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[edited by: tedster at 3:26 pm (utc) on Sep 1, 2010]
[edited by: tedster at 3:31 pm (utc) on Sep 1, 2010]
Since late May/ early June I have seen monumental changes in the SERPs with URLs appearing that have a number of low quality sitewide links, but include the URL name in the anchor text - which is keyword rich. So, in over 100 examples (for a extremely competitive term) that I have investigated the factors are the same:
- Massive improvement in Google SERPs for keyword rich URLs
- Under 500 external links
- Keyword rich anchor text
- Do not generally perform well for multiple search terms
- Domain age is under 1 year (some went live in May/June)
- Keyword rich internal anchor text that hinders usability
drall: Google recrawled our entire site and reweighed it through a completely different system that takes social networking aspects into account more. It's as if they are looking at the site through a different engine now.
Also interesting is that although overall visit count dropped our overall pageviews have doubled. So perhaps we are seeing the bleeding edge of something very big and very new? Less traffic but much more on target leading to better usage of our site?
Also pages with any social networking usage have a much greater % of recently updated caches even if the social networking activity is quite stale.
Tallon: I'm seeing something similar too. A smaller site of mine is increasing in both visitors and pageviews (before a visitor would view just over 1 page, now they're visiting 3 on average). I noticed that trend starting in June, getting stronger in July and then WHAMMO! August saw double the amount of pageviews this site typically saw in the months/years previous (pageviews per visitor). No changes to site at all during this time
steveb: What has changed is (amazingly) some words not in a query are now valued just as much as words that are in the query (!). And the importance of page title itself is less important overall. (It still is very important, but where it might be worth 114 points a few months ago it is worth 93 points now.)
So it's a bad idea to change your titles randomly, because tweaking a title can't help you with either of the above things. That is especially true in regards to the second factor.
In essence, Google's choices have been to move away from relevance... and the more precise a searcher searches, the further away from relevance Google gets. A webmaster can respond to this by making their pages more stupid (on a page about someone named Marie sometimes use "Mary" and "Mariah" instead), or just make pages that are not stupid and assume you'll still rank decently in 2010's Google-the-in-exact while also ranking just fine in the future when Google finally gets over its stubbornness and realize this change is a really and truly stupid one.
Google's changes are forcing every single person to buy adwords.