go, the higher the numbers get:

Ultimately, this creators’ perspective is that they are now well and truly burnt out on fighting back, as she ends with:

Google can go fuck themselves.

Yep, I feel that.

Overall I see these as examples to how Google doesn’t give a damn about you and your site and trusting Google to deliver you visitors on a plate is long gone.

But it’s a great time to pick yourself up and pivot into something that actually stands a chance of workingβ€”but you’ll likely need to change your perspective and do something completely new to you.

It is a massive help to be surrounded by others who are pivoting successfully or where you can learn from verifiable experiments into new paths for digital entrepreneurs.

That’s why I’m building something that fills that need with Jamie I.F. and James Oliverβ€”it’s almost here.

It’s called the Conversion Collective.

You can sign up for the waiting list here and we’ll let you know when it’s launching.

Are you already pivoting into something new? Reply and tell me about it, I really want to know.


If you enjoyed this newsletter, please do “add to contacts” and drop me a reply to tell me what you think (it really helps with email deliverability). If you don’t get any value from this, unsubscribe.

Until next time β€” Joe

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