Google launched its renowned November Core Update last month which left drastic effects on the search engine visibility of some websites. Some websites’ visibility declined which made them lose a percentage of their usual organic traffic from search while others improved and saw a high spike in the traffic.
In this article, we are making an analysis of brownmed.org, the website that got the biggest traffic boost and increment of its search engine visibility up to 348% after Google's November Core Update that was announced on 15th November 2021.
The shocking thing is that was discovered in this analysis was that the site used a shady method to take advantage of the Google core update which ultimately worked out for them. Read along to know what they did to take advantage of the core update, how they did it, and the results they got in terms of traffic growth.
About the Site
Brownmed.org is a website that provides multi-specialty medical information. Its owned by a non-profit organization of physicians in Rhode Island, USA. Its domain name was first registered in October 2017 and last renewed in October 2021, just a month before the core update.
Before the 15th of November, the site was receiving less than 5 000 visitors per month from organic SEO traffic. Everything changed starting from 15th November when Google announced its core update.
What Really Happened
Brownmed.org published tons of low-quality doorway pages under its domain name. Doorway pages also known as gateway pages are pages created to rank for specific, similar search queries without offering useful information to the searcher. A common doorway page is one that has multiple lists of keywords that are associated with links to other pages of the website like the page below.
Such pages don’t offer any value to the searcher but they get tons of organic traffic that is directed to other pages of the site. They force the visitors to spend more time on the site and view more pages than is required. This is beneficial to the site owner since it improves their metrics in the eyes of search engines and advertising.
Websites with such pages were red-flagged by google in March 2015, when Google declared that it was cracking down on pages designed exclusively for search engine ranking, without regard for user experience.
Doorway pages hack by brownmed.org
On the 15th of November, brownmed.org published many of these doorway pages which made the website’s traffic grow extremely fast. The site published these pages during the time of the core update and it deleted them a couple of days after so that it goes unnoticed by Google.
After analyzing the website’s top pages report on Ahrefs, we clearly see that all pages responsible for this growth were new and have suspicious URLs. However, the site published these pages during the time of the core update and it deleted them a couple of days after so that it goes unnoticed by Google.
All of the links to the pages on this list now redirect to a 404 error page which means that they have been deleted, however, we can still check them out in the google cache.
Here is one of those deleted doorway pages made by brownmed.org, https://www.brownmed.org/interestingness861273.html.
As you can see there is randomly generated low-quality content on the page about a topic that doesn’t match the medical website at all. This is a typical doorway page.
All of these pages were deleted and cleaned by the owners one week after the core update took place, hence making a clean getaway before being subjected to be punishment by Google.
This case study explains some exciting insights which are:
With this analysis, we hope that you have got an idea or two on how this website was to go on top of the core update changes. We believe this strategy can work for any site as long as it's done with the right timing and the doorway pages are cleared before Google gets to notice.