Detailed Q4: Analysing The SEO Playbook of Digital Goliaths In-Depth, Every Quarter -
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Detailed Q4: Analysing The SEO Playbook of Digital Goliaths In-Depth, Every Quarter

Written by Glen Allsopp | +552 this month
July 13, 2024

Welcome to Detailed Q4: Our fourth quarterly report sharing insights from the companies dominating Google search results and what they’re doing to stay ahead of the competition.

SEO is going through the most significant shift I’ve seen in my career thanks to AI and countless algorithm updates, and as someone with sites, clients and students reliant on search traffic, it’s crucial to know what’s working and whose thriving.

Q4, named after the fourth quarter I’m covering, is my take on how to keep you informed on what the biggest players in this space are doing, as they’re doing it.

The first three reports have now been viewed more than 45,000 times — a number far greater than I could have imagined when I started this series.

It’s always mind-blowing to me when some of my favourite people read what I write. Thank you so much to everyone who helps spread the word.

I don’t take it for granted, and I’ll continue to make these as valuable as I can.

A Quick Note on ‘Outing’ Before I Share 45 Insights from the Last Quarter

Most of what I’m about to share is thanks to tracking updates from Digital Goliaths directly. Companies make interesting announcements that are typically buried between not-so-interesting announcements. I’m simply bringing them to the forefront.

My barometer for what’s fair to cover and what isn’t is whether revealing something would annoy the founder of, or SEO working on, that project. If I think they wouldn’t like it, you won’t see it below.

I’m also not going to reveal anything I believe to be ‘secret’ about a specific business. If there’s something I’m not sure I should share, I reach out to the people involved. Here are some of the kind of responses I get:

In other words, I’m not going to “out” anybody, but I don’t believe that’s required to share a lot of fascinating insights.

Hopefully you’ll agree…


One Year After Launch, NextDoor’s AI-Generated Pages Hit Record Search Traffic Numbers

In Detailed Q2 I revealed Nextdoor announced they saw “almost 300,000 pages created using Gen AI to put out there from an SEO perspective”.

In our last update I mentioned they were up to around 200,000 visitors per month to the new content, via search.

Note: Although Nextdoor announced what they were doing multiple times, they didn’t share the URLs, so I have decided not to share them either.

As I mentioned in the update:

While I agree the pages definitely look like they were put out there from an SEO perspective, they’re not typical AI-generated pages like we’ve become familiar with companies pushing. Instead, assume they’re more like what you would find on sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor.

I think the way they worded things makes the pages sound spammy, but they have their use case.

According to Ahrefs, traffic to these pages has almost tripled since I last checked:

Note that this screenshot does not display one of their “AI-generated” pages (I still wanted to show what Nextdoor looks like for those who aren’t familiar with it), but it does show their estimated search traffic to them.

It appears that with these pages performing well, the publicly-listed company has really ramped up its efforts.

If we zoom in on the date scale and isolate how many pages appear to be involved here, they’ve recently passed the one million URL mark:

Based on what these pages cover, there’s the opportunity for them to create many millions more, and search traffic is likely to follow suit.

One caveat is that I assume the click-through rate on these rankings probably isn’t as high as third-party tools predict.


Pangolia, Owners of Hepper and PetKeen*, Acquire Two Cat Sites and Redirect Them to Catster (And A New Twist)

Cat media brand Catster has seen several people report on their significant search traffic gains in recent months.

Their two-year traffic chart in Ahrefs is far different from what many niche-focused content sites are currently seeing.

I very rarely talk about independent sites and although they were open about the acquisitions, I prefer to blur out exact numbers.

What some people might have yet to notice is that Catster owners Pangolia redirected two pet-focused content sites and then redirected them. (which they already owned) and The Conscious Cat ( – which they acquired) were two of the sites I saw involved.

Normally I wouldn’t cover independent sites in this way, but they’ve picked up a lot of coverage for performing well, and owners Pangolia are very open about their reach and the acquisitions themselves.

Both were given individual announcements on Catster’s blog. Here’s one of them:

Of course, you can’t say for certain these redirects are why Catster is doing well and I don’t think it’s my place to dive in further.

Still, these reports are here to follow the playbook of what successful brands are doing, and acquiring other sites in your space is one of many tactics they use.

Just as I was wrapping up this report it turns out there’s one more twist to the story, which is why PetKeen includes an asterisk in the headline for this section.

As of July, PetKeen – which once reached more than a million visitors each month from search – has been redirected to a new brand called PangoVet.

This time last year Petkeen was reaching an estimated 1.6 million visitors each month from search

PangoVet is a service-focused offering, launching with a $30 promotion to speak to a vet over video call for 20 minutes.

I won’t say I’ve researched this niche and how many competitors they have, but it feels like a logical offering for pet owners.


Daydream Raises An Additional $3.8M to Help Companies Automate Their Programmatic SEO

In Detailed Q3 I introduced Daydream, a startup that had just raised a $2.5M pre-seed to build “the next generation of tools for acquiring users at scale from search.”

Just a few months later they’ve now raised a $3.8M seed round and updated their homepage to show they’re now working with companies like Notion and Product Hunt.

There are differing variations of what people say Programmatic SEO actually is so I thought it would be better to focus on Daydream’s definition.

One example on their site is from Payscale, who have created over 100,000 pages on the type of salary someone could expect to generate for specific jobs in different countries.

Here’s an example:

I just had one slight concern with this case study in that the /research/ folder on Payscale – where the above example resides – has lost almost 63% of its traffic in the last two years according to Ahrefs (which Daydream also use for their case studies).

In other words, even when authoritative sites create pages programmatically, there are no guarantees they’ll maintain their results.

(Of course, you could argue that even if traffic spikes then falls, it was worth it to get the temporary boost in reach).

A better example is another report of theirs on, which hosts over 200,000 currency conversion pages.

In the past six months alone, these pages have seen an estimated increase of 19 million monthly visits from Google.

As a side note, I know I’m getting too nerdy here, but I wonder how accurate tools like Ahrefs and Semrush are on click through rates when Google “solve” an answer directly in search results. It’s possible the clickstream data and models they use account for this, but my understanding is that they don’t.

As an example, here are the search results for the keyphrase which supposedly drives the most traffic to Wise:

Google has that well covered, though I accept they don’t offer the actual transfer or conversion services a company like Wise do.

(I wouldn’t put it past them to be looking into it, though).

The only way to use Daydream’s services right now is to join a waitlist so I have no idea of their pricing or specific offering. I assume the business model is to charge a lot to fewer companies, rather than trying to hit the customer levels of the likes of Semrush.

They have some investors on board that I’m a fan of (such as Eli Schwartz, author of Product-Led SEO), so I’ll keep following their journey and let you know if they open things up further.


Monday Mystery Movie Proves There’s Still Fun (And Search Traffic) to Be Had with Sites Targeting a Very Specific Topic

One of my favourite makers, Mubashar Iqbal, has recently been documenting his success with a niche site he runs,

In March he announced the site was picking up around 3,000 visitors each week, “mostly via SEO”, and had gained over 500 email subscribers.

By June this had grown to over 1,000 subscribers, “with ~55% open rates, and ~15% click rate.”

Mubashar’s site,

Mubs (as he’s more commonly referred) says the site can reach 3-4,000 visits during a week when a theatre chain is having a Monday Mystery Movie event and around 1,000 visitors on weeks they aren’t.

