Pass_the_Dutchie - 3:57 pm on May 5, 2010 (gmt 0)
One of our main site (established 7 year old site, original content, white hat, low bounce rate, constantly increasing traffic, lots of returning visitors etc.) has been hit for our major, highly competitive single KW. First we dropped from pos 5 a few weeks ago to page two. Almost every 6 hours the SERPs are changing for this term, competitor site are moving around slightly but ours is dropping a place every few days. Pos 1 remains unchanged.
Short and long tail have remained mostly unchanged.
Massive amount of spidering a few weeks ago and cache for our home page is now being updated daily as opposed to every 4-5 days. We made a change at 09:00 this morning and the cache showed the change two hours later.
Over the years we have run a very carefully managed link acquisition campaign which has shown some great results in Bing but has done almost nothing over the last 6 months in G. When I mean careful I mean text book Google guidelines with consistently 10-15 quality links per week (less than 1% overall inbound link count)
Other than that we have cleaned up the html, increased site speed from 67% to 85% (pagespeed) and continue to add quality text, blog posts etc.
It has been the most carefully guarded and targeted link campaign we have embarked on in my 10 year career.
So, John Webster I hope your theory is right or Google has made a significant algo change which is seeing stale, poorly designed sites with feeble content, some cloaking content (site in pos 1) outranking sites which provide so much more to the our target market.