Yesterday there has been a big change in our traffic for about 5 hours. Numerous other webmasters mentioned the same - and some might be very frustrated now because all reverted back to the current search results.
Personally, I have never seen such a big movement in such a short amount of time.
This early morning I was very frustrated. My first thought has been: hey, they tried it again - it didn't worked. Google is broken, yadda yadda .. all the stuff a webmaster with thousands of supplemental pages thinks.
But then, after the first coffe I started thinking again. What could be the reason for such a large movement? Why in the world would a search engine change the entire results (and that must have been millions of pages) for such a short amount of time?
I came up with two possibilities:
1. Something went wrong.
Whatever happened, after 5 hours it turned out to be "no good" and somebody (or some routine) took the decision to take the newest brew offline.
2. It was planned for a reason.
This was a planned shakeup because the worlds number one search engine would not move millions of pages unintentional.
What i have found out so far - most of the traffic that came in yesterday has been traffic for the keywords my website ranked before december 15/16. Basically I had the same traffic as I had 1 month ago. Could it be that old data jumped back into the index for 5 hours? Millions of pages? Just like that? An old datacenter demanded some exposure?
Then it striked me - what if that megaflux (or however you want to call it) was fully intentional? What could Google gain from that?
Since a long time I believe that Google is collecting much more Data then just our websites html. Identifying matching websites for certain search phrases demands user feedback. Deep tracking. Basically they will use Adsense, Analytics and Google Toolbar for that (and more probably). If you can't trust what some webmasters write on their pages - use other large scale data that can't be manipulated.
So, they know what kind of traffic I do have on my website that shows adsense and uses analytics. They know from where I do get my traffic, when I get it and how I get it.
Now to my conclusion: if Google is provoking a complete shift of their results for a limited amount of time - they are able to identify pages that are affected by that. They get large scale data about the pages that rank under different circumstances. 1:1.
I say it was intentional, planned and they will use the collected data during the next few days or weeks.
Whether they will use it in the way I wish - that is another story.
What do you think?
ps. sorry for my crude english - im not a native speaker...