On a single day in June, the site reached over 1,900 visitors, generating over 5,000 pageviews.

Traffic to MondayMysteryMovie, which has seen up to 5,000 daily pageviews

With just a handful of sites linking to them, Ahrefs backs up the success the site is seeing in search.

While this project isn’t on the scale of the sites I would typically cover here, I love that it genuinely serves a specific interest, just like the projects that made me fall in love with SEO and marketing over a decade ago.

Thanks for letting me share it here, Mubs!


The Associated Press’ Buyline is a Great Example of Domain Authority In Action, But Maybe Not for Long

In March of 2024 The Associated Press announced a deal with Taboola to bring the latter parties content to the domain.

Launched under a /buyline-personal-finance/ subfolder, you’ll find advice on the best American Express credit cards, all the way to the best pet insurance and advice for teenagers on how to make money.

No doubt helped by the “authority” the APNews domain already had, the Taboola-created content has already started proliferating search results:

There’s just one thing that might spoil the party though: Google’s public targeting of something they call “site reputation abuse”. Essentially, using the power of your domain to host and rank third-party content.

It’s something that has been a hot topic in recent months:

AP News’ Buyline content clearly states its created independently of their brand.

Google has been slow to roll out the algorithm portion of their efforts here – the above screenshot involved manual actions – and likely for a good reason: I imagine it’s very hard to get this right algorithmically.

To clarify, I’m not calling for AP News to be negatively impacted in any way. It makes no difference to my life if they continue to rank well. More than anything, I love monitoring approaches like this and seeing how consistent Google is with what they say they will do.

While I don’t think the “abuse” is as egregious as some examples Google gave (for instance, a health site offering casino recommendations from a third party), it seems to fit into the bucket of what they’re targeting.

We’ll see.


294 of the 522 Content Sites We Track in Similarweb Saw Traffic Decline in the Past Two Months

Outside of our private ~3,000-site database we use to track what’s going on with the biggest brands on the internet, we also separately track the top content sites on Similarweb.

Their estimates will never be perfect, but similar sites in related niches should be relatively comparable.

Of the 522 content-first sites we track in Similarweb – both independent and owned by media companies – 228 have seen traffic increase, while 294 have seen traffic decrease.

Examples of the kind of content-first sites I track include,, and RunnersWorld.

I’m comparing Similarweb estimates from March of 2024 and May of 2024. Unfortunately Similarweb had not updated their numbers for June while we were collecting the data, though they’ve been refreshed now.

The median decrease for those that lost traffic was a 560,000 visit loss. This means half lost more than 560,000 monthly visits, and half lost fewer.

On average, they saw visits decline by 21.16%.

Those that gained traffic, on average, saw visits increase by 51%. Keep in mind that we saw huge increases for a number of sports sites, and events happening around the world help account for that.

Finally, if we look back to August 2023 when we started reporting on these numbers, just 166 of the 522 sites (31.8%) are seeing higher traffic today than they were back then.

While the overall picture doesn’t look great, seasonality may account for some of the declines.


Having Raised $175M and Published 75,000 Articles, Travel Content Site The Culture Trip Gets Acquired by U.S. News

I’ve been tracking travel site The Culture Trip since 2018 when they made waves for raising over $80M and having hundreds of writers on their team.

They would continue to raise money over the years, reaching – from what I can gather – $175M in total. At one point they were dominating Google with their scaled content operations, but third-party estimates show this has declined massively in recent years:

Founded in 2011, there are over 75,000 travel articles on the site (their numbers), where they reach millions of monthly users and have surpassed over 3 million app downloads.

As far as I can tell, no figures were revealed as part of the acquisition but I’m guessing it comes nowhere close to the amount they raised.

U.S. News already do well in travel search results, where their subdomain reaches 50 million people annually (according to their statements), and they also own brands like

I probably shouldn’t speculate, but this may have been an opportunity too good to pass up for U.S. News to continue to dominate a space they’re already doing well in. Especially if they think they can turn their search traffic woes around.


Seven Months After Launch, HealthCentral’s New Brand Is a Good Case Study in How SEO Takes Time

November of 2023 saw the news that HealthCentral Corp was launching a new health resource at

If Ahrefs numbers are accurate, they went live with ~2,500 articles and have added over a thousand more in the last few months.

Admittedly, current search traffic numbers are far from those of their leading HealthCentral brand, which Ahrefs estimates receives over one million monthly visitors from search.

That’s a lot of content to be going live with so quickly.

I’m always fascinated by how well new sites can rank, especially when they publish so much content and quickly acquire great links.

It means little without context, but the domain has already reached a DR 50 rating, with links from Healthline, TheGuardian, Yahoo, Wikipedia and more.

I’m sure there’s a lot of upside in their future, but it’s a good example of how SEO can take time to become a substantial traffic source.


This Niche SaaS Tool Is Thriving During Google Updates Using Programmatic SEO (and Surpasses $10K MRR)

Lukas Hermann is the founder of, a SaaS timer tool he has built to over $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

Lukas is always pretty open about his business success, which includes how recent Google updates have been fairing for his site.

It helps that he has built a practical, attractive tool and has excellent marketing to boot, but programmatic SEO efforts certainly appear to be working for him.

For the most common time periods people could want a timer for, Lukas has them covered with pre-built pages.

Note: I asked Lukas for permission before sharing the site and story here, but still thought I should blur out those numbers to be respectful.

The search results are interesting in this space because you’re not only competing with Google’s on-SERP timers, but YouTube videos as well.

There’s a lot of Google in that screenshot.

Of course, sites like StageTimer can offer more functionality than a YouTube video (repeating a timer, setting intervals, changing its appearance, etc.), but it’s still interesting to see the SERPs they’re thriving in.

I feel like this is a space where Google could change who they’re rewarding on a whim, but it’s great to see things currently going so well for Lukas.


GRV Media Continue to Give Me Something to Talk About As They Launch New Sites and Hit Traffic Records (9.3M Monthly Pageviews) for Their MMA Brand

I mentioned in Detailed Q3 how it doesn’t feel like a Detailed update unless I mention GRV Media, and I’m more than happy to keep that trend going if there’s news to share.

This month they revealed that nine of their sites hit record traffic numbers in May of 2024, including the MMA site they acquired, Bloody Elbow.

BloodyElbow reached 9.3 million monthly pageviews, a number the brand hasn’t surpassed since October 2018. Reading their comments elsewhere I believe around 4 million unique monthly visitors generated those pageviews, though this isn’t confirmed.

BloodyElbow and a sample of Football brands in the GRV Media network

It’s incredibly impressive that they achieved record highs within just two months of ownership.

They’ve also been busy launching darts and snooker site Cues and Arrows, and Formula 1 site, F1 Oversteer.

In a separate update, GRV Media co-founder Vic Daniels said that recent successes “showed us that there are lots of opportunities to develop new web properties at this moment in time”.

If you’re in the business of sports online in any shape or form, they’re one company to keep an eye on.


Despite Layoffs at Other Vox Media Brands, The Cut is Growing Revenue and Its Writing Team

When so many media updates are focused on layoffs these days, it’s nice to be able to report on a specific brand that’s actively growing its team.

New York Magazine’s lifestyle and fashion publication The Cut is adding four full-time editorial staff and new content verticals, according to a Digiday report.

This is despite their parent company Vox Media laying off ~7% of their workforce (130 people) at the start of 2023.

