Case Study: Spotify.com violates the Google Webmaster Guidelines
Starting our search for answers, we quickly find that the hostname open.spotify.com was responsible for the largest amount of visibility for Spotify.com and shows the highest losses now:
If we dig deeper in our analysis and take a look at the directories on open.spotify.com, we can see that all of them lost Visibility on Google:
Now, that we have identified where the problem is, we need to figure out what exactly happened to the domain. If you click on the small box in front of any of the individual URLs for open.spotify.com/artist/, you will discover what is going on here. For the keyword “National Philharmonic Orchestra”, for example, Spotify.com ranks with this URL: open.spotify.com/artist/2Ek1WGW7WeyDoxsZiu0AAd. If you click on this URL or the corresponding Google search result, you will be redirected to another ULR on play.spotify.com/artist/ like this one:
There is no real content on this URL and the user is forced to sign up to in order to see what they came for. If you look at the cached version of the same ULR on Google, you will notice that this version contains the actual content of the page. This discrepancy between what an actual user sees and what Google got (and saved in their cache) is the real problem here.
The user and search engine are shown different versions of the page. This strategy is known as cloaking and, as Google explains, “Cloaking is considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines because it provides our users with different results than they expected“, which led to Spotify losing their rankings.
I keep my fingers crossed and hope that Spotify will fix this problem soon.
Have a nice start into the new week!