Why Recent Google Algorithm Update is Costing Some Sites

    June 12, 2010
    Chris Crum

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.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.