Their current success is down to increased advertising revenue, where they’re winning bigger deals and more of them.

A spokesman also told Digiday that The Cut is responsible for more than half of the stories most effectively converting readers into paying subscribers for New York Magazine.

The site, which Ahrefs estimates picks up around 3.4 million visitors each month from search, doesn’t let you click around much before requesting you start paying $4/m to keep reading.

Thirty-two people work full-time on the site, where they’ve been branching out into new categories like women’s sports.

It’s not the kind of site I would follow myself, but with its quirky design, personal headlines and not-too-obnoxious promotion of products, I can see why they’re doing well.


With $10M+ in Revenue and Just ~33,000 Monthly Visitors from Search, Are Media Brands Like Puck Worth Learning From?

I’ve been hesitant to mention Brian Morrissey over the years because I feel like I have secret insights from fewer people knowing him, but it’s time to give him a shoutout.

For almost ten years, Brian was the president and editor-in-chief of Digiday, one of the best publications covering the media landscape.

I was very honoured that he recently interviewed me for his show, The Rebooting.

In a recent newsletter edition he had this to say:

Niche upstarts. Mass traffic models are out. In are niche plays, whether in B2B like The Ankler, influence brands like Semafor, Puck and Punchbowl. These businesses started after the social media traffic firehose was shut off and aren’t built around SEO. They have smaller audiences that are typically harder to reach – and crucially, they aren’t competing with the giant tech and retail media platforms. “Go super niche, give yourself license to expand from there,” Sara said. “Be a little bit profitable. Don’t borrow too much money. That’s what we’re going to see in the future.”

Sara, in this case, is Sara Fischer, one of the lead reporters at Axios.

She gets great exclusives on the companies mentioned, like how Puck generated more than $10M in 2023 and has recently acquired a Substack newsletter with 32,000 subscribers (both free and paid).

I could write thousands of words on this topic and perhaps will one day, but there’s something to be said for having SEO be a welcome addition to your traffic sources and not your main reliance.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still bullish on search and think many businesses are leaving money on the table by not focusing on it. But getting a little meta for a second, you aren’t reading this very report because you found it in Google, and it’s nice to be diversified these days.

They’ve raised significant funding so their exact path won’t be something many can replicate too closely, but it might be worth looking more into what brands like Semafor, Puck and Punchbowl are doing if you need some inspiration.


As Gets a Redesign, They and The Verge Hint at an Increasing Focus on Paid Newsletters

Last month Vox Media announced its plans for the “next chapter” of, starting with a redesign and a new membership offering.

As someone who only visits the site every few months, the redesign feels very familiar, but I’m sure there are quite a few layout changes I’ve missed. Here’s the new look:

The announcement included news of a monthly membership and additional newsletters on their way.

At the same time another Vox Media brand, The Verge, launched a new paid newsletter from one of their veteran reporters, Tom Warren.

Tom will cover all things Microsoft for a $7/month fee, which didn’t go down too well with The Verge readers in the comment section. (Then again, people who are happy with something tend to be the quietest).

The Verge’s editor-in-chief, Nilay Patel, was also in the comments hinting at a newsletter bundle subscription being on the way.

With volatile Google updates in the past 18 months, memberships increasingly seem an avenue brands are using to reduce their reliance on the visitors that top rankings can send.

If anything, I’m more surprised it has taken Vox this long to get in on the action.


GuidingTechMedia Acquires Two Content Sites to Grow Its Tech Audience Past 100M Annual Visitors

GuidingTechMedia recently announced the acquisition of Microsoft Excel resource Exceldemy, and statistics blog, Statology.

GTM say that with their growing portfolio, they expect to reach a tech audience of more than 100 million people each year.

If Ahrefs figures are accurate, Exceldemy has seen Google updates devastate their reach, with search traffic dropping by 98.2% over the past year.

(There may be something I’ve missed, but it looks brutal from the outside. To be respectful, I won’t share traffic charts here or mention specific visitor numbers).

Either way, that seems a real shame when founder Kawser Ahmed is clearly an expert on the topic, with over 165,000 people having taken his Excel courses on Udemy.

Statology also appears to have seen declines, but certainly not as severe, and it still pulls in very respectable numbers.

I like what Dan Brian is trying to build over at Guiding Tech so I would love to see things continue to grow for them from here.


As Search And Social Traffic Plummets, Bustle Digital Group Say They Haven’t Seen a Major Impact on Revenue

Going through Bustle Digital Group websites individually and putting them into Ahrefs doesn’t paint the best picture.

Estimated search traffic to, the site for “superfans”

If we look at average (estimated) search declines for their sites over the past two years, here’s what we see (in alphabetical order):

  • -79.4%
  • Elite Daily: -72%
  • Fatherly: -88.9%
  • Inverse: -86.8%
  • -88.9%
  • -67.6%
  • Romper: -74%
  • Scary Mommy: -82.9%
  • The Zoe Report: -58.9%
  • W Magazine: +22.1%

Of course, these are just third-party estimates and numbers fluctuate based on the day you check, but it’s still clear search traffic isn’t going their way.

They’ve also been open about traffic from Facebook dropping almost in half since May of last year when the social media platform changed their algorithm.

Still, BDG says these declines haven’t had a “major impact” on their overall revenue, where they’ve had success selling advertising packages around events such as Coachella.

It’s possible these remarks were only in relation to social referrals, rather than all traffic (such as from search), but a focus on events looks like it’s working out.

SVP of Marketing Wes Bonner revealed their flagship site went from publishing around 150 articles per day in 2022 to around 30-40 per day now.

It’s great to see they’ve been able to mitigate traffic impacts, but it must be concerning for their future plans.


The Arena Group Begin to Take Down Some of Their Content Sites, Seemingly Without Notice

The Arena Group are undoubtedly one of the more interesting media companies I follow as part of the 16 dominating Google’s search results.

Not only are they behind huge brands like and until recently, Sports Illustrated, but they also have several smaller niche-focused content sites.

It’s these latter websites which have been quietly updated to redirect to /site-offline/ and state, “Sorry, our site is offline until further notice. We appreciate your visiting and wish you all the best.”

Sites impacted include, and

There may be others I have yet to notice.

Granted, these were far from huge brands, with Ahrefs estimating they pickup between just a few hundred and a few thousand visitors from search each month.

Still, the idea of them streamlining their portfolio fits the current narrative where search traffic is more challenging to come by for content sites than it once was, and it’s probably better to focus more on fewer key properties.

Not forgetting they’re a publicly-listed company, which always makes their actions a little more interesting.


His Site Made $3.8M in 12 Months. Now It’s Another Example of The Huge Impact Recent Google Updates Have Had

If you’ve been following SEO news over the past year, you’ve undoubtedly seen the carnage Google updates have inflicted on content-focused sites.

Our research has shown how much prominence Google is now giving to sites like Reddit and Quora – often giving top results to spam and AI-generated answers – at the cost of sites like That Fit Friend, House Fresh, Retro Dodo and others.

Before I continue, I don’t think this is the place to do a deep-dive into who deserves to rank, whether those sites have improvements they could make and so on. I’m simply sharing sites that have been public about Google updates impacting them and where it seems that Google got things wrong with how they’re being treated.

Robert Brandl, founder of, recently added his name to the list of those negatively impacted.

One of the reasons I wanted to share Robert’s story is because I had actually interviewed him at the start of last year, revealing his sites made over $3.8M in a single 12 month period.

