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Sports News Site Case Study: +150% Traffic Increase After Algorithm Recovery

Issue

The client came to me after falling out of Top Stories, and also after failing to figure it out on their own or find an agency that could solve the issue.

With this being a sports news website, this Top Stories conundrum was extremely serious and saw them take a significant hit to revenue. A solution was needed, and fast.

Strategy

First, I sought to rule out a technical issue. During this audit, I uncovered some image and redirect issues and put in some dev tickets.

Second, I audited their content. I found tens of thousands of pages that were almost a decade old, and extremely thin. In their haste to “be first” and get the story out, they had built up a stable of pages that were only about one paragraph long. We set out to remove pages that were not producing any rankings, traffic, or authority for the site.

Finally, I wanted to ensure that if we were removing poor content, we were producing the best possible content moving forward. I provided simple but effective editorial best practices for their authors to follow.

Results

After solving these issues, the site returned to Top Stories overnight. We tested a number of athlete and team -based queries and consistently saw the site featured in this section of Google’s search results. After feeling confident the issue was solved, I provided the team additional guidance and best practices to future-proof the site, and while volatility has certainly been part of the story since then (and for many news sites), their baseline traffic is currently holding very strong.

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