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Google ‘Long Tail’ Algorithm Tweaks Have Webmasters Calling ‘Mayday’?

The words 'algorithm change' shouldn't normally strike fear into the heart, but for those websites that rely on a stable location in Google's search rankings, such tuning can effectively throw a shadow of doubt over their whole business.

It was just last month when we discussed actually how many changes Google makes to its search algorithm. It seems that one recent change (roughly at the end of April / start of May, (on Webmaster World it became known as 'Mayday')) has changed the way Google treats the results of 'long tail'* searches.

Luckily a newly pileous Matt Cutts is on-hand to explain the changes and the reasoning behind them:


I'm not quite sure what to take from this explanation. It’s a change to how their algorithm treats the results of, particularly, long tail keyphase searches. So if you have found your site negatively affected by these changes then your options to respond to these changes seem a little limited:

Make sure you aren't doing anything to erroneously matched for non-relevant content. (It might be time to stop optimising for Icelandic volcano keyphrases.) Make sure you have good, relevant and unique content so your site can be regarded as an authority in its sector. It's all general high-quality-site type tips, there doesn’t seem to be a simple check-box for those companies gazing with furrowed brows at the latest search rankings.

Have you been effected by these recent changes? We'd like to hear your opinions 'n' comments!

More information can be found in the Webmaster World forums.

*= 'Long tail' searches are lengthy and precise keyphrases searches. For example – “VW car” is a short tail keyphrase. “VW 5-seat diesel coupe silver Edinburgh” is a long tail keyphrase.

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  • I dont know what google think they are doing, but it doesn’t seem to have worked! Many of the long tail phrases we work on have been dropped of the face of the World. Even when we have fresh unique content, on domains that are centred on just one topic that is not generic in the slightest. It seems in the retail sector that all the long tail phrases have gone back to the large shopping comparison websites. I think the only way forward is PageRank, site history and loads of clusters of info to have the slightest of chances. They want to take the smaller independant affiliates out of the equation.

    Total Comment by SEOClock: 1

    • I don’t think those are the reasons. In a recet podcast Bruce Clay said that if you were doing everything correct before this change then your ranking should not suffer. Maybe the rankings you had were a fluke? And this is Google correcting the issue. In most cases when Google makes a change there are winners and losers.

      If you would like to listen to said podcast you can do so here at webmaster radio

      Total Comments by Kevin: 24

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