More than a backlink checker. Contact Us+43 720 116440(866) 347-3660+44 800 011 9736(877) 736-7787
MENUMENU
MENUMENU
Home » Case Studies » Hulu.com JavaScript Fail – 56% Visibility Drop and Counting

Hulu.com JavaScript Fail – 56% Visibility Drop and Counting

hulu.com suffered a 56% search visibility drop, but it’s not over yet. The reason for such a heavy drop isn’t due to a Google penalty, algorithm or a negative SEO attack. It comes from Hulu’s coding problem. Read on and learn from Hulu’s mistakes.



Examples created using the Superhero Startup plan

The Superhero Startup Plan includes all our 25 link data sources and allows you to perform link analysis and monitoring, SEO competitor research, Google recovery and link building for your own or your competitor's sites. You get your website's complete backlink profile re-crawled and enriched with all SEO metrics you can dream about for your analysis. This makes all the difference.

Hulu.com ranking dropHulu.com losing visibility each week

Our LRT Certified Xpert, Bartosz Goralewicz pointed out a dramatic visibility drop for American online video streaming service Hulu.com.

Hulu.com dropped 56% in their visibility in the last weeks from
a switch to Javascript and following deindexing.

The story behind their visibility drop is very interesting, since it doesn't have anything to do with a Google algorithmic penalty, a Manual action or a negative SEO attack.

It's something different this time. Read on and learn what NOT to do to avoid the disaster that Hulu.com is currently facing.

You rock, Bartosz! Thanks for yet another interesting case study!

 

We look forward to your feedback and help spread the word on this!

- Enjoy & Learn!

Christoph C. Cemper
and the team of
LinkResearchTools (LRT)

Bonus: Download the full version of this case study as PDF for easy print or offline reading!

 

Hulu.com is going down: you can see hundreds of rankings drop

If you are searching for the last episode of Grimm, you won’t find it on Hulu.com anymore.

It seems that Netflix will have a great signup ratio this June. This week, Hulu.com got to the top of the USA Loser list.

Hulu.com visibility drop

With more than 50% of the visibility already lost, the situation for Hulu.com is getting worse every day at a massive, destructive pace.

Hulu.com Visibility Drop Chart

You can see hundreds of rankings going down each week. These include high traffic rankings, mostly related to the movie or tv-series names.

Hulu.com Keywords Dropp

If that wasn’t enough, Google isn’t even ranking Hulu.com for their own content. After googling one of the descriptions, I’ve found Japanese Hulu in an English version.

If you think that is enough, there is more...

Bonus: Download the full version of this case study as PDF for easy print or offline reading!

Hulu’s own homepage seems to be COMPLETELY out of the Google indexhulu google search results

Googling the content from the homepage returns no results.

Hulu.com Homepage Content

If we Google any content from Hulu’s homepage, these are deindexed from Google.

https://www.google.com/search?q="From+heart-racing+to+heart-breaking+–+critically+acclaimed+and+fan+favorites+–+get+in+on+these+original+series%2C+only+available+on+Hulu."&oq="From+heart-racing+to+heart-breaking+–+critically+acclaimed+and+fan+favorites+–+get+in+on+these+original+series%2C+only+available+on+Hulu."&aqs=chrome..69i57.986j0j7&{google:bookmarkBarPinned}sourceid=chrome&{google:omniboxStartMarginParameter}ie=UTF-8

hulu.com content google search returns no results

Ranking Drop

Now here comes the most shocking part

The reason for such a heavy drop isn’t due to a Google penalty, algorithm or a negative SEO attack. It comes from Hulu’s coding problem and serving JavaScript directly to GoogleBot.

Here is how the Google Cache of one of the biggest loser pages looks like. It looks like Hulu is returning a 404 page for GoogleBot, while still showing code 200 for users.

hulu.com google cache 1

 

Take a look at a fresh cache of a “Grimm” TV series page. If you look closely, you can see a 404 page in a background (it didn’t render well).

404-error-render

Also, a “DOH” video from The Simpsons is loaded for a 404 error within Hulu.com.

At the same time, a code 200 page is served for users.

Link Redirect Trace hulu.com Check

It is like this for tens of thousands of pages within Hulu, including their most popular TV shows and movies.

hulu.com Google cache 02

 

Now, switching to the text only version, we can see that the problem gets bigger.

 

text-only-versionNow, opening the same page with JavaScript disabled in the browser.

hulu.com javascript disabled in browser

This page also returns code 200.