While his site was already on a decline at that point, things have only fallen much further:

In his update, Robert added:

Tooltester has been declining for 1.5 years. I don’t know what it is with the website builders / hosting niche, but SEO-wise there is an intense headwind. All of our competitors (big and small) seem to be struggling right now. The only ones winning are huge sites like Forbes, Techradar etc. and of course Reddit.

Emphasis my own.

As I mentioned above, I’m not here to dive into whether there are things Robert could do better now or should have done differently in the past. I think we SEOs can look at any website on the internet and find flaws, yet if his search traffic were going in the opposite direction we would easily overlook them.

His story got far less attention than others who have been public about their declines, so I asked permission to talk about it here, particularly because I had covered his success in the past.

He’s already pivoted to start putting more attention into, and I hope he’s able to share a turnaround story in the near future.


In Personal News, My Part-Time Domaining “Career” Resulted in a $30,000 Sale

I’ve had several 5-figure domain sales over the years, but one that happened in June was a nice surprise.

Around 7-8 years ago I spent $8,000 on a dictionary .com name (meaning that it’s a word you would find in the dictionary). The project I purchased it for didn’t pan out, but I’ve held on to it without trying to sell it with the expectation that a movie or TV series with the same name would come out one day.

It’s not a very common word, e.g. ‘circular’, but definitely a word people would use in a movie title.

Around a year ago I decided to put it on GoDaddy’s Afternic, randomly typing in a $30,000 Buy It Now (BIN) price. When checking my emails on a recent Monday morning, I saw somebody purchased it for that amount.

I didn’t communicate with the buyers. I didn’t market the domain at all. There were no back and forth negotiations—just a random listing a year ago and then a purchase agreement last week.

One thing to note is that Afternic commissions aren’t cheap, ranging from 15-25% of a sale.

Still, it was a nice surprise, as it tends to be whenever I’ve done these sales in the past.

Here’s another sale I made a while back:

Another sale of a “dictionary .com” that I owned.

I have no problem sharing the name from my side but I’ve asked the new owners for permission first.

They’ve just put a website live on the domain in the last 48 hours and to my surprise, it’s actually in Spanish (the name isn’t a Spanish word).

I don’t have any plans to become a full-time domainer – there’s too much luck involved for my liking – but it can be a pretty fun side hustle so I have quite a few more in the works.


Stock Trading App Robinhood Launches Their News Site, Sherwood, with 24 Journalists and a Brave Design

Robinhood doesn’t have the best reputation among people I talk with but they must be doing something right with their stock price up over 131% in the past year.

April brought the announcement they would be launching their own media site, Sherwood, with a .news domain extension.

It’s a little too early for their 24 journalists to have made a significant dent in search results, where Ahrefs estimates they’re picking up just a few thousand visits each month.

Similarweb on the other hand shows they’re off to a great start, receiving an estimated 768,000 visits in May. The majority of that traffic coming direct (51.7%), via email (24.4%) and via social (8.99%).

Sherwood is about as brave a design anyone can publish before you stop looking like a content site, but it’s really hard to show that off in a screenshot:

The overall structure is very narrow, and elements like their email opt-in aren’t typical.

I always respect when a brand is willing to go with a bold website design, even if it’s not in the style of something I would ever model myself.


The Wall Street Journal’s Director of SEO Shared Some Interesting Comments on Search and AI

According to its parent company News Corp, The Wall Street Journal is the second largest newspaper in the US by circulation.

Ahrefs estimates that currently picks up around 5.5 million visitors from search each month, which is far lower than I expected before looking. In comparison, the Washington Post gets 11.1 million and The New York times gets around 238 million (!).

The WSJ Homepage, plus a traffic comparison (estimated) with The New York Times

Edward Hyatt, WSJ’s Director of Newsroom SEO, had a great podcast episode with Media Voices, where he made comments like:

When I started back in 2015, social media was the big thing – some publishers even cut their SEO teams at the time so they could hire more social media folks. But as we’ve been hit by different changes to platforms like Facebook and X, I think SEO has really found its feet again.

He continued,

What makes SEO so valuable to publishers is that we are really focused on engaged, interested audiences. [..] We’re not going for viral hits, we don’t want random clicks from somebody who fell upon the story

And finally, in a discussion on how AI is impacting SEO, he said,

For publishers like the Journal, or other high-quality subscription publishers like the Times, or the Atlantic, or the Post, it really means doubling down on that high-quality content that is resistant to being commoditized. Focus on your brand, connect with audiences that care deeply about the types of coverage you focus on, and use that to build an engaged audience through the search experience.

As I say, there’s a lot more to the discussion, but I’ll let you take a listen for yourself if you’re in the news space and focused on SEO.


Thrillist’s New Content Hub Is What, In My Biased Opinion, Makes a More Interesting SEO Course

As many of you will know, I have an SEO course that I’m really proud of (the doors aren’t open and won’t be any time soon, so this is not a pitch).

If you’ve been in SEO for a long time then it’s easy to think that courses don’t have anything to teach you or you’re just going to pick up generic advice, like how to write title tags or deal with canonical tags on eCommerce category pages.

Those things are important, and should be covered, but they’re not what excites me. They’re not why I ever created a course.

When I saw Vox Media’s Thrillist brand launch a new hub covering live music in 2024, it was just one of dozens of examples of things I love to follow, learn from and share with others.

Here’s the gist: Thrillist created a beautiful content hub in advance of live music events that people will be searching for, and it might have all been for nothing.

That’s generally the thing with running content brands and any aspect of SEO: There are no guarantees, but you keep taking the chances you think can pay off.

(Of course, we want to focus more on the winners, but you can only win if you put something out there and take a shot).

I love that they built it proactively, writing about some events eight months in advance (!).

I love that everyone involved was given clear credit.

I love that some things they wrote had sidebar commentary to go with it.

I love that it fits their niche perfectly, even if it doesn’t amass a ton of search traffic.

And I love that they care enough about their content that it gets its own press release.

Inside SEO Blueprint I’m obsessed with sharing these kinds of approaches — especially those that pay off, that people can learn from and apply to their own projects.

If you ever wondered what I was thinking about when creating an SEO course, doing things that stand out is at the top of the list.

And even when an idea is successful, I can’t help thinking about areas for improvement.

While I love all of the above, I think it’s such a shame they “ruin” it all by taking that clean /events URL they’re using for their new updates and featuring content that’s seven years old.

All of their latest updates for 2024 are actually below this header section you see in the screenshot.

Maybe there’s some logical reason for this, but surely it’s massively off-putting to anyone who makes their way there — especially those who don’t scroll and realise there are more recent articles to find.

Still, this is one of my favourite content approaches I’ve seen in recent months, and I hope you like it too.

#22 and Loopnet Hit All-Time Search Traffic Highs, as CoStar Group Averages A Record 170M Monthly Visitors

The latest quarterly update from CoStar Group included the news their sites averaged 170 million monthly unique visitors, up 93% YoY and an increase of 34% on their previous record.

The publicly-listed company is behind sites like,, and Loopnet, an online marketplace for commercial property.

One of CoStar Group’s flagship brands, specifically is seeing some great numbers:

We are also seeing quality improvements in our traffic metrics with direct traffic to, increasing 115% Since the first quarter of last year. Sales of memberships are off to a fantastic start. In the first quarter, our sales team sold almost 8,000 membership subscriptions, making product launch easily the fastest-growing new product in the company history.

