September 19, 2014

Webmasters Say Google Algorithm Update Costing Them

High rankings in Google search results are coveted by nearly all webmasters, but Google is constantly making changes to keep them on their toes. Actually, Google is said to make roughly one change per day.

One recent change in particular, however, has gotten some webmasters riled up. It’s being referred to as “Mayday,” and some claim it is costing them money.

Ex-Googler Vanessa Fox, who spoke on a panel with current Googler Matt Cutts at Google I/O last week, quotes Cutts as saying, “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.”

She also says Google told her that it was a rankings change, as opposed to a crawling/indexing change. This, she says, “seems to imply that sites getting less traffic still have their pages indexed, but some of those pages are no longer ranking as highly as before.”

Vanessa Fox“This change seems to have primarily impacted very large sites with ‘item’ pages that don’t have many individual links into them, might be several clicks from the home page, and may not have substantial unique and value-added content on them,” says Fox. “For instance, ecommerce sites often have this structure. The individual product pages are unlikely to attract external links and the majority of the content may be imported from a manufacturer database. Of course, as with any change that results in a traffic hit for some sites, other sites experience the opposite.”

She has more to say about it at Search Engine Land, offering some of her own speculation. One reader accuses the change of delivering “a real blow” to his revenue.

This is not the first we’ve heard about “Mayday”. There’s been discussion about it around the SEO community all month, but this is the first we’ve seen it really addressed by Google.