Robert_Charlton - 7:32 pm on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
pontifex... I've been seeing for a while now that the serp "refinements" (sitelinks, multiple results for a site, title changes, etc) are getting more and more long tail, with local Place results appearing where I hadn't seen them before. I've been assuming that Google has been using these to test both user satisfaction with serps layouts, and also to test, say, "engagement" with pages made prominent by the extra exposure.
Very recently, I'm also seeing the Place results appear for much longer tail phrases than I've seen previously, and now I'm seeing different sets of pages being tested for Sitelinks. I'm noticing many more title changes too. While I do associate some appearances of these "refinements" as prefaces to a Panda iteration, the refinements have been appearing since well before Panda. If Google has been using them for testing, they were most likely testing other algo changes prior to Panda, and are likely testing all sorts of algo changes now.
With these changes you see, are you seeing any of the kind of traffic throttling as we'd discussed previously? The many current reports of "zombie" traffic also make me think that some kind of bigger changes are on the way... but, again, traffic throttling, and traffic shaping and zombie traffic also had preceded Panda by quite a bit. See...
January 26 2011 Change - Back to "Zombie Traffic"
Are we entering another Panda user-engagement calibration phase?
Google & Traffic Shaping - a hidden method to the quality madness?