scottsonline - 1:18 am on Jun 7, 2010 (gmt 0)
@backdraft at least for the majority of my personal searches the MFA sites aren't the problem most of the time. I specifically recall searching for a sports related topic last fall and finding it easily with Google. I bookmarked it, changed computers and searched and found it multiple times over the early winter. This spring it's gone from Google, I can only find it through Bing. This is a highly reputable site, nationally known magazine etc. Replacing it are mostly irrelevant and only partially related pages that seem to contain the keywords but loosely throughout the text. This seems to be happening across the board to corporate sites as well.
I know we're not supposed to post specific examples so I won't. But the one I mention above staggers me. If a user is no longer given exactly and explicitly what they are searching for but instead are given a bunch of unrelated junk that requires the user to go to the bottom of the page and read and click on a text link that says "let us show you what you actually searched for" I have to wonder who thought this up?
I stopped counting at 1900 sites showing the product in Google when I go down to the bottom and click on "show me what I explicitly searched for". If a lot of you are wondering where your traffic went I'm guessing this is how some of the long tail has vanished. Instead of showing the 1900+ they are showing 1 and a bunch of junk. How many millions of search terms is this also happening for?
They built their success on returning results users wanted whether they were organic or PPC. What we have as of June 6, 2010 is a percentage of search terms returning no PPC ads and nonsensical results because somewhere along the line the algo thought it knew what we were actually searching for and the interface is so clumsy it doesn't make it clear to the user Google substituted what they thought you were looking for instead of showing you what you DID search for.