Tag Archive | "Early"

SMX East Super Early Bird Rates Expire Soon

Lowest Rates Expire August 24

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Early data around the Google June 2019 core update shows some winners, losers

This Google update that began rolling out on Monday seems like it was pretty big and the scary part, it isn’t done rolling out yet.

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Google Florida 2.0 Algorithm Update: Early Observations

It has been a while since Google has had a major algorithm update.

They recently announced one which began on the 12th of March.

What changed?

It appears multiple things did.

When Google rolled out the original version of Penguin on April 24, 2012 (primarily focused on link spam) they also rolled out an update to an on-page spam classifier for misdirection.

And, over time, it was quite common for Panda & Penguin updates to be sandwiched together.

If you were Google & had the ability to look under the hood to see why things changed, you would probably want to obfuscate any major update by changing multiple things at once to make reverse engineering the change much harder.

Anyone who operates a single website (& lacks the ability to look under the hood) will have almost no clue about what changed or how to adjust with the algorithms.

In the most recent algorithm update some sites which were penalized in prior “quality” updates have recovered.

Though many of those recoveries are only partial.

Many SEO blogs will publish articles about how they cracked the code on the latest update by publishing charts like the first one without publishing that second chart showing the broader context.

The first penalty any website receives might be the first of a series of penalties.

If Google smokes your site & it does not cause a PR incident & nobody really cares that you are gone, then there is a very good chance things will go from bad to worse to worser to worsterest, technically speaking.

“In this age, in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.” – Abraham Lincoln

Absent effort & investment to evolve FASTER than the broader web, sites which are hit with one penalty will often further accumulate other penalties. It is like compound interest working in reverse – a pile of algorithmic debt which must be dug out of before the bleeding stops.

Further, many recoveries may be nothing more than a fleeting invitation to false hope. To pour more resources into a site that is struggling in an apparent death loop.

The above site which had its first positive algorithmic response in a couple years achieved that in part by heavily de-monetizing. After the algorithm updates already demonetized the website over 90%, what harm was there in removing 90% of what remained to see how it would react? So now it will get more traffic (at least for a while) but then what exactly is the traffic worth to a site that has no revenue engine tied to it?

That is ultimately the hard part. Obtaining a stable stream of traffic while monetizing at a decent yield, without the monetizing efforts leading to the traffic disappearing.

A buddy who owns the above site was working on link cleanup & content improvement on & off for about a half year with no results. Each month was a little worse than the prior month. It was only after I told him to remove the aggressive ads a few months back that he likely had any chance of seeing any sort of traffic recovery. Now he at least has a pulse of traffic & can look into lighter touch means of monetization.

If a site is consistently penalized then the problem might not be an algorithmic false positive, but rather the business model of the site.

The more something looks like eHow the more fickle Google’s algorithmic with receive it.

Google does not like websites that sit at the end of the value chain & extract profits without having to bear far greater risk & expense earlier into the cycle.

Thin rewrites, largely speaking, don’t add value to the ecosystem. Doorway pages don’t either. And something that was propped up by a bunch of keyword-rich low-quality links is (in most cases) probably genuinely lacking in some other aspect.

Generally speaking, Google would like themselves to be the entity at the end of the value chain extracting excess profits from markets.

This is the purpose of the knowledge graph & featured snippets. To allow the results to answer the most basic queries without third party publishers getting anything. The knowledge graph serve as a floating vertical that eat an increasing share of the value chain & force publishers to move higher up the funnel & publish more differentiated content.

As Google adds features to the search results (flight price trends, a hotel booking service on the day AirBNB announced they acquired HotelTonight, ecommerce product purchase on Google, shoppable image ads just ahead of the Pinterest IPO, etc.) it forces other players in the value chain to consolidate (Expedia owns Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire & a bunch of other sites) or add greater value to remain a differentiated & sought after destination (travel review site TripAdvisor was crushed by the shift to mobile & the inability to monetize mobile traffic, so they eventually had to shift away from being exclusively a reviews site to offer event & hotel booking features to remain relevant).

