I think its a pretty safe bet to say that for anyone who depends this way or another on Google search traffic it has been a crazy ride in the last seven days. But not only that, I’m pretty certain that we are even going to have more changes in the near future.
Let me summarized briefly what’s going on: On April 19th, Google’s Matt Cutts stated that some algorithmic classifier renegaded, causing many sites to appear as essentially empty websites. Even though the classifier itself was fixed, many are still complaining that they didn’t fully recover.
On April 24th, Google announced on the launch of a new webspam algorithm that suppose to target websites that engaged in techniques which violates Google’s guidelines. This algorithm impacted severely the search results and it isn’t clear if we have yet seen the end of it.
On top of all that, Cutts just Tweeted that there was a periodical Panda update (data refresh) on April 19th. Yes, on the same date as the classifier bug! It still unclear if these two events are somehow connected or its just a pure coincidence.
Standing in the middle of all this chaos are obviously the millions of webmasters, site owners, bloggers, marketers and others, which are trying to figure out what the fu*k just happened.
Like in most these kind of cases, the first places where is it possible to collect and share some information in real-time, are forums. For example in the WebmasterWorld forum there is a great ongoing thread about the Google updates for April.
The problem is that even though mostly SEO savvy people are participating in the discussion, the voices of the ones that got hit are the loudest one by nature. It doesn’t say that they’re wrong, but it still doesn’t offer a complete full objective picture.
To balance things up, Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land published a fantastic post where he tries to determine if Google search results are now better or worse compared to Bing.
Despite that Danny couldn’t reach for a decisive conclusion as the results were pretty similar on all of his examined queries, I think that is poorly reflecting on Google. In the last 10 years or so, Google was always known to provide by far the most relevant results and if now things are more tied, what will keep Google holding to its strong search domination?
But don’t rush into Bing just quite yet. As I stated at the beginning, I’m almost positive that soon enough Google will throw some more algorithm changes.
The latest webspam update is nothing less than a complete SEO game changer. SEOs and marketers no longer can create as many backlinks as possible without consequences. Now, Google put a price tag on that. However, it still needs some additional tuning.
There are many competitive niches where EVERYBODY that ranked high had to use all kinds of linking tactics, such as in the “make money online” query Danny has examined. When the webspam algorithm launched and target all those sites, there was simply no one quality enough left to rank high. Thus, the poor results for this query.
Even though I believe that the webspam algorithm is a good thing in general (yes, I admit!), it MUST be tuned a bit because Google can’t afford delivering such a miserable results to users.
But all you site owners who was hit, don’t just sit and pray for another algorithm tweak that will arrive and get you back on the horse. There is some reason why you got hit even if not fully justified, so try to fix it.
It’s a whole new search world, only the adoptive will survive.