While they never mentioned search traffic specifically, both and Loopnet are seeing higher search traffic numbers than have ever been reported on Ahrefs., acquired for $585M in 2014, has seen search traffic grow around 43% over the past two years.

I should note that Semrush doesn’t show all-time highs for like Ahrefs, but does show search traffic has improved over the past year.


Chegg’s Focus on “Enhancing SEO With Automated Answers” Looks Like It’s Continuing to Pay Off

In Detailed Q3 I revealed how publicly listed Chegg – an education company that offers homework help, tutoring, textbook rentals, and more – is turning to AI to help with their SEO.

My basic understanding of their model is that students ask for help and Chegg uses AI to give an automatic response, which is then indexed in Google.

Because AI allows them to answer more questions, and quickly, people are asking more of them.

In their latest quarterly update they’ve shared more insights on how things are going:

To give you a sense of how quickly this is scaling, in Q1 of this year, we had over 9 million questions asked compared to 3.9 million questions asked at the same time last year. And as more questions are asked, we generate more content, which drives more traffic, which we believe will lead to new customers in future quarters. This is the power of the Chegg flywheel. In fact, the increase in questions asked in Q1 has already driven a return to growth in the U.S. new customer funnel for Chegg Study.

My understanding (I’m happy to be corrected on this) is that these AI answers are all present on their /homework-help subfolder.

That alone has seen great increases over the past year:

I stand by what I said last quarter: I think it’s really odd that Google are giving so much prominence to pages where you can’t actually see the answer to a question and instead have to be a paying member.

That’s still the case today:

I’ll also reiterate that this isn’t the place to discuss whether paywalled content should rank – I know companies have to make money – but it really doesn’t deliver the best user experience.


After Its $9M Acquisition, This Dog Food Review Site Has a New Design and An Interesting New Monetisation Angle

It has been around 18 months since publicly-listed Wag! acquired dog food review site, DogFoodAdvisor.

Though it was never reported anywhere to my knowledge, I believe the acquisition also came with the domain The latter only had a placeholder page but now hosts hundreds of articles and definitely has the same owner.

At the end of April Wag! announced the sites’ redesign, bringing a more modern look to the brand.

While CatFoodAdvisor probably hasn’t reached up to expectations regarding search traffic – Ahrefs estimates it receives fewer than 10,000 visitors each month from search – DogFoodAdvisor is surprisingly stable.

(I say surprisingly, as content and review sites have had the biggest shake-ups in recent Google updates).

Third-party estimates show they’ve lost around 3% of their search traffic over the last year, but increases in previous months have likely made up for that.

One addition to their press release was the announcement of a new monetisation model:

DFA has launched a white labeled version of its proprietary Dog Food Calculator, which allows pet parents to receive personalized dog food recommendations. The experience debuted with Vox Media’s The Dodo as a launch partner, immediately providing millions of pet parents with an easy solution for choosing the best food for their dog’s diet.

This is where I’m going to let you down, however, because I can’t find this in action on The Dodo at all.

I’ve looked through a lot of their product review pages, tried various tool / calculator / advisor queries and haven’t found anything that resembles DFA’s version.

Here’s how I believe the “calculator” is supposed to look:

If you happen to have seen it on The Dodo and send over a link, I’m happy to give you credit here.


Quora Is Now One of the Top-Ranking Product Review Domains on The Internet, and Unsurprisingly It’s Being Abused

If you’ve followed Detailed over the years, you’ll know I’ve regularly updated a report on who’s ranking across 10,000 “best [product]”-style keywords.

In June I reran the numbers and found that for the first time ever, Quora is in the top three domains overall.

Here’s how the results stacked up:

Unsurprisingly, when you give a user-generated content site so many top rankings, it opens them up to abuse.

Spammy and AI-generated top answers on Quora are so prevalent I don’t even have to give you any specific examples (as you’ll know, I don’t like “outing” anyone).

Simply put their domain into Ahrefs or Semrush, look at keywords they rank in the top 10 with ‘best’ in them, and click on a few product-review style terms.

I’m confident you can find examples of what I’m referring to in less than a minute.

As I mentioned on social media, whenever I report on anything like this, I’m not complaining. Google isn’t going to make changes based on my comments.

It just feels more than ever that Googlers themselves don’t use Google.

I also feel like Googlers don’t really “get” Quora, as separate threads ranking on the same search results often have identical replies, based on how the site works.

As with Reddit, I get that there is value on Quora. There are real people giving advice, and a lot of it looked useful at a glance.

Just the result of quadrupling Quora’s search traffic in 12 months* is that they can’t keep up with (or don’t care to keep up with) the spam.

*Third-party estimates from Ahrefs.

Far worse is that this has extended to health-focused search results, which I’ve also reported on.


The Daily Beast Expects to Make $3-4M From Apple News This Year, And It Sent 5 Million Visitors Last Month

If there’s one thing that’s been clear to me over the last few years reporting on digital goliaths – particularly of the media brand variety – is that they’re very reliant on Google search traffic…and would prefer not to be.

While search can provide some of the most valuable visitors websites can get, it can also be unpredictable and hard to rely on when you have dozens, if not hundreds of writers you need to pay each month.

I was surprised to see in a recent report from Semafor that political website The Daily Beast is expected to generate $3-4M this year from Apple News. That’s more than they’ll generate from their own subscription program.

Apple News+ costs $12.99 per month for access to premium stories from many different sources, and it’s not just The Daily Beast benefiting from its success.

One quote that stood out to me from the Semafor report was just how much traffic it can drive as well:

A spokesperson for Time said that Apple News has become “one of our most important partners and delivers 7-figures of revenue for TIME annually,” adding that the publication garnered 5 million unique visitors from Apple News last month.

They also state that Apple News revenue and traffic is important to brands like Vox, Hearst, Penske, Condé Nast and Dotdash Meredtih. All brands I report on in my “16 companies dominating Google reports.

If you’re looking to get your news site featured in Apple News – I cheekily looked into it myself – it seems like the first step is to have your own branded app in the App Store, which probably gives Apple an idea of how big your following is.


As Gains More Top Rankings, Trivago Says Google is Less Appealing, and Expedia Wants Help from Regulators

It has been a running joke, especially over the past year, regarding how well Google rank its own /travel subfolder.

If you want an SEO team with a public case study of tripling search traffic over the past two years, they’re your guys.

I thought there could be no better introduction to some interesting comments I read from Trivago and Expedia; both giants in the travel space.

Trivago CEO Johnnes Thomas had this to say on their Q1 earnings call, where they announced 9% year-over-year revenue declines:

The importance of our brand has grown even further as Google has become a less relevant and less appealing marketing channel for us. We are opportunistically participating in new ad formats, though expect the channel to remain volatile and a substantial headwind

I should clarify that these comments were primarily (solely?) directed to what Google is doing regarding Google Ads, rather than search results and SEO.

When asked whether they’re seeing any improvements from regulatory changes to Google in Europe, Expedia CEO Peter Kern had this to say:

In terms of our core B2C business? Not really, no. I think – yes. I think Google is still trying to push back. They’ve introduced some new things in the hotel funnel with carousels and other things. So as much as we’re hoping for help from regulators where we operate within the balance of what they’re doing, and they continue to operate pretty much how they have in terms of looking for new ways to monetize and push SEO traffic down, et cetera. So no, no real noticeable impact.

Both brands commented on how vital direct traffic and brand is to them, and how it’s something they’re highly focused on growing.


