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Why Recent Google Algorithm Update is Costing Some Sites

Matt Cutts: Hit By Mayday? Improve Your Quality.

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Google’s recent algorithm update, nicknamed "Mayday" by webmasters got a lot of people riled up, as many claimed it seriously affected their rankings, and potentially their revenues.

Do you think the update has affected your revenue? Comment here.

WebProNews spoke with Google’s Matt Cutts at SMX Advanced, and he talked a little bit about Mayday, saying that it was designed to try and spot signals of quality on pages and sites that would be good for users.

He noted that the update was not part of his Webspam team’s efforts, but was part of general search quality, and that human intervention is not involved. It’s strictly algorithmic.

Note: Mayday is not the only thing Cutts talks about in the interview above. He also talks Caffeine and video sitemaps. If you have a response to any of this stuff, please feel free to chime in, in the comments.

Cutts says auto-generated pages and content farms tend to get hit the most by Mayday. His advice to webmasters affected by it, is basically to improve quality. He says to make sure you’re returning the highest quality content for users. Stuff that’s not available anywhere else can be helpful – stuff that’s not duplicate or scraped or lower quality.

Based on the reactions we’ve seen from disgruntled webmasters, I’m guessing that advice isn’t going to satisfy everyone. Here are a few samples of reader comments from our previous coverage of the update:

"In conjunction with the drop in Google traffic, I have seen a matching drop in clicks out from my site to other sites. So it’s real, and it’s not been rosy to deal with."

"Every time they make an improvement something else goes wrong."

"Yes I have worked hard trying to rank and it keeps changing. Decided to go to other mehtods and forget about Google and their ranking."

Even Cutts says you shouldn’t just focus on search engines.

Bruce Clay, who runs a highly regarded marketing firm had some interesting things to say about the update (about 12 minutes into the video):

Gerben commenting on the interview at our video blog says, "Well, having a portal completely based on User Generated Content is affected by #mayday also, don’t think the explanation is completely correct."

One reader offered some sound advice: "Never forget the first rules in SEO: It changes all the time. So, Google has made a change, which is not the first one. Do the basics right and you will have a sound long-term strategy."

I don’t imagine taking Cutts’ advice about improving quality can hurt either way. The worst thing that happens is that the user benefits from better content.

More on Mayday (including comments from affected webmasters) here

Do you think your rankings have been affected by the "Mayday" update?
 Let us know.

Why Recent Google Algorithm Update is Costing Some Sites
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  • http://www.elite-web.co.uk/home.php Elite Web Studio Ltd

    I think Google usually tries to use a variety of methods to determine a website

  • http://www.seoworkers.com John S. Britsios (aka Webnauts)

    The video is not loading here. I am on a 32Mbit cable connection and waiting for almost a half an hour and still not loaded.

  • http://www.lexolution.in/blog Maneet

    I guess all the SEO advice boils down to one thing-great content. If you offer exceptional content, it will automatically get popular and search engines cant resist it for long!

  • Tim

    Google updates are just to throw everyone off so as to not be able to rely on organic search.

    This means you then have to pay for clicks and Google makes more money.

    Don’t be fooled, you can’t build a model that counts on Google !

  • Guest

    Yup… mayday is affecting the heck out of my business, and family. 60-80% drop in traffic and revenue happened across 2 separate sites on June 2nd.

    90% of our content was written by us, the other 10% was quoted or product descriptions, etc. We never even did any kind of link building on it… and just let it live (or die in this case) on its own merits. Fortunately, we have a good reader base on the site… or all would be lost.

    Aside from the jumping up and down, screaming and even crying over this… it really sucks, because essentially you have nowhere to turn for help or reasoning. (webmaster forums… are YOU ready to be publicly humiliated?) 3 kids in college, 3 at home… we are scrambling to pick up the pieces and rebuild at a time when its already hard enough to make a living out here.

    Google should have more responsibility to their level of power over commerce and peoples lives.

    Regardless of all the “don’t rely on Google for your business” comments I have read, anyone who says they throw the search generated revenue into the rubbish, is lying! Of course you forecast and plan on it…

    I’m off to jump off a cliff now…

  • http://www.sefati.net al sefati

    generic info but i could see how google improved quality…my clients with a lot of useless pages that said the same keywords over and over just different sentence structure….and they lost a lot of traffic and ranking

  • http://www.LasVegasOkay.com Adsense Publisher

    If Google is able to profit more because of this change, then it’s a plus for them, as well as for the world. If it ends up costing them revenue, then I’m sure we’ll see more changes, but then don’t we anyway as Google’s SERP is always evolving.

  • Indi

    I can see now why government have to have a hand on these business. I think big G. needs to be regulated real bad. The abuse has to stop!

  • http://www.noosaqueensland.net.au Noosa

    I dont know why everyone complains – Google never said they were interested in making people a living. To base a business plan around your SEO skills is a plan for failure.

  • http://mst3.wordpress.com Doc

    I think Bruce is spot on with his projections regarding mobile devices going away from browsers, to “find” apps. I’d take it a step further… I suspect that may hold true for the web users as a whole, over the next 2-3 years. Searches will still be needed, obviously, but not to the extent they are used today. That means that SEO is going to face some new challenges, one of which will be increased focus on content quality. A “new” tagging system, perhaps, built upon rich snippets?

  • JBG

    For over 10 years now the mantra has been “Content is King”. The upside is that people who have been working toward building unique content in an effort to make their site and the internet a more interesting & satisfying place are finally being rewarded. We have seen a solid 25 – 33% increase (and growing) in daily traffic since June 1. Our efforts to date have been focused on user experience and authoritative content with the knowledge we need to take steps to make sure G knows we exist.

    Who knows, maybe we are next on the chopping block, but for each “Mayday ruined my lively hood” story there is someone out there thinking “Google likes me, they really like me!”.

  • http://www.seoclock.co.uk SEOClock

    I have found too many foreign websites appearing in the UK for it to be considered a success. Also, we manage many sites that use the keyphrase as the domain name, and Google seems to have forgotten about this element until you have lots of relevant content. That is something we agree with.

  • http://www.portfolio.kolbuszowiak.info Guest

    what the f$%^. this is stupid idea, a new google update is suck.

  • http://www.termdeposit.com/ Term Deposts

    Great information about site traffic. Keep it up.
    Thanks

  • Classifieds Guy

    Google Destroyed my business with this update. Revenue is less then a third then it was 8 month ago. I have a high quality classifieds page. Thanks for that Google- and don`t forget – don`t be evil ;-)

  • http://www.answeringexperts.com/Category/Animals.aspx animals help

    my website suddenly down to 98th ranking on animals help keyword,,what should i do ????