It is never easy changing a successful & profitable business model, but it is even harder to intentionally reduce revenues further or spend aggressively to improve quality AFTER income has fallen 50% or more.

Some people do the opposite & make up for a revenue shortfall by publishing more lower end content at an ever faster rate and/or increasing ad load. Either of which typically makes their user engagement metrics worse while making their site less differentiated & more likely to receive additional bonus penalties to drive traffic even lower.

In some ways I think the ability for a site to survive & remain though a penalty is itself a quality signal for Google.

Some sites which are overly reliant on search & have no external sources of traffic are ultimately sites which tried to behave too similarly to the monopoly that ultimately displaced them. And over time the tech monopolies are growing more powerful as the ecosystem around them burns down:

If you had to choose a date for when the internet died, it would be in the year 2014. Before then, traffic to websites came from many sources, and the web was a lively ecosystem. But beginning in 2014, more than half of all traffic began coming from just two sources: Facebook and Google. Today, over 70 percent of traffic is dominated by those two platforms.

Businesses which have sustainable profit margins & slack (in terms of management time & resources to deploy) can better cope with algorithmic changes & change with the market.

Over the past half decade or so there have been multiple changes that drastically shifted the online publishing landscape:

  • the shift to mobile, which both offers publishers lower ad yields while making the central ad networks more ad heavy in a way that reduces traffic to third party sites
  • the rise of the knowledge graph & featured snippets which often mean publishers remain uncompensated for their work
  • higher ad loads which also lower organic reach (on both search & social channels)
  • the rise of programmatic advertising, which further gutted display ad CPMs
  • the rise of ad blockers
  • increasing algorithmic uncertainty & a higher barrier to entry

Each one of the above could take a double digit percent out of a site’s revenues, particularly if a site was reliant on display ads. Add them together and a website which was not even algorithmically penalized could still see a 60%+ decline in revenues. Mix in a penalty and that decline can chop a zero or two off the total revenues.

Businesses with lower margins can try to offset declines with increased ad spending, but that only works if you are not in a market with 2 & 20 VC fueled competition:

Startups spend almost 40 cents of every VC dollar on Google, Facebook, and Amazon. We don’t necessarily know which channels they will choose or the particularities of how they will spend money on user acquisition, but we do know more or less what’s going to happen. Advertising spend in tech has become an arms race: fresh tactics go stale in months, and customer acquisition costs keep rising. In a world where only one company thinks this way, or where one business is executing at a level above everyone else – like Facebook in its time – this tactic is extremely effective. However, when everyone is acting this way, the industry collectively becomes an accelerating treadmill. Ad impressions and click-throughs get bid up to outrageous prices by startups flush with venture money, and prospective users demand more and more subsidized products to gain their initial attention. The dynamics we’ve entered is, in many ways, creating a dangerous, high stakes Ponzi scheme.

And sometimes the platform claws back a second or third bite of the apple. Amazon.com charges merchants for fulfillment, warehousing, transaction based fees, etc. And they’ve pushed hard into launching hundreds of private label brands which pollute the interface & force brands to buy ads even on their own branded keyword terms.

They’ve recently jumped the shark by adding a bonus feature where even when a brand paid Amazon to send traffic to their listing, Amazon would insert a spam popover offering a cheaper private label branded product:

Amazon.com tested a pop-up feature on its app that in some instances pitched its private-label goods on rivals’ product pages, an experiment that shows the e-commerce giant’s aggressiveness in hawking lower-priced products including its own house brands. The recent experiment, conducted in Amazon’s mobile app, went a step further than the display ads that commonly appear within search results and product pages. This test pushed pop-up windows that took over much of a product page, forcing customers to either click through to the lower-cost Amazon products or dismiss them before continuing to shop. … When a customer using Amazon’s mobile app searched for “AAA batteries,” for example, the first link was a sponsored listing from Energizer Holdings Inc. After clicking on the listing, a pop-up window appeared, offering less expensive AmazonBasics AAA batteries.”

