Last week it has been revealed that some bug in Google search algorithm classifier caused a massive change all over the search results. As it turns out, the classifier mistakenly identified enormous amount of sites as parked domains which led for a removal of the websites from the search index.
This mass sites removal also had a secondary impact: Other websites’ traffic also fell (in different volumes) because all the link juice driven from the vanished websites was gone. Google identified the bug four days ago (on April 19th) as Google’s head of the spam team, Matt Cutts, disclosed the error and released an apology in a Google+ post.
Even though it appears that the classifier bug itself has been fixed (more on that next), it seems that the results are still pretty messy. As a person that working with Google A LOT (on an hourly-basis in some days) I found it very hard today to search for some not-so-complicated pieces of information for another article I was working on through Google.
The problem is that although Google may have fixed the bug, the results are certainly didn’t returned yet to what they used to be, leaving many site owners frustrated. A lot of webmasters are still complaining on Google Forums that they are yet to receive the same traffic volume prior the bug.
When I researched a bit about those sites, it was clear to me why they aren’t receiving little or no traffic at all: Only few of their site’s pages are indexed! Apparently, Google needs to crawl and to index all the websites it wrongfully recognized as empty (parked domains) from end to end. And that, may take some time.
On the meantime, a WebmasterWorld forum thread that has been posted recently is discussing about the search quality of Google vs Bing. So far, the majority of people have posted that they prefer using… Bing! On the thread, there are many webmasters that are expressing their long time disappointment from Google’s results even before this specific bug surfaced.
Blekko’s CEO Rich Skrenta also mentioned about a week ago that one of the reasons Blekko is skyrocketing is caused from a general discontent from Google’s results. However, it doesn’t seems that this alleged dissatisfaction from Google is reflecting in market share at the moment- On March, Google held more than 66% of the U.S. search market share while Bing held only 29% (including Yahoo).
So… Does Google is in some trouble? I still think we are very far from it as for many people Google is a synonym for search. However, Google must be careful. There are many examples in history for once a great web empires that have fallen from glory.