I am sure that I am not the only SEO who’s inbox and PM box on forums has been full of ‘My site has gone from the rankings’ type messages during the last few weeks. This is always the case when Google ‘stir their secret sauce’. This latest incarnation appears of have had far more wide ranging impact that they might have envisaged, Possibly this is the only problem with having such a wide ranging interconnected algorthim.
One of the big changes has been the ‘slackening’ or perhaps lowering of the bar on non UK specific domains appearing in the UK SERPS.Google has for some time, used the geographical location of the searcher as a major part of how to weight the SERP’s geographically, resulting in someone searching on Google.com from the UK, getting a UK weighting to their SERP’s. We first tested this out on Highrankings forum about 5 years ago when a group of us got together on MSN and carried out the same search at the same time, and noted the site positions.
Lately though the UK results for some searches are, well lets say ‘less than locally relevant’ ! For example now is the time of year when students in the UK get their exam results and look at university admission. A search for the phrase university admission had the following results:-
Now many things can be expected to be ‘international’ but University addmission isn’t one of them, or shouldn’t be anyhow.
A by product of this ‘weighting’ appears to be that it has harmed the flow of link juice with some of the juice no longer pushing long standing sites to the position where they were. One strange thing that I noticed was that while the main SERP results were smelly pants, the local listings were spot on. NOTE TO GOOGLE: look at the local ranking algo and use that 🙂
Another thing that has been widely reported is the way search patterns have altered. For example many site owners/SEO’s are reporting a huge upsurge in search terms appended with ‘UK’ . This to me (and should to Google) tell them that it simply isn’t working.
Matt Cutts blogged about this recently, and got bombarded with comments on his blog and while he states that sites like Churchill.com is not a .uk domain but is really relevant, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and it appears that in this case, it looks like google added salt instead of sugar to the secret sauce, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many UKers who took a bite.
Finally I think that the statement he makes in the video of ‘that is probably a change that we are not going to revert’ is going to rely much luck Carlsberg on the ‘probably’ word!