Reno - 10:34 pm on Jan 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
This cannot be the only change that Google rolls out.
Like all of us, they'll be constantly changing, sometimes for the better, and sometimes things will seem worse. But change will be ongoing ~ it's the one constant ~ that much we can count on.
So given that, here's what I'd like to see: In GWT, they add a new alert to the top of the dashboard that pops up anytime a big algo tweak is in the works. I'm not talking about minor tweaks, I mean the BIG changes that MC feels a need to announce and/or defend after the fact in his blog.
The alert would say something like this:
"NOTICE: The next Google algorithm update will focus on cleaning content farms from positions of unfair advantage in our index. This will likely affect websites with considerable content copied from other online sources. Once this update is complete, preference will be given to the originators of content. We expect this to be in effect in no less than 60 days."
So what's that do? For one thing, it gives fair notice, so legit webmasters can make sure they're running a clean operation; Secondly, it removes the shock of a rapid change in traffic patterns, and if there is such a drop, it helps explain what is going on.
The notion that this sort of heads-up to webmasters via GWT is going to give the black hats too much of a clue doesn't hold up for me any longer, because once the update takes place, we all know the black hats immediately start working on ways to circumvent it. But in the meantime, the lack of advance warning can be crushing to a whole lot of legit online businesses that get seriously hurt and feel like they've been suckerpunched.
Google is big enough and powerful enough to provide "public notice" without any worry about someone using that information to launch a competing search engine in a 60 day period. So the sooner they start working with webmasters to prepare us in advance for these kind of disruptions, the better our position for dealing with it, and perhaps, the more moderate the impact.