Buying those Amazon ads was quite literally subsidizing a direct competitor pushing you into irrelevance.

And while Amazon is destroying brand equity, AWS is doing investor relations matchmaking for startups. Anything to keep the current bubble going ahead of the Uber IPO that will likely mark the top in the stock market.

As the market caps of big tech companies climb they need to be more predatious to grow into the valuations & retain employees with stock options at an ever-increasing strike price.

They’ve created bubbles in their own backyards where each raise requires another. Teachers either drive hours to work or live in houses subsidized by loans from the tech monopolies that get a piece of the upside (provided they can keep their own bubbles inflated).

“It is an uncommon arrangement — employer as landlord — that is starting to catch on elsewhere as school employees say they cannot afford to live comfortably in regions awash in tech dollars. … Holly Gonzalez, 34, a kindergarten teacher in East San Jose, and her husband, Daniel, a school district I.T. specialist, were able to buy a three-bedroom apartment for $ 610,000 this summer with help from their parents and from Landed. When they sell the home, they will owe Landed 25 percent of any gain in its value. The company is financed partly by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Mark Zuckerberg’s charitable arm.”

The above sort of dynamics have some claiming peak California:

The cycle further benefits from the Alchian-Allen effect: agglomerating industries have higher productivity, which raises the cost of living and prices out other industries, raising concentration over time. … Since startups raise the variance within whatever industry they’re started in, the natural constituency for them is someone who doesn’t have capital deployed in the industry. If you’re an asset owner, you want low volatility. … Historically, startups have created a constant supply of volatility for tech companies; the next generation is always cannibalizing the previous one. So chip companies in the 1970s created the PC companies of the 80s, but PC companies sourced cheaper and cheaper chips, commoditizing the product until Intel managed to fight back. Meanwhile, the OS turned PCs into a commodity, then search engines and social media turned the OS into a commodity, and presumably this process will continue indefinitely. … As long as higher rents raise the cost of starting a pre-revenue company, fewer people will join them, so more people will join established companies, where they’ll earn market salaries and continue to push up rents. And one of the things they’ll do there is optimize ad loads, which places another tax on startups. More dangerously, this is an incremental tax on growth rather than a fixed tax on headcount, so it puts pressure on out-year valuations, not just upfront cash flow.

If you live hundreds of miles away the tech companies may have no impact on your rental or purchase price, but you can’t really control the algorithms or the ecosystem.

All you can really control is your mindset & ensuring you have optionality baked into your business model.

  • If you are debt-levered you have little to no optionality. Savings give you optionality. Savings allow you to run at a loss for a period of time while also investing in improving your site and perhaps having a few other sites in other markets.
  • If you operate a single website that is heavily reliant on a third party for distribution then you have little to no optionality. If you have multiple projects that enables you to shift your attention toward working on whatever is going up and to the right while letting anything that is failing pass time without becoming overly reliant on something you can’t change. This is why it often makes sense for a brand merchant to operate their own ecommerce website even if 90% of their sales come from Amazon. It gives you optionality should the tech monopoly become abusive or otherwise harm you (even if the intent was benign rather than outright misanthropic).

As the update ensues Google will collect more data with how users interact with the result set & determine how to weight different signals, along with re-scoring sites that recovered based on the new engagement data.

Recently a Bing engineer named Frédéric Dubut described how they score relevancy signals used in updates

As early as 2005, we used neural networks to power our search engine and you can still find rare pictures of Satya Nadella, VP of Search and Advertising at the time, showcasing our web ranking advances. … The “training” process of a machine learning model is generally iterative (and all automated). At each step, the model is tweaking the weight of each feature in the direction where it expects to decrease the error the most. After each step, the algorithm remeasures the rating of all the SERPs (based on the known URL/query pair ratings) to evaluate how it’s doing. Rinse and repeat.

That same process is ongoing with Google now & in the coming weeks there’ll be the next phase of the current update.

