I’ve mentioned the recent major update in the Google results (codenamed “Panda”) on a couple of occasions, but the previously US-only changes have now rolled out to other parts of the world, including the UK. If they’re going to affect you, the changes should now be visible. You’re more likely to see their effect by going to your analytics reports and clicking on the “Google (organic)” entry under “Traffic Sources”. Has the graph changed? As we’ve previously predicted, there shouldn’t be major changes for most company websites, and if there are, they’ll probably be for the better: the Google results are a “zero sum game”, so if some sites have been demoted, everyone else will have moved up to fill the gap.
One thing which might affect you in a small way, however, is if you actually receive a decent amount of traffic from the types of site which have been seriously affected by this update. We’ve been looking through some of our clients’ Google Analytics reports this week, and we don’t appear to be seeing falls in referrals from third-party sites such as Direct Industry, Sensorland, Wikipedia and Machinebuilding.net, to take a random selection. These are sites which all send measurable amounts of traffic to one or more of our clients, even if it’s only small. The sites which have been hit don’t seem to have been sending many visitors to typical company websites in science and industry, if our clients are a good guide. I wondered if directories such as Applegate, Kellysearch and Yell had been affected, but I couldn’t find a single client which received measurable traffic from any of those sources, so the answer may well be that it doesn’t really matter.
There’s some original research data on what’s happening at the Searchmetrics blog and a good summary at the Holistic Search Marketing blog.