Grimm status page 200404 errors

Crawling Hulu.com is not just slowed down by JavaScript as, when you are lucky enough to finally crawl it, 64% of the content returns 404 errors.

hulu.com crawl 404 errors

Let me show you a few examples

http://www.hulu.com/ice-saints

http://www.hulu.com/adera

Just the 404 errors, at such a scale, can explain Hulu’s drop and de-indexation. Unfortunately, the “text only” Google cache of the website is also showing huge JavaScript issues.

homepage-content-hulu-jp

Google vs. JavaScript

Google is investing heavily in understanding JavaScript better. You can read about that here and here. Google isn’t communicating clearly enough that it is still an early beginning of the journey. Hulu’s case study is a good visualization of the problem we are struggling with on a daily basis.

Developers use JavaScript more and more, convinced that GoogleBot is now fully capable of crawling and reading it, just as it would with HTML or CSS.

In the case of Hulu.com, the problems they face can be related to many different factors, from a failed migration to a new platform, to prerender service (e.g. https://prerender.io/) issues.

I am not a JavaScript expert, but I know that dynamic content generated by JS is difficult to match with a URL. This reason alone is enough to be extremely cautious when developing JavaScript based websites.

Summary

I know that making mistakes is in human nature. Yet such a huge mistake shouldn’t happen in as well-known a company as hulu.com is. What astonishes me the most is the fact that the drop down started on 29th May. Now, it’s 2 weeks since the problem has appeared and it still isn’t solved.

Two lessons that we all should take to heart:

  1. If you decide to use a solution that you are not sure how Google deals with - make tests rather than implementing it on the whole website
  2. React quickly. Almost 3 weeks and counting can be too long to recover fully.

This case study was written by Bartosz Góralewicz, LRT Certified Xpert, CEO at Elephate,

and proud user of LinkResearchTools (LRT).

LinkResearchTools AgencyA word from Christoph C. CemperLinkResearchTools Xpert

LRT Certifieds Rock

You ROCK, Bartosz!

 

Bartosz Góralewicz  from Elephate has been sharing fantastic google penalty, link building and website optimization stories with us for many years now. The Hulu.com Javascript fail case study is yet another fantastic research written by our LRT Certified Xpert.

Elephate is a LRT Certified Agency. This certification allows Elephate to receive consulting leads from us.

Our goal is to provide our user community and clients with quality service and knowledge. Our LRT Certified Professionals, Xperts, and Agencies are key to achieving this goal.

I look forward to Bartosz’s future work, and I personally recommend working with him whenever you get the opportunity.

Bartosz Goralewicz Xpert 2016

superhero smallWith the Superhero Plans you can perform link audits, link cleanup, link disavow boost, competitive research, professional SEO and backlink analysis for your own or your competitor's sites.

You can fix or avoid a Google Penalty! Learn more about how you can Recover and Protect with LRT.

 

 

Facebook Comments

Bartosz Goralewicz

HomepageFacebook
Bartosz Góralewicz specializes in link audits. He does consulting mostly for corporate customers and large sites. You can find some of his case studies or interesting posts by clicking the posts tab. 


New LRT Plans 2017 – Full Superhero Power for All

New Plans and Prices
LRT reworked all product plans and features to match everyone's needs and support our business philosophy for quality and comprehensiveness

20 SEO Link Building Tips for 2018

20 SEO Link Building Tips
Link Building has been called "dead" for years. The rules of 2003 certainly changed, and those who could not learn

Co-Citations and Bad Neighborhood Explained

link building co-citations
One of the most important elements for quality and safe link building is a good neighborhood. If you read this

Competitive Domain Analysis with LRT

competitive-domain-analysis
The competitive situation is different in Google for any given country, language, industry, or search term. Therefore it is crucial

Backlink Audits Faster and Bigger

April-2017-Release-Link-Audit-Faster-Bigger-V3
We are proud to present you our April product update that will boost productivity and link data quality in your

Clients speak for LinkResearchTools

William Sears - Growth & SEO at LinkedIn

William Sears

"A huge part of SEO success is your backlink portfolio.

 Not only do you need to understand where your links are coming from, you need to be able to take action to manage those links. LinkResearchTools is an indispensable collection of powerful tools to do just that. I’m a long-time customer of LinkResearchTools and highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about crushing it with links."

Kenneth Chan, Founder and CEO - Tobi

Kenneth-Chan

"Your tools are the best in the industry.

 The service is great.

Christoph, your passion is contagious."

Larry Markovitz -  Sr. Director of Organic Search at GroupM 

larry-markovitz

"Continuous improvement of our client's results

LinkResearchTools and specifically Link Detox gives us actionable insights that continuously improve our clients results in the search engines."

 

Click here for a lot more happy users of LRT and happy companies that licensed LRT.

Recover - Protect - Learn - Grow your SEO - Learn how LRT can help you.

Have you heard enough to make a decision?

No? Talk to our product experts and get a custom plan quote.

Want to work with the app, not talk? Get a discounted trial. Just the export doesn't work.

LinkResearchTools is trusted by the world’s most respected brands.

Linkedin
swarovski
victoria' secret
mtv
intel
ebay