So far it looks like some quality-based re-scoring was done & some sites which were overly reliant on anchor text got clipped. On the back end of the update there’ll be another quality-based re-scoring, but the sites that were hit for excessive manipulation of anchor text via link building efforts will likely remain penalized for a good chunk of time.


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Amazon Q3 ad revenues surpass $1 billion, up roughly 2X from early 2016

Amazon’s CFO said that advertising revenue is growing “very quickly.”

The post Amazon Q3 ad revenues surpass $ 1 billion, up roughly 2X from early 2016 appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Moz Transitions: Rand to Step Away from Operations and into Advisory Role in Early 2018

Posted by SarahBird

I have some big news to share with you.

As many of you know, three and a half years ago, Rand began to shift his role at Moz. He transitioned from CEO into a product architect role where he could focus his passion and have hands-on impact in evolving our tools. Now, over the next 6 to 9 months he will transition into a supporting role as a Moz Associate. He will continue to be a passionate speaker and evangelist, and you’ll still see his enthusiastic face in Whiteboard Fridays, on the Moz Blog, and on various conference stages. And of course, he is one of our largest shareholders and will remain Chairman of the Board.

This is hard. Rand started Moz (formerly seomoz.org) over 16 years ago as a blog to record what he was learning about this new field. He and his co-founder Gillian Muessig created a marketing agency that focused on helping websites get found in search. They launched their first SAAS software product in February 2007, and I joined the company nine months later as the 8th employee. We’ve come a long way. Today, we have over 36,000 customers, 160 team members, a strong values-based culture, great investors, over $ 42 million in annual revenue last year, and a large and growing community of marketers. So many people have helped us reach this point.

What else is next for Rand? We’re excited to find out. His book about the last 16 years at Moz comes out next year.

When you see Rand, please show him gratitude and support. He is an incredibly talented, passionate, and productive individual with a commitment to helping others. I know he’s going to continue to make marketing better and spread TAGFEE in all his future roles.

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Report: Releasing Super Bowl ads early jump-starts lifts in brand search

Quantcast data shows impact of releasing ads and teasers online before the big game.

The post Report: Releasing Super Bowl ads early jump-starts lifts in brand search appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Act now: SMX Advanced super early bird rates expire this Saturday

SMX Advanced rates increase Saturday. Register now for the lowest rates. Here’s what’s in store: 30+ sessions, keynotes and workshops featuring results-producing strategy and tactics on paid search, SEO, analytics, mobile and social media; panel discussions, single-speaker TED-style presentations…

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Announcing LocalUp Advanced: Our New Local SEO Conference (and Early Bird Tickets!)

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

That’s right, Moz fans, we’re diving into the the Local SEO conference space. Join us Saturday, February 7th in Seattle as we team up with Local U to present LocalUp Advanced, an all-day intensive local SEO conference. You’ll learn next-level tactics for everything from getting reviews and content creation to mobile optimization and local ranking factors. You’ll also have opportunities to attend workshops and meet other people who love local SEO just as much as you.

Don’t miss the early bird deal! The first 25 tickets receive $ 200 off registration.

Moz or Local U Subscribers:
$ 699 ($ 499 early-bird)
General Admission:
$ 999 ($ 799 early-bird)

Get your LocalUp Advanced early bird ticket today

Also, to get the best pricing, take a 30-day free trial of Moz Pro or sign up for Local U’s forum.

Who’s speaking at LocalUp Advanced?

Dana DiTomaso

Dana DiTomaso

Kick Point

Whether at a conference, on the radio, or in a meeting, Dana DiTomaso likes to impart wisdom to help you turn a lot of marketing BS into real strategies to grow your business. After 10+ years and with a focus on local SMBs, she’s seen (almost) everything. In her spare time, Dana drinks tea and yells at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Darren Shaw

Darren Shaw


Darren Shaw is the President and Founder of Whitespark, a company that builds software and provides services to help businesses with local search. He’s widely regarded in the local SEO community as an innovator, one whose years of experience working with massive local data sets have given him uncommon insights into the inner workings of the world of citation-building and local search marketing. Darren has been working on the web for over 16 years and loves everything about local SEO.

