Google Search Is A Problem: How Google Is Crushing Tuta.

We submitted a DMA complaint at the EU as Google dropped visibility of Tuta(nota) by 90% in its search results.

2024-04-17 / Updated: 2024-04-24
When people search for "encrypted email", they no longer see the Tuta website at all.
We, the Tutao GmbH, have submitted a DMA complaint to the EU because Google is destroying visibility of our product Tuta Mail via search results. Google in its role as a gatekeeper is impacting the profits and marketability of our private email service Tuta Mail - a direct competitor to Google's Gmail, which goes against the Digital Markets Act. Now we call on Google to stop this illegit de-ranking of our website in search results, and we call on the EU to look at this unfair practice in the course of its investigation into the DMA-compliance of Google.

Beginning of March 2024, our website experienced de-ranking in Google Search - a change that took us by surprise as we did not change anything on our website. Consequently, our website was no longer displayed as a potential search result for thousands of keywords, but only for a few hundred.

We, the German company Tutao GmbH, are developing and marketing Tuta Mail and Tuta Calendar. Our encrypted email provider launched under the name of Tutanota in 2014 ( and rebranded to Tuta Mail with the new website in autumn 2023.

We are the second-largest encrypted email service worldwide and up until beginning of March ranked very well for search terms like “encrypted email” and “secure email” which makes sense as these search terms describe the core of our products. Our rankings only dipped slightly after the rebranding to a new website in autumn 2023 as we managed the rebranding with experienced SEO experts, making sure that we redirected all website pages one-on-one so that search crawlers could easily understand and index our new website.

Everything was fine and we constantly gained traffic via search results as our user base and our product suite grew and as we released quantum-safe encryption for email. Tuta Mail currently has more than ten million users and also offers services like the Tuta Calendar, Tuta Contacts and soon a Tuta Drive – everything securely encrypted by default.

However, beginning of March 2024 Google suddenly stopped displaying our website for thousands of keywords, limiting search traffic to our site in large parts to so-called “branded traffic” only. This means people were no longer finding our encrypted email provider when searching for “encrypted email” or "secure email", but only when explicitly searching for “Tuta” or “Tutanota”.

This drop in ranking only affects us. Google in its function as a gatekeeper is destroying our business through search results.

Drop in visibility over 90%

After Google stopped displaying our website for thousands of search terms, our total impressions dropped by 74%, according to data from the Google Search Console.

The damage that Google has done to our product and its visibility online becomes even more obvious when removing branded search keywords. When we remove all keywords that contain the word “tut” in them (which includes all keywords of our product Tuta or formerly Tutanota), visibility drops by a staggering 89%.

And this is not even the end of it: Included in the remaining 11% of visibility, there are still branded search terms like тутанота in Russian or keemail (which is one of our alternative email domains) as the Google Search Console would let us only remove one partial keyword.

Consequently, we see a drop of more than 90% of visibility on Google Search for non-branded keywords, which means that almost no one who does not already know that Tuta Mail exists is able to find our product via Google Search.

Given the dominance of Google Search, particularly in Europe and North America, this will over time destroy our business.

Encrypted email and secure email

To visualize how the drop in search rankings affects our business, we need to look at search terms obviously related to our business like "secure email" and "encrypted email". Tuta (and formerly Tutanota) has always ranked for these terms in the past.

Tuta Mail is the second largest encrypted email provider in the world, our mail client is often recommended on blogs and forums as the go-to email alternative when looking for secure and private email, and it makes sense that Tuta is ranked for these search terms - just like our competitors are ranking for these terms and just like our website used to rank for these terms in the past. This is not the case anymore.

In the following graphs we compare the ranking of "secure email" and "encrypted email" from March 2024 and August 2023. We pick these months because in autumn 2023 we rebranded from Tutanota to Tuta, which included changing websites from to Yet, since all site redirects have been configured correctly and we redirected the pages one-on-one, the relaunch went fine and there were no major changes in Google's rankings - until beginning of March 2024 when rankings suddenly dropped.

Position of the Tuta website on Google when searing for "secure email". Position of the Tuta website on Google (a higher position is better) when searching for "secure email" in August 2023 (green) and in March 2024 (red).

Position of the Tuta website on Google when searing for "encrypted email". Position of the Tuta website on Google (a higher position is better) when searching for "encrypted email" in August 2023 (green) and in March 2024 (red).

These graphs show that no one can find our secure email product anymore when looking for "secure email" or "encrypted email".

It is not known to us why Google is pushing our ranking down. This change by Google took us by surprise as we did not perform any changes on our website during that time. We also never had a similar issue before.

We have no idea why Google is no longer showing our website for thousands of keywords that we used to rank for in the past.

Even branded search is affected

Even when people search for "Tutanota login" on Google in Germany, they do not see our website as a first result - but our Android app on Google Play. On other search engines - like DuckDuckGo, Yahoo or Bing - there is no issue, the Tuta website comes up as the first search result. So while this is clearly an issue with Google only, it has severe implications for our business.

Google is the dominant search engine in Europe, North America, and beyond. When people are not able to find our website on Google, it means we lose business.

So let's take a look at how the Tuta website is presented at Google, DuckDuckGo, and Bing:

Only on Google, the Tutanota website is not displayed when searching for "Tutanota login" Google results when searching for "Tutanota login" in Germany.

