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Google’s Mayday Algorithm Update

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With Google’s Mayday algorithm change being a rankings change, and not a crawling or index change means that websites that get less traffic will still have those pages indexed but may no longer rank as highly as before.

Matt Cutts indicates that “this is an algorithmic change in Google, looking for higher quality sites to surface for long tail queries. It went through vigorous testing and isn’t going to be rolled back.”

So its long tail queries that are going to be affected and large brands that do not have optimised “product” or “item” pages. An example of how this could affect you is explained well by Stephen Logan at Impact Media.

“Say you have a website with 30 pages. You have just 12 core products and have optimised the entire site to target these pages. There is an excellent linking profile, including plenty of deep links to your individual product. You have also developed a good internal link structure, with all pages easily accessible and sharing their content. Better still, you have unique content on each page and customer reviews to keep a fresh stream of information for the search engines to index.

Your competitor on the other hand has a sprawling site covering thousands of pages. They offer a variety of products in a wide number of categories. Each product has the manufacturer’s description attached, but no dynamic or unique content. The site has a high number of links, but the majority go to the Homepage and other main money pages.

Now you both have the same product. You are also both targeting the phrase ‘Sky Blue Brand X Sports Jacket’. This is a long tail keyword; it is also a term that you are likely to be far more optimised for being as though you have created original content. This could mean that you could now possibly overtake your rival due to your page’s greater authority.”

So what can you do?

Look through your analytics and keyword ranking reports and software to see if you notice any traffic and rankings dropping abnormally. Once you are armed with this information you can start to identify any changes that will make the pages more unique and implement them. These changes can be from content amendments to internal link structure requests to help regain your rankings and ultimately your traffic.

Listed below are some other good resources on the algorithm change:

Watch Matt Cutts talking about the Google Mayday Algorithm Change

In the video above Matt Cutts says “it’s an algorithmic change that changes how we assess which sites are the best match for long tail queries.” He recommends that a site owner who is impacted evaluate the quality of the site and if the site really is the most relevant match for the impacted queries, what “great content” could be added, determine if the the site is considered an “authority”, and ensure that the page does more than simply match the keywords in the query and is relevant and useful for that query.

He notes that the change:

  • has nothing to do with the “Caffeine” update (an infrastructure change that is not yet fully rolled out).
  • is entirely algorithmic (and isn’t, for instance, a manual flag on individual sites).
  • impacts long tail queries more than other types
  • was fully tested and is not temporary”