David Mihm

David Mihm 


David Mihm is one of the world’s leading practitioners of local search engine marketing. He has created and promoted search-friendly websites for clients of all sizes since the early 2000s. David co-founded GetListed.org, which he sold to Moz in November 2012. Since then, he’s served as our Director of Local Search Marketing, imparting his wisdom everywhere!

Jade Wang

Jade Wang


If you’ve gone to the Google and Your Business Forum for help (and, of course, you have!), then you know how quickly an answer from Google staffer Jade Wang can clear up even the toughest problems. She has been helping business owners get their information listed on Google since joining the team in 2012. 

Mary Bowling

Mary Bowling

Local U

Mary Bowling’s been specializing in SEO and local search since 2003. She works as a consultant at Optimized!, is a partner at a small agency called Ignitor Digital, is a partner in Local U, and is also a trainer and writer for Search Engine News. Mary spends her days interacting directly with local business owners and understands holistic local needs.

Mike Blumenthal

Mike Blumenthal

Local U

If you’re in Local, then you know Mike Blumenthal, and here is your chance to learn from this pioneer in local SEO, whose years of industry research and documentation have earned him the fond and respectful nickname ‘Professor Maps.’ Mike’s blog has been the go-to spot for local SEOs since the early days of Google Maps. It’s safe to say that there are few people on the planet who know more about this area of marketing than Mike. He’s also the co-founder of GetFiveStars, an innovative review and testimonial software. Additionally, Mike loves biking, x-country skiing, and home cooking.

Dr. Pete Meyers

Dr. Pete Meyers


Dr. Pete Meyers is the Marketing Scientist for Moz, where he works with the marketing and data science teams on product research and data-driven content. He’s spent the past two years building research tools to monitor Google, including the MozCast project, and he curates the Google Algorithm History.

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin


Rand Fishkin is the founder of Moz. Traveler, blogger, social media addict, feminist, and husband.

Why should I attend LocalUp Advanced?

Do you have an interest in or do you delve into local SEO in your work? If so, then yes, you should definitely join us on February 7th. We believe LocalUp Advanced will be extremely valuable for marketers who are:

  • In-house and spending 25% or more of their time on local SEO
  • Agencies or consultants serving brick-and-mortar businesses
  • Yellow Pages publishers

In addition to keynote-style talks, we’ll have intensive Q&A sessions with our speakers and workshops for you to get direct, one-to-one advice for your business. And as with all Moz events, there will be breakfast, lunch, two snacks, and an after party (details coming soon!) included in your ticket cost. Plus, LocalUp Advanced will take place at the MozPlex in the heart of downtown Seattle; you’ll get to check out Roger’s home!

Get your LocalUp Advanced early bird ticket today

See you in February!

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SMX East Super Early Bird Rates Expire Friday – Last Chance to Register & Save $300!

Time is running out! SMX East Super Early Bird rates – the lowest offered – expire end of day Friday, July 25th. Register now for an All Access pass. Here’s what you get: Exceptional content: 3 days featuring 60+ tactic-packed sessions that will help you build site traffic, grow sales, boost your…

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Early Look at Google’s June 25 Algo Update

Posted by Dr-Pete

If you follow our MozCast Google “weather” tracker, you may have noticed something unusual this morning – a record algorithm flux temperature of 113.3°F (the previous high was 102.2°, set on December 13, 2012). While the weather has been a bit stormy off and on since Penguin 2.0 and the announcement of 10-day rolling Panda updates, this one was still off the charts:

MozCast Temperatures

I’m usually cautious about over-interpreting any single day’s data – measuring algorithm change is a very difficult and noisy task. Given the unprecedented scope, though, and reports coming in of major ranking shake-ups in some verticals, I’ve decided to post an early analysis. Please understand that the Google algorithm is incredibly dynamic, and we’ll know more over the next few days.

