I've been following these posts for about 45 days as I've watched our traffic fluctuate substantially. During the last two weeks while conducting my own personal searches for topics covering everything from the spill in the Gulf to medications I may have to take to people lookups it certainly appears as though G has lost its way. For the first time in probably close to 10 years I'm using the other two engines to find stuff.
I've read everything here down to the last word and none of it seemed conclusive. Some believe there's problems with particular sites, some believe it's filters or trust, others aren't sure what to make of it.
Today I conducted a routine search for a product using the manufacturers name followed by the product name. I know this product is online on probably 10k websites. Guess what? Exactly one shows a result in G, the other 9 results on the first page and for the next 20 pages have zero to do with the product. Let's say the product is Manufacturers Widget Larry. Beyond the one and only result that pertains to the product there are results for Larry where somewhere on the page widget is mentioned but in no relation to Larry, there are blog posts that talk about manufacturer (but a location on a map not the brand) with Larry in that area etc...but they have nothing to do with the specific product match I was requesting. There are no suggestions and no google adwords either which is really odd. It's as though this product had vanished from the face of G. Meanwhile yahoo and Bing show hundreds of pages for the same query from all different manufacturers as we would all expect.
This tells me there is a systemic problem at Google. Whether this is part of their reindexing or some data error I do not know, but I do know one of the most popular products in that industry is in the abyss on thousands of sites. It's almost impossible to believe what are probably 1500 sites carrying this product all had that one specific product deindexed in favor of spam sites, cultivator type sites etc. This is not a matter of long tail traffic being lost, of some sites being favored over others etc, this is 1 site out of 1500-10k that carry this product that had it showing in the results in December now no longer having any results returned for a specific product search.
What I cannot stand about this new Google as an end user is specific searches that would once yield exactly what I want yield nonsense. I just cannot believe this is what Google intended. Something is either in process or broken.