diberry - 4:03 pm on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)
Shaddows, that was kind of my instinct of what was wrong with the site, even before Penguin. I had switched from Feedburner to a real email subscription service months before, and noticed I was getting a lot of "content no longer relevant" unsubs whenever I published pages in certain categories.
I had been wondering what to do without destroying my SE traffic when Penguin hit and took out the traffic for me, LOL! So I pruned huge amounts of content to hone in on what visitors seem to like and avoid the stuff they call "irrelevant." I did this about a week ago, so it's way too early to conclude what caused the following changes but:
--Traffic's up about 25% this week from last (Penguin knocked it down by 82%).
--Unsubs are down and subs are up a bit
But I'm having another very distinct fluctuation on Google this morning.
--Suddenly this morning, Google traffic is up 68% from yesterday *so far*. It hasn't been up more than 30% at any point in my many daily checks since Penguin. It'll be interesting to see if it stops dead at noon to keep it down in that level I'm stuck at since Penguin.
--What's driving the traffic is non-exact-word long tail. In the past, most of my long tail searches have been nearly exact word matches for page titles or headers. Today's long tail phrases are clearly well-matched to my resulting pages, but the wording isn't nearly exact. Sometimes it uses synonyms.
If this sticks, it could be a great change. But I'll let you know what happens, since this is exactly the sort of fluctuation you'd expect if the algo is running tests, and it should lead to some kind of lasting change if it is indeed just testing rather than traffic shaping.
Edited to update numbers.