EP37: Understanding Google Algorithm Updates for Website Buyers and Investors – Domain Magnate

EP37: Understanding Google Algorithm Updates for Website Buyers and Investors

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In this episode of the Domain Magnate Show, Michael Bereslavsky talks about the Google algorithm updates and everything you need to know about it as a buyer or investor in content websites.

HOST BIO:

Michael Bereslavsky is the founder and CEO of Domain Magnate. He’s been involved in various internet-based businesses since 2004 and quickly graduated from building, promoting, and monetizing websites to buying and selling them. With over a decade of experience, Michael and Domain Magnate has managed 300+ successful deals.

SCREENSHOTS:


(https://moz.com/google-algorithm-change)

SKIP TO THE GOOD PARTS:

  • 00:14 – 01:27 What is Google’s main objective and assessing risk for different websites
  • 01:27 – 02:31 A change in December that caused some sites to loose 80-90% of revenue
  • 03:50 – 04:53 Understand this principle to assess a website’s risk
  • 06:01 – 07:30 How Domain Magnate evaluates websites

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

00:14 Hello, and welcome. In this episode, I’m going to talk about Google algorithm updates everything you need to know about it as a buyer or investor in content websites. So, Google’s main objective is to provide good search results relevant to the visitor and they do it by constantly tweaking and updating their algorithm. So, in this episode, we are going to discuss more about it so that you can understand all that you need to know in order to, assess the risk to different websites and understand why do revenues dropped so sharply on content and affiliate sites when there is an update. So, as you can see here there are quite a few updates and there have been a lot of them in the past decade or two that since Google started doing it and you see that the rather minor updates that happen maybe every, every couple months, and then there is a major core updates that happen usually twice a year.

01:27 So, the last one in December 3rd was quite devastating; to the point that most people I know who manage websites or operate portfolios of content websites, they’ve had some websites that got hit and lost traffic from that update. And some of them lost like 80 or 90% of traffic, which is absolutely horrible while others only lost like 20, 40%. So, the updates could really hurt a website a lot. And that’s the first thing to understand, however, if you, if you understand why it happens, you don’t need to be afraid of it. And what I’ve seen recently is many investors just look at this and say, I don’t want to deal with content sites at all. And they just decide to go to a completely different route .Well, the truth is each platform, each type of business has its own risks.

02:31 So, specifically for content sites having a better understanding of what causes these losses in traffic in the update will help you prevent them. And the purpose of the Google updates recently has been to target lower quality sites. So, this is specifically sites that are made for revenue, sites that are new, sites that are using very aggressive SEO techniques, such as buying a lot of links or building a lot of links quickly, sites that are overly commercial that try to sell you something that most of the pages listing different affiliate offers and comparing affiliate offers , sites that promote Amazon affiliate a lot as well. And generally sites that don’t provide as much informational and educational content and focus more on commercial intent. As well as sites that don’t have an established author, sites that don’t have very good quality of content.

03:50 So, there is a lot of different factors like that. But it’s also easy…you don’t have to compare and understand each factor and, apply it you just need to understand the general principle and the general principle is Google wants quality websites. So, what I usually do is when I visit a website, I would just ask myself, is it providing value to the visitor? Is it useful? Is it interesting? And if it’s something I’ve searched in Google, let’s say I’ve searched’ Why do cats smell’? And then it gives me some results and I click on all of the results and what would I ask myself? What would I expect to see on this website, when I searched this, I would probably expect to see an article or a video that explains why cats smell and maybe has a longer explanation, different reasons for different types of smell mean, and then also probably some sources.

04:53 And I also expect to see a reputable author, someone that maybe has a degree or in Catology and someone who actually understands the topic well so that’s very important. I would also like to see potentially pictures of cats and sources, potentially some scientific sources or some, some, some links to other sources that explain that. I also expect to see a page that is occasionally updated. So, it should be something that has some new information coming from time to time and that’s basically it. So that’s the way Google looks at it as well. So ,that’s the kind of page they want to find and present to me. So, if instead, it’s a page that just has a lot of affiliate offers and doesn’t provide enough informational content, that’s probably not a very good website, and that’s a very easy way to look at it when you evaluate the website.

