1script - 6:21 pm on May 13, 2010 (gmt 0)
WARNING: This post is very long
Just wanted to share some good news here - one of my (many) sites hit on March 15th is seeing a nice 20% up-tick in Google referrals since yesterday. Googlebot's activity has also increased 10 times.
This is a far cry from full recovery (lost 90% of G* traffic in March) but the first upward movement in almost 2 months.
Basically, what I'm seeing is a return of the same keywords to approximately the same positions (although they now tend to fluctuate a lot, as many pointed out here). Just as if the data about the pages was lost for two months, then some of it found.
I have also done some analysis of my G* referrals before March 15 crash and after. What I was specifically looking for is whether the type of the keywords that continued working after March 15 differs in any way from those during "normal" times. Meaning, has the traffic become more "long tail" or less. In this study I sided with those people that measure the "length" of the "tail" not in the number of words but in the number of searches for those keywords. This is because some of my best performing KWs would be ridiculously long tail if you measure in words - 5 to 7, and that was the case both before the crash and after.
So, I took the total number of keywords I received G* traffic on and came up with percentages for the keywords that only occurred once (produced referral once) in a month, then 1-5, 5-10, 10-50, 50-100 and more than 100. For all intents and purposes those above 100 are the "shortest tail" or "trophy" and 1 - the "longest tail".
In addition, I looked at two sites - one that has been affected and the other one that has not.
I'm going to have to spare you a lot of details (that I don't feel comfortable sharing in the open anyways) but, after a couple days of grepping, awking and sedding the end result was the exact opposite of the hypothesis I started the study with: