The best of Ahrefs' Digest: March 2024
4 mins read

The best of Ahrefs' Digest: March 2024

Every week we share the latest SEO news, interesting reads and new articles in our Ahrefs' Digest newsletter.

If you're not one of our 280,000 subscribers, you've missed out on some great reading!

Here's a quick summary of my personal favorites from the last month:

The best of March 2024

How 16 companies dominate Google search results worldwide

author: Glen Allsopp


Glen's research shows that just 16 companies representing 588 brands receive 3.5 billion (yes, billion!) monthly clicks from Google.

The 16 companies receive 3.5 billion clicks from Google per month for 588 brands

My snack

Glen pointed out some really actionable ideas in this report, like the fact that many of the brands that dominate search are adding mini-author bios.

Example of mini author biographies on The VergeExample of mini author biographies on The Verge

This idea makes a lot of sense in terms of both UX and usability EAT. I have already presented it to the team and we will implement it on our blog.

How Google is killing independent sites like ours

Authors: Gisele Navarro, Danny Ashton


Major publications have gotten into the affiliate game and are publishing “best of” lists about everything there is. And even though products are often not tested thoroughly, they dominate Google rankings. The result, Gisele and Danny argue, is that real review sites are suffering and Google is rapidly losing content diversity.

My snack

I have great sympathy for independent websites. Some of them do their best, but unfortunately they get lumped in with thousands of others who are only too happy to send spam.

Estimated search traffic on Danny and Gisele's website dropped dramatically after Google's March updatesEstimated search traffic on Danny and Gisele's website dropped dramatically after Google's March updates
Estimated search traffic on Danny and Gisele's website dropped sharply after Google's March updates ????

I know it's hard to hear, but the truth is that Google benefits more from big sites in the SERPs than from diversity. That's because results from big brands are likely what users actually want. By and large, people prefer to shop at Walmart or ALDI rather than a local store or farmers market.

However, I agree with most people that Forbes (with its dubious contributor model Contributions to fraud and bad journalism should not be rewarded so generously.

The discussion forums dominate 10,000 search results for product reviews

author: Glen Allsopp


Glen analyzed 10,000 “product review” keywords and found the following:

  • The SERP “Discussions and Forums” feature was present in 7,702 of them (77%).
  • Reddit was present in 97.5% of them.
  • 51% of the top threads on Reddit currently have spam as their top comment.

My takeaway meal

Following Google's heavy promotion of Reddit since last year's Core Update, unscrupulous SEOs and marketers, to no one's surprise, have already started spamming Reddit. And as you may know, Reddit is moderated by volunteers, and they obviously can't keep up.

I'm not sure how this second-order effect was completely lost on the smart people at Google, but from the outside looking in, it seems like Google has capitulated to some extent.

John Mueller apparently has too much trust in Reddit...John Mueller apparently has too much trust in Reddit...

I'm not the type of person to make predictions and I have no idea what will happen next, but I agree with Glen: Google's results are the worst I've ever seen. We can only hope that Google gets the problem under control.

Who sends traffic on the web and how much? New research from Datos & SparkToro

author: Rand Fishkin


63.41% of all US web traffic referrals from the top 170 websites are initiated through

Data from SparktoroData from Sparktoro

My snack

Despite all our complaints, Google is still the most important platform for acquiring traffic. That's why we all want Google to fix itself and do well.

But it would also be a mistake to look at this post and think that it is Google only Channel through which you should drive traffic. As Rands A later blog post clarifies: “Be careful not to give attribution or credit to Google when other investments have determined the actual value.”

I think many affiliate marketers have learned this lesson from the recent core updates: relying on a single channel to drive all your traffic is not a good idea. You should use other platforms to increase brand awareness, interest and demand.

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