06:01 And so what we usually do at Domain Magnet is we look at a different parameters. So, first of all just looking at the website and reading some content of course, and asking yourself, is it interesting? Does this content answer my question? Does this content allow me to learn something new about this topic, that’s one thing. And also like reading it to see that it’s actual content that’s like written by an actual person, not something that’s just overly optimized for Google. And once you’ve read quite a few of those, you’ll be able to see easily. Next go to a deeper analysis of backlinks and the history. So, often they see a lot of sites that use a lot of very aggressive SEO techniques, and we try to avoid those PBNs, private blog networks, and a lot of guests posts and paid links. And this might work in the short term. But eventually in most cases, Google is going to catch up to those sites and penalize them for it so, it’s best to simply them. And then next, we would also look at does this website have a good mix of informational and commercial content? So, it’s not just product reviews but it has a lot of informational articles as well.

07:30 We would also look at how aggressively is it monetized. Now it’s also common to see websites that just have ads everywhere. If it’s not affiliate site, site, that’s monetized through ad networks, you would often see just pop up and ads like covering the entire page to the point that it’s difficult to look at the content and that hurts the user experience a lot so, we try to avoid doing that as well. And then also we would look at the authors, who are the authors is it just some freelance writer that doesn’t have a profile, doesn’t have a name, or is it someone that has some established authority in the niche that has a profile. And it has their own site, has some articles published on reputable publications like Forbes or New York times and that also plays an important role. Another important thing is just looking at the age and history.

08:31 So, if it’s a website that’s been around for, one year and, and it’s kind of like going up like that and often buys our like that because it shows that’s a huge growing trend trajectory, but that’s generally not good because as we know what comes up also goes down. So, I personally prefer sites with a stable or maybe go up very slowly because that’s a more natural trend. So, we look at the trends and we generally target businesses if at least two or three years of history, history of revenue, history of stable traffic, as that means the side has been through multiple Google updates and has been ranking consistently. So, there is a very low risk that the site would get hit by an update. And in general, if you compare a site that’s like one year old or even a little bit longer, but it like went up like that, like crazy recently in traffic versus a site that’s been stable, a site that went up is much more likely to do go down, its much more likely to get hit by a Google update.

09:49 So, to summarize it, what’s really important is just understanding the purpose of those Google updates. It is to target lower quality websites and to rank high quality websites that provide better user experience at the top and the way you can quickly review it and understand if it’s a high-risk or low-risk site is looking at age. How long has it been earning consistent revenue, looking at backlinks, this might be a little bit more complicated. So, if you don’t know how to use tools like HRS or SEMrush or others, you can skip that step and then look at content. Is it good quality content? Do you enjoy reading the articles? And for me, sometimes I look at the website and I read an article and then I just go and read another and another one. And that’s the sign that it’s actually pretty good content.

10:54 While other times they might read an article and I would just like read a paragraph and think this doesn’t make sense. It just reads, like it was built by a machine, not by a person like it wasn’t written by a person. And then I would just read another and it was just repetitive and it’s just annoying because it doesn’t provide me any new information. It just kind of repeats the same thing and it’s clear that the address targeting the keywords, they are creating the content for Google, not for people and that’s not good. And then next also look at look at the overall user experience is it a good template? Is there like, are there a lot of ads ,is a website structured properly, all those kinds of things.

11:42 So, if you buy a website that has good user experience and provides good value and has been around for some time, the risks of getting hit by Google updates are much, much lower compared to a new website that’s using some aggressive SEO. And that’s generally what we do at the Domain Magnet recently we’ve stopped buying any new websites. We only acquire established businesses that have a consistent history of revenue and traffic, and that don’t use any black hat SEO techniques. So, that’s it. Thank you for watching. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me directly at [email protected]

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