Shaddows - 9:35 pm on Oct 27, 2010 (gmt 0)
On the Monthly Thread [webmasterworld.com], I've posted about my experience of what appeared to me an extended period testing
Using a multivariate dataset, across a range of different keyphrases, user intents and user types, Google exposed our site in marginal but significant ways (putting us up one place, dropping Universal search, above or below shopping results, etc). They did this with (at least) four separate sets.
Over the course of 6 weeks, we experienced a slow churn of referrals, with four discrete datasets:
BIG uplift in traffic since 1st SEPT (20% above trend) with a corresponding drop in conversion rate, so sales were broadly static (on trend). Referrals shifted at precisely the same time. No visible change in ranking.
A referral shift on 16th Sept, another 6th October- both traffic and conversion neutral (relative to the 1st Sept).
Then the biggy. 12th October, huge referral shift. Traffic-neutral, but conversions back at pre-Sept level. In other words, we are now 20% up on sales. The referrals are NOT the same (or even particularly similar) to the pre-September level
Does anyone else have any experience of what appears to be purposeful traffic shaping- with a definitive end result?
In the past, I've shied away from any theory that requires a "my site is special" mindset, but I am convinced this was outside the normal algo development cycle. My personal point of view is that Google is aggressively profiling users and sites, and trying to match the two within a specific context. Any takers?
I don't want this to become a "Google has no purpose, all my traffic is going to SPAM sites" free-for-all. Please post with qualitative data, or some meta analysis.