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Google Mayday Update: Watch Your Tail

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category Google Search Engine Optimization Search News

image for Google May Update postGoogle search algorithm is a constant work in progress. It's developing and evolving all the time. In fact Google introduces over 400 changes and tweaks to its algorithm every year. Many of those updates go unnoticed; others are more significant and catch our attention. This time Google changed the way their rank sites for long tail keywords with what became known as Mayday update.

If you're closely watching your organic Google traffic you may have noticed some ups or downs recently, especially on long tail queries. SEOs and webmasters have been actively reporting significant drops in their search traffic. There were many speculations as to what the reason behind this might be. Some suggested that it was caused by changes in the way Google indexes sites. Others supposed it was related to Google Caffeine. Now we've got an official confirmation from Google as to what Mayday update really is and how it affects your site's rankings.

What is Mayday?

Here's a video by Google's Matt Cutts explaining the Mayday update and its effect on SERPs. If you don't have the time for the video there's a quick summary below.

  • Mayday update took place around April 28th - May 3rd hence the name.
  • It's a purely algorithmic tweak and doesn't involve any human factors, i.e. there are no editors screening the results and deciding which sites should or should not rank for specific queries.
  • The update is permanent and there's no rolling back. All the changes are said to have been vigorously tested and proved to contribute to more relevant results, so Google is sticking with the new algo.
  • Mayday mostly affects long-tail keywords, its impact is most vivid on search terms made up of 3 and more words.
  • The change affects the way Google ranks sites and has nothing to do with indexing. That means that there've been some changes in quality factors and their values in the overall ranking algo.
  • It's not related to Caffeine in any way.

What should a webmaster do?

We don't get too many details as to what exactly changed with Mayday and how Google now ranks sites on long-tail queries. Therefore it's hard to say what you should do if your site's traffic is affected by the change. As Matt suggested in the video work to create unique valuable content, make sure your site is relevant to the searchers and the new algo will treat you well. This is something we all already know and doesn't help much.

If your site's traffic dropped after the Mayday update here's what you can do to find out why it happened and reverse the effect. Locate the keywords you're losing traffic on and analyze the sites that currently rank well for them. Look at both onpage and off-page factors. Analyze the content of the competing pages to see what qualities they have that your site is lacking and tweak your web pages accordingly. Check incoming links to the ranking pages for your keywords and see if they're outranking you because of a stronger link profile.

How's your tail doing after Mayday update? Have you noticed any significant changes in long-tail search traffic to your site?

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