Google has pushed out a major update. They say it only affects 3% of queries, but that's not the case from what I'm seeing -- it's affecting a lot more.
Here's the official announcement from Google for what they did:http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-quality.html
In theory what they're saying they're targeting is a good thing (backlink spam), but I'm reading from all over the place that webmasters who were 100% white hat are getting slammed, too. No spam, no poor quality spinning or backlinking like Google's example on the above page shows.
I'm also seeing some really low quality results in Google. Here are some examples:1. "Make Money Online"
Search Google for "make money online" and check out this site that's currently ranking on page one:
It's blank. 110,000 exact-match global searches a month for that phrase, and Google's showing a blank blog on page one. Wow.2. "New Shoes"
This page is ranking high on Google for "new shoes" (it's bouncing between #1 and #3):http://www.interpretive.com/rd5/index.php?pg=ns
Seriously Google?3. "Bicycle Wheels"
Search G for "bicycle wheels" and you'll see:
#1 - ecommerce site
#2 - wikipedia entry for "bicycle wheel"
#3 - ecommerce site
#4 - ecommerce site
#5 - A book at Amazon ("The Bicycle Wheel")
#6 - ecommerce site
#7 - ecommerce site for bicycle parts in general (the ranking page has nothing to do wih the wheels though)
#8 - ecommerce page selling bicycle wheel stands -- not bicycle wheels
#9 - ecommerce site
#10 - page out of 1995 (literally) that has articles about bicycle wheels
Very poor results indeed.Link Directories Still Working
For other queries that I follow, I'm seeing things holding steady with sites that use low quality directories to rank their sites. So apparently this update didn't affect sites using links pages to rank.Google Turned Up The "Related Terms" Dial
It also seems that Google went a little crazy with their latent semantic indexing (LSI) dial. They're showing lots of results that simply do not belong on page one because they're not directly related to the query.Overall Affect: Old Sites With Less SEO Ranking Better
Lots of old sites are being resurrected into the search results, apparently because they have been less optimized. Google has been saying for a while that they would be going after over-optimized sites. That's fine, but it's sadly pushing a lot of really poor quality stuff into the search results, at least for the queries I'm following. Stuff that simply should not be in very highly competitive results is ranking well.
I mean, seriously, THIS page is ranking on page one for "bicycle wheels"
And it's not universal, either. Some sites with massive spam links are still doing great. Lots of theories floating around about this one.
Perhaps this will shake out over the next day or two. We'll see. Updates this large take a while to get fully integrated.
Anybody seeing anything good happen here?
Let's talk about it.