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Monday, May 31, 2010

Google “Mayday” Algorithm Update – Long Tail Traffic Impacted

Posted by @ 12:54 am

google-new-logoGoogle has confirmed a May algorithm update which is said to have impacted the ranking of search results for long tail queries. First reported by users on Webmaster World, many site owners are complaining of a 10-50% drop in traffic from mostly long tail search queries.

Following the discussion on Webmaster World, Matt Cutts confirmed the update via a video on the Google webmaster YouTube channel. According to Matt, this is an “algorithmic change and it does impact long tail searches more than head searches”.

This change started out as one of the daily tweaks to Google’s search algorithm, but gained more coverage than usual because of the noticeable traffic impact to some websites. While we haven’t seen any impact here at ineedhits, Matt suggests the update is more likely to impact sites that match off-topic long tail searches, rather than being an authority on the topic in question.

Some other points to note about the change:

  • This change is not the result of Google manually selecting some sites to be flagged.
  • The change is an algorithmic change only.
  • It is a permanent change that has now been fully released.
  • It is completely independent of the caffeine update

If your site has been impacted, Matt recommends improving the content on any “thin” pages which had been attracting a lot of long tail visitors.

Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

View Matthew Elshaw's profile

Discussion (6 - comments)

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ineedhits, MarketingFlash. MarketingFlash said: Google "Mayday" Algorithm Update – Long Tail Traffic Impacted [...]

By Tweets that mention Google “Mayday” Algorithm Update - Long Tail Traffic Impacted | ineedhits -- - May 31, 2010

In regards to the Google May algorithm update I was told about this by one of my colleagues but they never explained it properly and the handsome Matt Cutts now has in his video blog.

Thank you.

By Marianne McDougall - June 1, 2010

Thanks for letting us know so quickly, we hadn’t noticed this at the time. However, one thing about the fact that webmasters were complaining of a 10-15% drop in traffic. This won’t obviously mean everyone, just the sites who have too much diversity in their content. Some webmasters are now enjoying a 10-15% increase in traffic! Thanks, Neil.

By - June 1, 2010

The update impacted my pagerank and I am not too happy about it but what can I do? I built a buch of high authority backlinks, and my Blog was rewarded by going down a spot. Go figure!

By Jay - June 4, 2010

I would say that is a good news for my site.

By joe - June 4, 2010

[...] Google “MayDay” Ranking Update! [...]

By ineedhits Newsletter Archive » SEO News | Google “MayDay” Ranking Update! - November 9, 2011

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