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I have just been checking a competitive two word travel search (using a well known keyword analysis tool), and noticed that the top 10 spots are held by sites whose IBL's (as factored by google) vary between 6% and 44% of the total number of pages for those sites.
Included in the top 10 results are a number of small sites, which have a high percentage of IBL's when weighted against their total number of pages. They are not bad sites, but neither are any of them much good in terms of deep content and user satisfaction.
My site, which is currently around position 15 for that search term, only has 2.5% IBL's when weighted against total pages (a few thousand). Could it be part of the reason I have lost a lot of ground on this search term?
Not sure if this is a dumb question, but with all that's been going on in the SERPS and the deafening silence from google, perhaps there is no dumb question right now.
Included in the top 10 results are a number of small sites
There may be another factor here - shrouded in mystery but real enough. Matt Cutts has mentioned several times over the years that Google takes some special steps to help out the very small business - the Mom and Pop. I've seen this effect often enough for sites I helped friends with to know that it's real.