We Are The 35%

by on November 4, 2011 | posted in SEO Theory

Yesterday Google rolled out an algorithm shift that impacts 35% of searches. SEOs have posited various opinions, as far as to say it doesn’t feel like a “major update”. But what does that mean? What makes something a “major update”? Doesn’t 35% of searches signify a large update? I’d say yes – but I’d also say pay attention.

What makes Panda so Earth shaking and the “freshness” update so insignificant? Well – the differential in search type and the impetuous of the phrases impacted. For these “fresh” searches, the impact isn’t yet felt, and many of the searches will be unique because of the conditional nature of their semantic intent. Similarly, this condition means that few pocketbooks were hit (now) – meaning that a lack of being “major”, here,  is only a reflection of a lack of impact on immediate cashflow and traffic.

“Panda” was unique because the queries hit were those static, evergreen searches that drove the dollars, and held and created jobs. On the other hand, these “fresh” queries are the ad driven, erratic instances that may incrementally help bottom lines, but were also conditional, bounce-rate driven “spikes” for those websites that lucked into the search volume for news-driven events.

Here, no (or little) money was lost. Previously, non-commercial sites had webmasters who smiled at the erratic queries and/or events that landed people on their site, but no (or little) money was pocketed. Pointless tweets were sent. Friends were told. Web visitors left.

Ad-driven sites aim to benefit from this change, but it’ll be hard to say or clearly mark the changes, because each new event will be random, and the impacts, not as clear cut on an analytics graph. But they will be there. What’ll be different is that the “bounce rate” driven events will plummet. For SEOs, for marketers, these are events where our traffic simply can’t convert. This is where Google undoubtedly saw room for improvement – because it is these bounce rates that imply inefficient search results.

When people show up on your site for “chicken scratch monkey flying”, this is what this algorithm change is meant to impact – to an extreme degree. Despite its strength, despite its massive “impacted searches” number,  this algo update will go off without a whimper because nobody’s bottom line will be hurt (strongly). Because it will mostly be bounce-rate driven traffic that will be concussed – and/or traffic that would have converted, but was a burst in and out of the dark that will now never be seen.

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