A few days later, Google asked for feedback, saying :
Several hundred folks replied, mostly complaining that their site was indeed a high quality site that had disappeared from former early search engine results and was now buried so far down as to be invisible to searchers.
Certainly some of these folks belonged in the cellar. However, a common theme is that Internet pirates using black hat SEO have stolen content and now rank more highly than the legitimate website that produced the content. Obviously that doesn't feel like an "improvement" if you were the original author!
The effect on income is obvious when a site depends on Google Seearch for traffic: if you used to rank well and are now invisible, your income drops like a stone. A "mplett7" writes:
That probably sums up the feelings of many.
We are not unaffected here at APLawrence.com, though not in the way most people in that thread were hurt. Most of the important keyword phrases that lead here are still producing high SERP (Search Engine Results Position) and the few that are not are silly things that always confused me anyway: there was no sane reason for Google to be sending me that specific traffic, so "Big Panda" only took away some traffic I never really deserved.
Nor have I had much problem with piracy. Oh, people steal content, yes. But most of it doesn't seem to be with any intent of financial gain as the thefts almost never appear in SERP at all. I do file a DMCA threat now and then, but piracy has never been high on my worry list.
What has happened here is a sharp reduction in advertising earnings. I mean sharp: as much as 50% down on some days and at least 20% down overall. It's still early - we're only a little over two weeks away from the update as I write this, but the problem seems to be mostly from reduced bidding from advertisers.
Are nervous advertisers due to general economic issues or is it something related to Big Panda or is it nothing to do with either of those? I have been doing some site cleanup lately, getting rid of some really ancient junk that has no reason to be here, but you wouldn't think that could matter, right?
Oh, well: everything is what it is. SERP will rise and SERP will fall, as will advertising bid rates and overall traffic. Google will do what it will, the pirates and the black hat SEO folks will no doubt keep on at their game, and on we go. Winners, losers, whatever: stuff happens.
It does bring up one bit of advice, though: diversified income is always the best position to be in. That Google complaint thread has many people who may be facing economic ruin if Google traffic was their primary income source. The more income channels you have, even if they are small and unimportant individually, the more resistant you are to sudden disaster. It's the old "eggs in one basket" adage and Google search is the basket.
The real question is whether or not Google has improved search results. The folks at that complaint thread generally seem to think not, but they may be unfairly biased. I may be biased the other way because my results were generally untouched, but I have to say that I haven't noticed any degradation in my other searches. However, you don't know about the things you don't see, so the answer to that is still really unknown.
Got something to add? Send me email.
More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2011-03-25 Anthony Lawrence
Every piece of software written today is likely going to infringe on someone else's patent. (Miguel de Icaza)