Ziff Davis Adds Four Gaming Sites to Their Portfolio, Reaching ~12.6M Monthly Visitors from Search

Ziff Davis is one of the 16 companies dominating Google I track in my industry reports, and known in the digital marketing world for having acquired the SEO research platform, Moz.

They’re also behind giant gaming brands like IGN, the subsidiary that recently acquired four gaming sites from media company, ReedPop.

The sites in question are EuroGamer,, RockPaperShotgun and VG247, which Ahrefs estimates receive a combined ~12.6 million monthly visitors from Google.

One of the sites Ziff Davis acquired. Eurogamer

The deal also included shares in sites like Outside Xbox, Nintendo Life and PushSquare.

Ultimately it means that Ziff Davis now owns even more real estate in gaming search results, no doubt making them more attractive to advertisers in the space during game launches, industry events and more.

Note: The Videos SERP feature was removed for this screenshot, but nothing else was modified or rearranged.

According to some reports the acquisitions have already led to a number of writers being laid off.

With Valnet also growing its gaming portfolio, the industry is easily one of the most active I monitor (more on that in a moment).


Reach Plc Reveals Pageviews to Its 120+ Sites Have Dropped by a Third, Due to “Deprioritsation of News” by Major Platforms

UK and Ireland news publisher Reach recently announced that income for the entire group has declined 6.7% due to year-on-year page views dropping by a third.

The trend continued into the first quarter of 2024, in part due to the volume of referral traffic coming to their sites from the likes of Facebook and Google.

The company – which owns more than 120 brands including the Daily Record, Daily Star, Express, OK! and the Mirror – revealed that digital revenue fell by 8.5% for the year whilst print saw a decline of 6%. In addition, print advertising revenue has fallen by more than 10%.

A small sample of Reach Plc brands

Despite this, Reach is confident it can recover, thanks to a number of significant news events happening in the coming year.

Chief Executive Jim Mullen had the following to say:

With events like the European Football Championships, Olympics and elections round the corner we have the opportunity to generate high levels of interest by entertaining and informing our audiences with brilliant journalism.

Alongside plans to cut costs by 5-6%, they state they’re still on track to achieve 2024 targets, including an operating profit of £97.6 million (~$124M), which would be a slight increase on 2023.

As part of the cost-cutting strategy, Reach aims to move 300 journalists into a central content hub to eliminate the current practice of various journalists from different Reach brands writing about the same topics.


As Search Traffic (Seemingly) Continues to Fall, The Atlantic Passes 1 Million Subscribers and is Now Profitable

Whenever I see companies hit revenue and subscriber milestones, I habitually check to see how their rankings are trending.

As I’ve said countless times in these reports, third-party metrics will never be perfect, but both Semrush and Ahrefs show declines in search traffic to the Atlantic.

That isn’t stopping them from growing, however, as Jessica Patterson’s report revealed that digital subscriptions have increased by double-digit percentages four years in a row. They saw more than 14% growth in the past year alone.

With over one million subscribers and growing income from ad revenue, the company is now profitable.

I’ve never been a reader of The Atlantic but there were a few great quotes that stood out to me. I thought this one from Editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg was great:

We pivoted, I would say, to a total quality model on the web. We were doing good stuff on the web for years. We had a large team of young reporters doing news analysis and quick summaries and that sort of thing. But I’ve always believed that the aspect of The Atlantic that differentiated us from everyone else was a commitment to having the highest standards and producing the most complicated, interesting, aesthetically-pleasing, well-written journalism. I think that strategy has borne fruit.

Deep down, I think this is the goal of most media brands on the internet.

Sure, they get a lot of stick for quick clickbait stories about what Elon Musk is up to or for reviewing products as an affiliate far outside their typical niche, but they do so because it works.

It seems like The Atlantic has found a profitable path forward that allows them to focus on the kind of content they want to share with the world.


Iconic Rock Music Brand Rolling Stone Now Writes About The Sims (And Of Course, They’re Starting to Rank For It)

In content vertical announcements I never would have predicted, iconic music brand Rolling Stone now has a gaming section, called RS Gaming.

Being fair, Rolling Stone has long ventured into other topics such as Politics, but this one is still a surprise.

The current top story on the new site section while I was writing this was updates to the popular game, The Sims.

Maybe it’s just me but this following screenshot feels…odd.

Whenever new content verticals like these launch, it tends to be the case that they don’t perform well for at least 4-6 months (there are always exceptions, of course).

RollingStone doesn’t appear to have that issue, with both Semrush and Ahrefs showing their new content is ranking quickly.

Semrush estimated search traffic to Rolling Stone Gaming

While the numbers are a drop in the bucket compared to their site overall (around 6 million monthly visitors from search), I have a feeling there’s quite a bit more upside to come.

On one hand it has to be concerning for gaming niche site owners to see new sites entering the space and others being acquired. On the other hand, it also shows the popularity of the space and how much traffic is up for grabs.


Chowhound Finally Starts Ranking Again in Google (It Just Took Adding a Few Thousand Additional Articles)

In Detailed Q2 I revealed how Chowhound – a site previously so popular The New York Times covered its shuttering – was back online under new ownership.

That new owner is Static Media, which also owns sites like and

Like most acquisition events, I was curious to see how well they would start ranking new articles on such an authoritative domain.

Though Ahrefs Domain Rating doesn’t technically mean much, the site had a DR of 78. For context, Detailed has a domain rating of 72, and a link magnet like Wikipedia has a domain rating of 92.

It took a little longer than I expected, but the site is now starting to make a small dent in Google’s search results.

As they added thousands of articles, rankings soon followed suit.

Honestly, I wouldn’t typically think a story like this is newsworthy. It’s not like they’re now pulling in millions of visitors per month.

That said, I had promised to come back and check, and I find it interesting to see how Google “reacts” to sites with such authority.


Static Media Acquired Food Site The Takeout, Then Made An Interesting Redirect

According to their own metrics, Static Media sites reach more than 100 million monthly visitors.

In the food space specifically they own TastingTable, DailyMeal, Food Republic, Mashed, Foodie and Chowhound, which reach 38 million monthly visitors (these numbers are directly from the source).

The newest addition to that is, which they acquired from G/O Media.

From an SEO perspective I found their next move pretty interesting: They redirected all of the sites’ content from to

That might seem to be a small thing to focus on, but it’s not a typical move.

Search traffic is higher than when the acquisition occurred, but their chart is so volatile in third-party tools that it’s hard to make accurate conclusions about the redirect’s impact.

Search traffic changes as TheTakeout moved to using www

Out of dozens of Static Media sites, I couldn’t find a single one that doesn’t use www, so it’s definitely their preferred setup.

Either way, due to how many content sites they have and the size of their audience, they’re one of the most fascinating companies to follow in this space, and I’ll keep doing exactly that.


Sorry I’m Late to the Story, But The Telegraph Decided All Of Those Subdomains Weren’t For Them

I was going back through the first three quarterly reports here at Detailed and wanted to check in on something I had covered in Q1.

There I revealed that the UK’s The Telegraph redirected 11 websites they owned to subdomains of their main site.

I gave a specific example, showing a site like had redirected to a new home at

Other domains redirected include:


Checking back to see how those redirects are going, it looks like they didn’t last very long.

All of the ones I looked at are now back to being separate, individual sites.

