Based on data from a well-respected search engine optimization expert, the The Daily Mail’s parent company, Associated Newspapers, and its U.S. unit, Mail Media, might not have merit to defend their position when it comes to proving an antitrust lawsuit filed against Google on Tuesday.
The lawsuit alleges that Google punishes publishers in search rankings if they don’t sell enough advertising space through Google’s marketplace, but at least one SEO expert believes the site is just not optimized to rank at the top of Google search results.
Lea Scudamore, the SEO lead at agency Aimclear, gave dailymail.co.uk a grade of “F” for an overall performance due to issues including excessive network payloads, long initial server response time, with a fully loaded time of 45.2 seconds. Google PageSpeed Insights gives the site a score of 6 out of a possible 100.
“Ouch, no wonder these pages are not competitive for keywords,” Scudamore wrote in an email to Search & Performance Marketing Daily.
Here are additional stats:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) reports the render time of the largest image or text block visible within the viewport and should occur in 2.5 seconds.
- First Input Delay (FID) measures the time from when a user first interacts with a page (click a link, a button, etc.) to the time when the browser is actually able to begin to process responses to interactions. A FID of less than 100 milliseconds is the goal.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) that measures visual stability. Here is a link to the Google GIF that shows an example of CLS.
Visual stability means whether elements on the page shift in ways that users don’t expect and potentially interfere with their interactions. The goal is CLS less than .1.
“Popups offer users a poor user experience because they are annoying,” Scudamore explains. “The Daily Mail’s site is littered with ads that pop up.”
Some ads cover the content, making it difficult to read. She also explains that the pop-ups slow the loading of the page as the user scrolls, and pop-ups used inappropriately can trigger penalties from search engines.
For example, a pop-up surfaces on the home page of the site when going directly to the URL on a mobile device. In another instance, an ad for pizzas popped up over the headline on the home page and the section titled “today’s top videos” covered the text.
“When you try to click the X to close the video window to read the text, the focus is to the right of the X, so users are forced to another page they didn’t want to visit,” she wrote.
The site doesn’t follow basic SEO guidelines such as the length of URLs, meta titles, and descriptions.
According to Screaming Frog guidance:
- URLs should be under 115 characters, 70% are over that length
- Meta titles should be under 60 characters, 94% are over that length
- Meta descriptions should be under 155 characters, 52% are over that length
SEOs would recommend that these elements be concise and the primary keyword be written to the left of the text.
“Overall, the site is cluttered and old-fashioned like the National Enquirer,” she wrote. “The Daily Mail’s competition is focused on users with clean-looking and fast loading sites and not how much stuff they can force on a page. The competitors are driving sports cars with clean lines and fast engines, The Daily Mail is driving an iron mining truck full of billboards.”