Is A Google Update Affecting Long Tail Keyword Rankings? – Wildcard Friday

By Tim


Today I’ll be asking the question: Is a Google update effecting long tail keyword rankings.

In some SEO circles, a discussion has begun as to whether a possible Google algorithm update is effecting long-tail keyword rankings. This update is different than the officially announced “Caffeine” algorithm update – and while no additional update has been officially announced by Google, those who work in the SEO field on everyday basis are definitely noticing a shift.

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The shift was noticed at the beginning of May, and since it has negatively impacted many site owners – the update has been given the unofficial name of the “MAYDAY Update”.

So what’s happening, what’s the issue? Well, some site owners, SEO’s and webmasters in general are noticing significant drops in Google traffic to their site stemming from long-tail-keywords ,or keyword phrases that are 3 or more words long. The concerns range from “significant drops” to “noticeable drops”. Many webmasters were reporting a 5-15% drop in normal long tail traffic.

Shortly after noticing this trend, people started consulting one another to see if they were the only one’s affected. One poll of webmasters showed that 42% of webmasters say traffic is down since the alleged update, 41% say it is about the same….and only 13% say it has increased.

While this was far from a scientific poll, it is intriguing to see such a large number reporting a drop compared with such a small number reporting an increase.

I should stress that at this point, no one can with 100% certainty that an algorithm update has occurred. However, looking at a lot of the available data, it wouldn’t be surprising….especially considering all the recent Google updates we’re sure of.

If this indeed turns out to be true, what algorithm changes would cause such an effect on long-tail-keywords?

It could be a simple change such as Google shrinking the number of pages in the primary index, or Google shifting their phrase match calculation. OR it could be something far more complex…like a self-improving ranking algorithm that can provide near real time adjustments and perpetual testing.

Bottom line, the jury is still out on whether an update took place, and what the update consists of. The big takeaway here is, avoid any kneejerk reactions – for if you don’t know the problem, you don’t know how to fix it. What I can say is, now is as good a time as ever to make sure your site is full of unique content on all the pages you’re trying to rank for – for in the end…good content is still king – and it remains a stalwart throughout an ever changing algorithm environment.

Rest assured any updates will be covered in detail and shared via Your Daily Concept.

So that’s it for today – I hope you enjoyed Wildcard Friday. As a reminder, we offer free SEO audits to qualified companies, so give us a shout at 800-504-43424.

Thanks everyone, have a great weekend.