According to the forums at Webmaster World and Black Hat World, something big is happening in the organic search listings – and it seems to have played havoc with a number of websites which were previously doing exceptionally well, whilst others are reporting significant gains in terms of the amount of daily traffic they are experiencing.
Although Google has refused to comment on whether or not a new algorithm update has been rolled out, the general consensus seems to indicate that this is exactly the case. Most webmasters and those in the know are convinced that the changes that have been introduced are primarily focused on black hat activities, which could mean that this new algorithm is targeting low quality backlinks, scraped content or something else – which could possibly be affiliate based.
Of the websites affected, some users have even claimed that they initially thought that their pages had been de-indexed altogether, with sites that have seen no changes for the last 2 years suddenly disappearing from sight in the search engine pages entirely whilst dropping into total darkness or “search engine oblivion” as one webmaster put it.
Whatever the reason for these abrupt ranking changes, it has always been common knowledge that the team at Google often like keep their cards close to their chest, so we will just have to ride it out and see exactly what happens in the next few days.
Of course, it is worth bearing in mind that unexpected behaviour in the search listings can often settle down and go back to normal once the initial roll-out glitches have been ironed out.