The numbers are admittedly small, but it’s interesting to consider the internal discussions around this and why they decided to revert course so quickly.


NerdWallet Sees Revenue Grow as Monthly Unique Users Increase 25% Year over Year

Personal finance resource Nerdwallet, publicly trading as $NRDS, revealed in their Q1 2024 report they’re now reaching an average of 29 million monthly unique users.

A 25% increase year over year.

Search traffic numbers are pretty much the same now as a year ago, but up an estimated 38% over the past two years according to Ahrefs, and close to as high as they’ve ever been in Semrush.

Similarweb estimates organic traffic accounts for 76% of visitors to the site, so this is likely where the biggest gains have come from.

They’re currently averaging around 100 new pages going live on the site each month — not forgetting to mention the hundreds (thousands?) of pages they regularly go back and update.

There may be new challenges to their dominance on the horizon, with multiple X users reporting a new test from Google where they’re now recommending their own “best” credit cards.

There’s precedent for Google sticking with this kind of test for years and also for abandoning them as quickly as they arrive, so I don’t think NerdWallet and similar sites will be too worried just yet.


Women’s Lifestyle Publisher Refinery29 Was Acquired for $30M — Around the Same Amount It Generated in 2023 Revenue

Last month it was revealed that Vice Media sold Refinery29 for around $30M, which is approximately what the site generated in top-line revenue last year.

The women-focused media brand was acquired by Sundial Media Group, parent to Essence Ventures, which is home to Essence Magazine. Yeah, I was a little confused reading all of that initially as well.

The announcement also revealed that Refinery29 will be taking over Beautycon, which will be renamed R29 BeautyCon, and returns to Los Angeles later this year.

While search traffic estimates are never perfect, it looks like the site has had a tough time retaining traffic from Google over the past few years.

Refinery29 was bringing in around $100M annually when Vice Media purchased it, and while those numbers are much smaller now, the company is profitable and free of debt.

According to an Axios source, the brand has around 100 total employees, down from over 300 writers they had on board just five years ago.

Similarweb estimates that search (61.1%) and direct traffic (29.1%) are crucial for the site, so I’ll keep tabs on whether they can turn their search traffic around and update you in Q5 and beyond.


Publicly-listed Gfinity Stick To Their Promise of Launching New Sites with the Introduction of Trading Card Portal, TCGRocks

A brand I mentioned in both Detailed Q1 and Q3, Gfinity PLC, are mainly notable to me because they’re a public company building content sites.

Most recently I revealed how they had grew their niche site covering a single game, Starfield Portal, to over 35,000 daily “sessions”.

During investor updates they promised to continue launching new websites, and they’re sticking to that promise with the recent addition of TCG Rocks. A site for trading card game enthusiasts to keep up to date on the space.

It’s a niche we’ve also seen Retro Dodo founder Brandon Saltalamacchia get into with his brand,

Market-wise, Gfinity shares are down 61% in the past year, and 99% in the past five years.

In their most recent investor update, they cited pressure from “several Google algorithm changes creating uncertainty and headwinds.”

This is clearly reflected in the estimated search traffic to their flagship brand, Gfinity Esports, which Ahrefs estimates has decreased by around 88% in the past two years.

It’s hard to see how they will make any significant improvements from here, as SEO certainly isn’t getting easier, but I’ll keep you updated on whatever happens next.


Popular Mechanics Has Seen Commerce Revenue Increase 25% Year over Year, as Hearst Sees Annual Growth

March saw the news that Hearst media brands have grown their eCommerce and affiliate revenue year over year, though declined to reveal by how much.

One site specifically mentioned was Popular Mechanics, seeing “commerce” revenue grow 25% year over year. It’s my understanding that commerce refers to a combination of selling their own products, affiliate revenue and dropship revenue.

It doesn’t take much clicking around the site to see them recommending chainsaws, hedge trimmers and products from other popular Amazon categories.

Hearst has made a real push into commerce across their brands, such as this shop they set up on Men’s Health.

There were some really interesting specifics in the Digiday article, like how they can make $250 in revenue on $800 dumbbells via dropshipping, rather than the ~$80 they would typically get as part of an affiliate commission.

In this specific example, I think it might have been the Nuobell dumbbells they were referring to:

The item in question is just a hunch, so please don’t take this as fact, but it’s interesting to see how well they rank when searching for specific products.


With 50+ Gaming Sites, This Public Company Just Revealed They Generated $178.2M in 2023

Enthusiast Gaming, trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker $EGLX, generated $178.2M in 2023 revenue.

This was a 12% decrease compared to the $202M they generated in 2022, though they did increase gross profit by 6% to $67.4M.

In April they shared more numbers relating to their most recent quarter which I recommend checking out to get the complete picture on their business.

They revealed they reached 52.4 million unique visitors, a 4% increase year-over-year, which according to Comscore makes them the biggest gaming property in the United States.

They claim to be behind 50+ websites in the space, with some of the biggest we track for them including,, The Sims Resource and Addicting Games.

AddictingGames appears to have had a massive drop-off in search traffic, though I haven’t investigated as to whether this is just a couple of key terms (which can have huge search volumes in this space) not performing as well as before.

Brands like are still performing very well however, with Ahrefs estimating they pick up around 7.4 million visitors from search each month.


This Media Brands’ Interview with Themselves Highlights Part of What I Think It Takes to Succeed with a Content Site

With so much to cover in this quarterly update, I was unsure whether I should share this small snippet, but it’s such a perfect example of the ethos I believe in and teach.

Over the last few years in our flagship program, SEO Blueprint (not currently available), we’ve been very focused on all the ways you can truly build a brand and have people actively seek you out in search results.

It’s a goal that now, years later, is becoming increasingly important.

That’s why when I read this snippet from media company PlanetSport talking with their head of publishing at, I wanted to share it.

PlanetF1 is one of the most established sites in the PlanetSport network

When asked how they’re achieving more high-quality exclusive stories, Mark Holmes had this to say:

It had been a long-held ambition of ours, but it was not until the final race of the 2022 season that we finally had a journalist in the paddock after gaining FIA accreditation. So building up relationships with teams has been difficult over the years. But we were regulars at European races in 2023 and have now developed several such relationships, leading to a number of high-profile exclusive stories and interviews over the course of the season.

It’s such an obvious goal – to be in and around the sport they’re covering – yet one I would argue isn’t the main aim of most people publishing content around the web.

It’s the kind of goal I believe is imperative if you want to stand a chance of surviving and thriving through whatever algorithm updates, on whatever platform, are on their way.

You can read more of the interview here, though I’ll concede it’s probably only interesting for those with sports sites.


As Two of the “16 Companies Dominating Google”, Here’s The Most Recent Revenue News from Condé Nast and Future

One of the reasons I started this quarterly reporting was because I wanted to see how AI – particularly as it pertains to search results – might impact the revenue of digital brands dominating Google’s search results.

I currently track the revenue of hundreds of digital-first companies, many of which are reliant on search traffic.

Two more recent updates are from Condé Nast and Future. Here’s a sample of some brands of theirs you might recognise:

A small sample of the brands owned by each company.

