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  • Writer's pictureRobert Brandl

Has your review site lost significant traffic since November? I have a theory of what's going on

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

In my last post, I already asked whether Google is on a rampage against review websites.


Tons of affiliate review websites are losing high amounts of traffic right now in favor of larger brands like Forbes.


But some review sites seem to be hit much harder than others.


Examples of review sites that lost substantial traffic


While there are endless review sites that are in a worse position compared to where they were before November 2022, a few of them are dropping like a rock.


And I found one commonality: They have done one or more domain redirects at some point.


Let's look at a few examples and start with the website tools and hosting niche.


Tooltester.com (DR* 78)

*Domain Rating according to Ahrefs


My own site has seen a very nasty drop despite our team putting a ton of effort into the site.


As part of our rebranding, we have carried out 3 domain redirects to tooltester.com:

  • websitetooltester.com in 2021 - read more about it (DR 76)

  • chattoltester.com also in 2021 (DR 49)

  • and most recently, howtogetonline.com (DR 71)

tooltester traffic

WebsiteSetup.org (DR 83)

Similar to our site, this graph looks pretty extreme, too. Despite the high DR.


I found the following redirect:

  • hostingfacts.com (DR 77)

example website traffic

Ecommere-Platforms.com (DR 79)

Another one with a sharp drop.


This one has many domain redirects:

  • ecommercerules.com (DR 48)

  • websitebuilders.net (DR 21)

  • dropshippingstartup.com (DR 18)

  • designreviver.com (DR 58) - this is a 302 redirect

  • inspiredm.com (DR 64) - also a 302 redirect

example website 3 traffic

Digital.com (DR 87)

Not even a super strong domain seems to protect you from this turbulence.


Here, too, we are seeing two important redirects:

  • whoishostingthis.com (DR 81)

  • whatsmyuseragent.com (DR 57)

example website 4 traffic

Larryludwig.com (DR 70)

A domain with a lower DR than the other ones. Also losing traffic fast.


These are the redirects:

  • shivarweb.com (DR 70)

  • bloggerdesign.com (DR 9)

example website 5 traffic

Sleepopolis.com (DR 74)

Let's look at a different niche: mattress reviews. It's a similar story.


This site has redirects from:

  • sleepyti.me (DR 63)

  • jetlagrooster.com (DR 52)

example website 6 traffic

Electric-Biking.com (DR 60)

And finally, an example from the cycling niche.


Their redirect comes from:

  • goskyride.com (DR 58)

example website 7 traffic

So, what is happening?


My best guess is that Google is trying to fight spammy domain redirects here. It's an ongoing fight for Google to devalue unnatural links. Since October 2022, there have been two Google Spam Updates, and maybe one of them contained a new, much tougher way to deal with redirects.


If you redirect an entire domain, it can obviously boost not only your traffic, but also your page rank. So I could well imagine that preventing these types of manipulations, especially using expired domains, are high on their agenda.


Now I can only speak for the case of my own site with certainty, but whenever we've redirected a domain to Tooltester, it wasn't to be manipulative but rather to push forward our unified Tooltester brand. We always copied over most of the old website's content and fully integrated it into Tooltester.


It would be a shame if this was indeed the thing that is hitting us right now. The same is true for all the other sites, of course, most of them are small businesses, many with employees.


Let's hope someone at Google is reading this and will take a look at it 🙏


Update:


There's an interesting discussion on Twitter, make sure you check out the replies:


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