Sources in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) will tell you that Google makes up to 500 updates to its algorithm every year. The Google algorithm is essentially a complex set of rules that determine which websites get to be at the top of search results, and which ones end up on pages two through infinity. Although most Google updates have very minor effects on an average website, a recent update has either added or subtracted a substantial share of traffic from a number of websites.
This update—dubbed the “Google Mayday Update” because it happened around May 1—was first noticed by people who have large websites that get traffic from a diverse set of keywords. Many people complained that their website traffic had gone down, while others noted a dramatic increase in visitors from Google. Strangely enough, the type of traffic that went down was related to “long-tail” keywords, which represent searches containing 3-, 4-, or 5-word phrases. For instance, a website owner who had had high rankings for a term like “Montgomery Alabama tow truck service” might have seen a change, while a person with a shorter phrase like “Montgomery towing” might not have noticed any impact.
For people who have seen decreased website traffic as a result of the Google Mayday Update, there are some remedies available:
- The first is to make sure that the pages on your site that have lost rankings have a clear relationship to your upper-level pages. This is done by linking to the affected pages from places like your homepage and the category pages on your site.
- Secondly, you can improve Google’s perceived trust in your site by getting links from other websites. This can be done by asking your vendors and customers to link to your site. In this instance, getting links to specific product categories (i.e., the ones that saw a drop in traffic) can help you.
- Additionally, if your products or services are intended primarily for local customers, you should ensure that you’ve submitted your site to local directories, which will link back to your site and help to improve your site’s credibility overall. One advantage of getting more links to your site is that you’ll usually generate some traffic from the sites as well.
Naturally, there are several other factors that can take away visitor traffic from search engines and other sources. For instance, there were quite a few TV finales in May, and it’s commonly known that traffic to business sites tends to drop when people are tuning into a television set instead of surfing the Web. If you have a site that traditionally loses traffic in the spring and summer (like a snow removal service), then you may not be seeing adverse results from the Mayday Update.
If your website traffic stayed the same in the month of May, you should still make sure that you’re ready for the next Google—or Bing™—update, especially because Bing is going to be presenting search results in Yahoo!® at some point during the next few months.
You don’t have to be a search engine expert to improve the results from your website—as long as you’re adding useful information and creating the kind of website that your customers would like to see. For more advanced search engine placement tactics, Web.com has consultants who can help you optimize your website and get higher search engine positions for a variety of keywords. That way, you can worry less about search engine updates, and get back to concentrating on the business that your website generates.
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