Axios had the exclusive that revenue for Condé Nast is essentially flat year-over-year, sharing the following specifics:

  • Consumer revenue up 7% YoY
  • Events revenue up 19% YoY
  • Digital subscription starts up 100% YoY
  • eCommerce revenue up 39% YoY
  • A decline in print revenue, likely offsetting most of the gains above

In other news, Future recently revealed their results for the first half of 2024, with some more interesting figures being:

  • Revenue of £391.5M, down 3% YoY
  • UK revenue grew by 3%+
  • GoCompare revenue grew by over 30%
  • US revenue declined by 11%

Website visitors decreased 10% YoY, with the most significant losses coming in Entertainment (-59%) and Women & Luxury (-40%), while seeing single-digit growth in Tech and Gaming.

Despite the revenue decline, shares quickly rose over 20% after Future announced a £45M share buyback programme.


In One of the Biggest Domain Moves We’ve Monitored Yet, The UK’s ‘The Times’ Redirects to a .Com Extension

Throughout these quarterly updates I’ve been reporting on a trend that I just happened to notice, rather than specifically look for: Many brands are moving away from their domain extensions.

This quarter saw what is perhaps the biggest move yet, when the UK’s The Times newspaper redirected from, to

It’s still early days, but it looks like they’ve recovered around half of their monthly search traffic so far:

I may have missed something, but I haven’t seen them announce this.

That’s particularly odd when The Times’ owner, News UK, are incredibly active in sharing updates about what they have going on.

In the month the site was redirected (May 2024), they shared eighteen updates about their business, but seemingly nothing about this.

Either way, they’re one of the three new additions to our ongoing table:

Previous URL New URL Brand Documented Future Q1 Bauer Media Group Q1 Kelsey Media Q1 Digitalbox Q2 Future Q2 LADbible Group Q2 Kelsey Media Q2 Digitalbox Q3 Future Q3 News Corp Q4 Wise Publishing Q4 MVF Global Q4

Each quarter I think there can’t be many more of these left to track, and each quarter I’m surprised I’m still adding to the list.

In any other quarter the ExpertReviews redirect would have been the star of the show — just a year ago Ahrefs estimates they were pulling in around 2.1 million visitors each month from search.

If you’re in the business of reviewing products as an affiliate, you’ve likely seen them ranking over the years.

Here’s how their redirect is going so far:

It’s still early days so I’ll keep tracking of this one for a future update.

That said, this section of these reports will have to disappear eventually, because there aren’t that many big domains we still track.


Valnet Refresh Their Corporate Homepage and Reveal How Successful Their Content Brands Are

Valnet – one of the “16 companies dominating Google” – is behind more than 25 brands across industries including automotive, entertainment, gaming, lifestyle, sports and travel.

Some of their largest websites by audience we track for them include Screen Rant, Game Rant, CBR, How-To Geek, GiveMeSport and Simple Flying. All of which reach millions of visitors monthly.

Valnet recently refreshed its corporate website and shared some interesting stats on its business.

Here are the numbers that accompanied the design refresh:

  • 16M+ daily site visits
  • 445M+ monthly sessions, with the top countries being:
    • 🇺🇸 US: 239M monthly sessions
    • 🇬🇧 UK: 45M monthly sessions
    • 🇨🇦 Canada: 24M monthly sessions
  • 53B+ lifetime views across their publications
  • 53M+ video subscribers
  • 500M+ monthly video impressions
  • 132M+ social media subscribers
  • 5.5B monthly advertising impressions

While they shared some numbers on their site previously, it’s the first time I’ve noticed them sharing overall monthly sessions (which I presume means pageviews).


Shutterstock Acquires Envato, As Their CEO Says SEO Efforts Are Paying Off

Shutterstock the royalty-free image, vector and illustrations platform announced they are in the process of acquiring Envato, the stock photo, video and music service.

The cash purchase price of $245 million will include 100% of the Envato business and adds to the 500 million assets already available on the Shutterstock website.

Prior to the purchase, Shutterstock announced a 6% increase in revenue for 2023, generating $874 million.

CEO Paul Hennessy said the following:

These indicators include continued strength in top-of-funnel activity with total traffic up 18% year-on-year, proof that our efforts to drive SEO growth and additional investments in paid marketing are paying off. This strong top-of-funnel as well as product experimentation translated into better customer acquisition in Q1.

The acquisition of Envato is expected to add 20% of annual revenue to the business by 2027.

Earlier this year Shutterstock also acquired Backgrid, a platform for celebrity news and photographs with an archive of more than 30 million images from 1,400 contributors.

A small selection of other brands within the Shutterstock portfolio include:

  • TurboSquid (3D model marketplace)
  • Pond5 (stock video library)
  • PicMonkey (photo editing and graphic design software)
  • Premium Beat (music and sound effect library)
  • Bigstock (stock photo library)

Until recently, Splash News would have been another name on that list but it was just redirected to


Tennis Site Tennis365 Grows Traffic 300% Year-Over-Year and Debuts a Fresh New Look

We featured in Q1 that PlanetSport’s PlanetF1 got a fresh new look, and in Q3 we shared the same news about their PlanetFootball brand.

Continuing the trend, they recently announced a redesign for their tennis news and analysis platform, Tennis365.

The website features a new colour scheme, updated logo, double-height navigation bar and dark mode. In keeping with the other redesigned websites, Tennis365 now includes footer links to other PlanetSport properties.

As part of the site update announcement, it was revealed that traffic to Tennis365 has increased 300% year over year, largely due to a growing American audience.

Similarweb estimates organic search traffic accounts for 69% of their traffic, with direct traffic (19%) making up most of the rest.

It’s always nice to report on content brands growing their reach.

Finally, I Have Nothing to Sell You, But As the Detailed SEO Extension Is About to Hit 300,000 Weekly Users, I Would Love 30 Seconds of Your Time

Something I’ve loved working on and growing over the years is the Detailed SEO Extension for Chrome and Firefox.

It’s 100% free and contains all of the main features I need to analyse specific web pages on a day to day basis.

The extension is on track to surpass 300,000 weekly users this month, which is mind-blowing to me. I never thought I would be involved in something that so many people use.

If you’re one of them: Thank you! I really appreciate you giving it a chance.

One thing I’ve been terrible at however, is asking for reviews. As of right now, around 0.06% of users have left a review (that’s 161 reviews, out of ~300,000 users).

I sincerely appreciate every single one, and I personally try to respond to them all.

So here’s my simple request: If you use the extension and enjoy it, I would really love 30 seconds of your time to head over to our page on the Chrome web store and leave your thoughts.

I honestly don’t know how much reviews impact our presence in the web store, but logic tells me it’s a factor, so I would love your help there.

Finally, if you’ve enjoyed reading this update, I would love to know. I put a ton of work into finding and curating the best ideas to share with you and try to write them up in an easy-to-follow way.

You can discuss this post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, where I would sincerely appreciate any shares. I notice them all.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

– G

P.S. If you have your speakers turned on, click the little emoji ‘Like’ button below for some cheesy fun 🙂

Written by Glen Allsopp, the founder of Detailed. You may know me as 'ViperChill' if you've been in internet marketing for a while. Detailed is a small bootstrapped team behind the Detailed SEO Extension for Chrome & Firefox (250,000 weekly users), trying to share some of the best SEO insights on the internet. Clicking the heart tells us what you enjoy reading. Social sharing is appreciated (and always noticed). You can also follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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    "Glen found a very sneaky technical SEO issue on our homepage. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes goes a long way."


    "Glen's recommendations helped us improve crawl budget, remove deadweight pages and led to overall improvements in organic traffic to our key pages."


    "I've been a practitioner of digital marketing for over a decade and I've learned more from Glen about SEO than anyone else."