Only on Google, the Tutanota website is not displayed when searching for "Tutanota login" DuckDuckGo results when searching for "Tutanota login" in Germany.

Only on Google, the Tutanota website is not displayed when searching for "Tutanota login" Bing results when searching for "Tutanota login" in Germany.

The issue is only there when searching on Google. If people use other services for searching for "Tutanota Login" like DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yahoo!, or even on the Russian search platform Yandex (even though Tuta Mail is blocked in Russia), there is no issue at all. Except for Google, our website always shows up when people search for "Tutanota login".

Contacting Google...

For the last few weeks, we have tried to get in touch with Google. We have opened multiple support tickets on their official platforms, gotten in touch with personal contacts who work at Google, and even tried to contact their press offices via email and Twitter.

All in vain. It is impossible to get in touch with anyone at Google who is willing to look into this issue. We understand that this is a delicate issue for Google, particularly given that the Digital Markets Act (DMA) came into power beginning of March 2024 - which is exactly when the issues with Tuta's rankings started to appear.

Digital Markets Act & Google's search results

The DMA is a rather new EU law that requires gatekeepers such as Google to take action to enable a fair playing field across all their platforms to other companies, including competitors. Tuta Mail is a direct competitor to Google as we offer a private alternative to Gmail.

This makes the de-ranking of our page particularly delicate for Google. The EU has recently launched an investigation to check "whether Google preferences the firm's own goods and services in search results".

When looking at this screenshot again, the conclusion is obvious:

On Google, the Tutanota website is not displayed when searching for "Tutanota login" Google shows our app on Google Play as the first result when searching for "Tutanota login" - not our website. If that is not self-preferencing, then what is?

Gatekeeping power

This issue shows clearly how Google can use its gatekeeping power with Google Search to hurt competitors. It's a good thing that we now have the DMA legislation to help companies fight for a fair playing field and to help consumers find alternatives to the big tech gatekeepers.

Our founder Matthias Pfau has also commented on Apple's attempt to get away with its malicious measures to comply with the DMA:

"It is difficult to compete with such large tech companies like Google or Apple that have never-ending funds for feature development and marketing in the first place. Yet, if they were able to make it even harder for small competitors on their own platforms like the Apple app store or on Google Search, any new competitor would never be able to leave its niche and become a mainstream provider."

Fortunately, we at Tuta Mail rely on a strong open source community who have supported us for more than ten years already and who have paved our road to success - despite repeating issues that we are facing from big tech gatekeepers.

In 2023, Outlook was falsely marking emails from email addresses as spam, blocking them from Outlook mailboxes completely. We tried to resolve the issue with Microsoft support for weeks. The issue was only resolved when a journalist - who was affected himself because he was using Tuta Mail - started asking questions about it.

Within one day of the journalist's inquiry, the issue was suddenly fixed by Microsoft and emails from landed in Outlook mailboxes just fine again. Only slightly later a similar issue affected Outlook customers themselves when sending emails to Gmail.

While we are not able to know what's going on at Outlook or Gmail technically, it's obvious that these bugs are affecting many email providers, possibly even companies using their own mail server.

Such issues need to be addressed as soon as the email provider or company affected complains about them, not only when a journalist starts asking questions.

These issues with big tech demonstrate the necessity of the EU’s Digital Markets Act:

  1. Big tech services have the power to crush smaller providers.

  2. Complaints from small services are ignored (possibly there are too many such complaints?).

  3. Issues are only resolved when the big tech feels external pressure to do so.

Consequently, it is a good thing that in Europe we have the DMA. This piece of legislation comes to the rescue not just for digital services like ours, but also for much smaller services or independent developers that do not have the capacity to draw public attention to actions of a gatekeeper and its abuse of power.

Google, please fix the search issue!

Today, we are calling on Google to fix the search issue that we are experiencing with It is not acceptable that our site has disappeared from Google Search, particularly for terms that are obviously so closely related to our product like "Tutanota login", "encrypted email", and "secure email".

What you can do to help

Be loud! Big tech services have a lot of power, but so do we. With millions of users worldwide, we have the power to make noise about this issue. Here is how you can help us get the issue fixed:

  • If you have a personal contact working at Google Search, please get in touch with us so we can reach out to them.

  • Share this blog post on Twitter, Mastodon, or your favorite social media platform to make noise about it.

  • Tell your friends about privacy-first alternatives like Tuta Mail so that more and more people stop using big tech services and help break the power of gatekeepers.

  • If in the EU, contact your EU representative and show your support for the DMA and the need to further limit the gatekeeping power of Big Tech. We at Tuta are criticizing politicians a lot, for instance because of chat control; we must also let them know when they do good, for instance when passing laws like the Digital Markets Act.

Thank you very much!

Final thoughts

We hope that by going public with this issue, we are finally able to reach the right people at Google so that they can fix the issue. If this is not the case, our last option will be to sue Google based on the DMA. This would be an expensive endeavour, and we hope that it will not be necessary as we prefer to invest our income into improving your secure email and calendar service than to spend it on legal fees.

You can support us and our fight against big tech dominance, by signing up for a paid Tuta account.

Thank you for joining the privacy revolution!

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