My websites have not been hurt by the September SERP changes, but my experience as a normal search user has seriously suffered. Lately, I can't find what I want on Google OR Bing - I don't mean I'm not liking the results, I mean for example I'll search for "exact name of uniquely titled Wordpress plugin" in quotes, and get results about all sorts of things, only some of which have anything to do with Wordpress, plugins or any word in my query. This is really, really bizarre and it feels like about 1997, and it's happened many times lately.
Again, I'm not talking about terms I track for my sites, which are doing okay; I'm talking about a huge variety of topics I search regularly for my own personal edification.
This has pushed me to Blekko, which is still able to get me what I want, more or less - it's not as good as the others were until this month, but it's better than they are right now.
So what's happening? Possibilities:
Are they trying to push me to click ads? I don't think so, because the ads aren't a bit more relevant and I'm not clicking.
Google might *possibly* be trying to confuse government probes by making the algo super-inscrutable, if that's even possible let alone plausible. It's the only potential explanation I can't immediately dismiss... but it wouldn't explain why Bing's just as bad. Unless Bing is copying everything Google does? They're not that stupid, are they?
So I dunno. I think this just has to be a big misstep in the machine learning process. It's not the first time I've been mostly unable to find what I wanted from Google - I believe the same thing happened around Caffeine or Florida, one of the big past updates. And if I recall, it took MONTHS for things to get significantly better. Again, I'm talking about myself as a regular searcher, not terms I track for my own business.