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(For some searches I know for a fact that I used to be able to find what I was looking for with Google.)
This was mainly for computer related technical searches. (Have not noticed much difference with other searches, but my other searches are often less specific.)
This is the first time in years I've had to do this! If this keeps up, there will come a time when I start in AV instead of Google.
Just thought I'd mention this in case they think all is swell. Google should not think their status is etched in stone for the remainder of all time.
I've been crunching hard to wrap up a project (almost done), but I've got a couple days that are less crazy this week, and I want to hear reports where people aren't happy with the results. If you see something in search results that looks spammy to you, please use the spam report form with the keyword "austinupdate" so it's easy for me to pull it up. The spam report form is here: [google.com...]
If on the other hand you think a particular set of search results is irrelevant (either because the current results are off-topic, or because you think that your site should be there and isn't), I'd write to webmaster [at] google.com and again use the keyword "austinupdate" or say something like "GoogleGuy asked me to mention this change with the Austin update" so that user support will know where to route it. I'll talk to user support so that they can collect those emails. I'll sit down with someone in the quality group to look over the feedback--if there's areas where we can be more relevant, I want to see reports with specifics, and I can't do that on WebmasterWorld.
Oh and yes I was jesting, I'm as baffled as everyone but I can't honestly imagine that Google is devaluing results to drive paid inclusion. It must be something else.
I have lost some good positions but seem to be about a wash traffic/revenue wise. And yes there are some highly searched results pages I watch with some pretty weak and old sites now appearing on them. But the best piece of advice I can give is to try to show up on the first few pages of hundreds of terms instead of banking on a few big ones. I know this isn't possible for everyone in any real sense but it may be the only means of survival long term.