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Google made one of the biggest changes ever to its search results this week, which immediately had a noticeable effect on many Web properties that rely on the world's biggest search engine to drive traffic to their sites.
The major tweak aims to move better quality content to the top of Google's search rankings. The changes will affect 12% Google's results, the company said in a blog post late Thursday.
Comments from site operators lit up on the WebmasterWorld.com forum starting on Wednesday. Many webmasters complained that traffic to their sites dropped dramatically overnight, and others expressed concern that they can't adapt quickly enough to Google's changes to its algorithm.
I'm seeing a boost in traffic but I've never simply added hundreds/thousands/hundreds of thousands of articles just to cover my SEO keywords. Now I'm glad I didn't follow that trend.
On what basis do you think that all big news sites/blogs are writing on this - CNN, Techcrunch, Engadget, Mashable and the list goes on.
Google has said this impacts up to 11.8% of queries. That means 88.2% of queries are not noticeably impacted. When 9 out of 10 queries are not impacted...
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 4:54 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]
Ironically the supposed target--Demand Media--is not even impacted.
Not even close. ehow is now above my pages on every search result where they were one or two positions below a week ago, so they have definitely gained in this update. But why do you say they are a supposed target, what did I miss?
That is true, but if 20 websites lose and 3 win - that is NOT a zero sum game - that is a loaded deck.If you ruin 50 small site owners to drive their traffic to ehow, citibank or expedia is not a zero sum game. What baffles me is Google's apparent belief that in certain areas you must have 'thick content.' To make the pages thick, you have to hire some freelancers for $5-$10 a page to add crap around the 5-10 sentences or answers that people really seek. In short, you have to become what Google supposedly hates.
If you ruin 50 small site owners to drive their traffic to ehow, citibank or expedia is not a zero sum game.
I find it hard to believe that google will bite part of the hand that feeds it. Send out a lot of hype that they are fighting spam, then a month later quietly roll things back ...
Posted by Amit Singhal
"This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites..."
"At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites..."
"... it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and thatís exactly what this change does."
"...itís a big step in the right direction of helping people find ever higher quality in our results."
"...more updates that we believe will substantially improve the quality of the pages in our results."
"But the WSJ article seems to confirm that it was somewhat about that." Well, that's from their talking head. He obviously didn't mention the more egregious tactic that they were caught employing. So, take anything they said so far with a grain of salt.
Hopefully someone (OS or Google) will add more details to this story, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
I was involved in this story a few days ago when the WSJ journal contacted me about this thread (I am that guy 'Dave Harry' mentioned at the end of the WSJ article). Some of the emails I exchanged with the various parties alerted me to the 'other' issues. Sadly it is 'off the record' and I respect that.
...nothing in our thread points to a violation of Google guidelines.
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 10:53 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]
analyzing a big name website that was doing a lot quite well - and that IS the way the thread went for a while.... I can assure everyone that our thread did NOT start the Wall Street Journal investigation...
In a tacit admission that Web publishers are flooding its search engine with low-quality pages, Google has revised its methods to improve the usefulness of its results.
I hang out in the real world quite a bit and it has been interesting to hear lay people complain about Google's results. I expect to hear it here, but when my wife--and she is as real as it gets--starts talking about it, something is up.
For the record, our few high ranking sites seem to be fine. (Most of my clients don't require SEO) But, then, they don't have drivel.
[edited by: TheMadScientist at 11:28 pm (utc) on Feb 26, 2011]