tedster - 11:51 pm on May 22, 2010 (gmt 0)
OK - lots of horror stories this May. One thing that strikes me as important is that only some of the members have shared any details about what kind of searches they lost traffic on.
If anyone is in this "I lost lots of traffic" boat and they don't have the data analysis programs installed that they need to dig deep - or they don't know how to use the programs they have - this should be a wake-up call to get that happening. This month we see that evening being scrupulous about Google's guidelines is no guarantee that even long standing rankings won't vanish for you.
How closely do you look at the keywords in your referrers? Do you note the number of words in each? Do you bucket that traffic by various types, such as navigational or informational? Do you know which keywords are "just traffic" and which bring you revenue? Do you know what googlebot's crawling pattern looks like for your site? Cn you tell the difference between a real googlebot request and a rogue bot that's just spoofing a googlebot user-agent?
There are ways to do all this, and more - and no they don't necessarily require Google Analytics. If you can't do in-depth analysis and your revenues are taking a dive, I highly recommend studying up and taking some intelligent steps.
Our Website Analytics [webmasterworld.com] forum is a good place to start.
The Analytics Library [webmasterworld.com] will give you an overview, and
Which Stats Package is right for you? [webmasterworld.com] is a good thread for getting practical.
With more detailed information at hand, you can contribute more in-depth information to discussions like this one and be part of finding some answers.
If I had to guess at a critical change in this algo change right now, I'd guess that backlinks are being scored in a whole new way. I think lots of backlink credit has been wiped out, especially the kind that any webmaster can just dummy up on their own - as opposed to the kind that takes another website thinking your site is worth recommending to their own visitors.