Another info snippet for the tought pool:
(a) as probably anybody, I once in a while google my full name. The family name is a very German one and not as common as "smith" or "miller" - together with the first name I think there are about 20 people on the world with it. One is a doctor with a website I found a few years back.
Based on that info: the last 2 years when I googled the name I got around 20k results - from my old forums postings to the company entry of that doctor, all quite mixed and because I live online a lot, I "owned" the first page of the SERPS with forums, twitter, personal page, xing, facebook, etc.
That has now changed and I think that gives us a good clue about that "long tail" theory:
The results are now at around 50k, the first page is much more mixed. 2 results on me, then 1 one on the doctor, 2 on me, 2 on the doctor and then 2 directories of people with that last name and then a forumsposting again.
That is an unusual mix and I have to admit might give users a bigger variety for that search term.
I am still not sure about most parts of this algo update, but I think in the "long tail" Google mixes more and has lowered the impact of "domain authority" in that equation.
My theory so far is this:
Real time recognition of a "long tail" keyword - and in my book is a long tail keyword not categorized by the size or amount of letters in it, but by the amount of queries/day.
The major and fat belly keywords are directed to a quite stable set of results where ranking is done like we "think" we understand it.
But if you look for words that either carry no or low Adsense probability like
"delicious ranking ideas"
or other nonesense that you can come up with, you will see:
. more DEEP pages
. much less domains on the first page seem to have authority
than the hard core searches like
"cheap flights", "buy dvds", etc.
that carry strong buying intention and spawn
. domains with "authority"
. old, well optimized players
So: Maybe - and just maybe - Google is recognizing the keyword by search queries amount and applies less/more filtering or a completly different algo!
(b) I continued to look at the Alexa top 1,000 - 3,000 and their traffic rank development there over the last 2 weeks. There are only a few that copy my serious drop in traffic and strangly enough they are rather at the lower range or just recently (Jan, Feb, March) came to the club and vanished into 4.000+ in the last 7 days... (spare the "alexa is crap" prayers, its just another info source and might give us some hints).
I repeat my conclusion that I jumped to earlier: Link juice distribution into the deep space of your domains just got much more important - MUCH more!