Temperatures by Category

Some industry verticals are naturally more volatile than others, but here’s a breakdown of the major categories we track in order by the largest percentage change over the 7-day average. The temperature for June 25th along with the 7-day average for each category is shown in parentheses:

  • 68.5% (125°/74°) – Home & Garden
  • 58.2% (119°/75°) – Computers & Consumer Electronics
  • 58.1% (114°/72°) – Occasions & Gifts
  • 57.8% (121°/77°) – Apparel
  • 54.8% (107°/69°) – Real Estate
  • 54.1% (107°/69°) – Jobs & Education
  • 50.6% (112°/74°) – Internet & Telecom
  • 49.4% (112°/75°) – Hobbies & Leisure
  • 49.4% (102°/68°) – Health
  • 44.9% (105°/73°) – Finance
  • 44.5% (116°/80°) – Beauty & Personal Care
  • 43.0% (116°/81°) – Vehicles
  • 39.7% (104°/74°) – Family & Community
  • 38.0% (109°/79°) – Sports & Fitness
  • 37.3% (89°/65°) – Retailers & General Merchandise
  • 34.7% (101°/75°) – Food & Groceries
  • 32.4% (107°/81°) – Arts & Entertainment
  • 25.9% (92°/73°) – Travel & Tourism
  • 25.6% (93°/74°) – Law & Government
  • 25.5% (92°/73°) – Dining & Nightlife

Every vertical we track showed a solid temperature spike, but “Home & Garden” led the way with a massive 51° difference between the single-day temperature and its 7-day average.

Some Sample Queries

There are so many reasons that a query can change that looking at individual cases is often a one-way ticket to insanity, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from riding the train. Just to illustrate the point, the query “gay rights” showed a massive temperature of 250°F. Of course, if you know about the Supreme Court rulings announced the morning of June 26th, then this is hardly surprising. News results were being churned out fast and furious by very high-authority sites, and the SERP landscape for that topic was changing by the hour.

Sometimes, though, we can spot an example that seems to tell a compelling story, especially when that example hasn’t historically been a high-temperature query. It’s not Capital-S Science, but it can help us look for clues in the broader data. Here are a couple of interesting examples…

Example 1: “limousine service”

On the morning of June 25th, a de-localized and de-personalized query for “limousine service” returned the following results:

  1. http://www.ultralimousineservice.com/
  2. http://www.uslimoservice.com/
  3. http://www.fivediamondslimo.com/
  4. http://www.davesbestlimoservice.com/
  5. http://www.aftonlimousine.com/
  6. http://www.awardslimo.com/
  7. http://www.lynetteslimousines.com/
  8. http://www.chicagolandlimo.com/
  9. http://www.a1limousine.com/
  10. http://www.sterlinglimoservice.com/

The following morning, the Top 10 for the same query was completely rewritten (yielding the maximum possible MozCast temperature of 280°).

  1. http://www.carmellimo.com/
  2. http://www.crestwoodlimo.com/
  3. http://www.dial7.com/
  4. http://www.telavivlimo.com/
  5. http://www.willowwindcarriagelimo.com/
  6. http://www.asavannahnite.com/
  7. http://www.markofelegance.com/
  8. http://tomscruz.com/
  9. https://www.legrandeaffaire.com/
  10. http://www.ohare-midway.com/

One possible pattern is that there are no domains in the new Top 10 with either the phrase “limousine service” or “limo service” in them, which could indicate a crack-down on partial-match domains (PMDs). Interestingly, the term “limousine” disappeared altogether in the post-update domain list, although “limo” still fares well. This could also indicate some sort of tweak in how Google treats similar words (“limo” vs. “limousine”).

Example 2: “auto auction”

Here’s another query that shows a similar PMD pattern, clocking in at a MozCast temperature of 239°. The morning of June 25th, “auto auction” showed the following Top 10:

  1. http://www.iaai.com/
  2. http://www.autoauctions.gsa.gov/
  3. http://www.americasautoauction.com/
  4. http://www.copart.com/
  5. http://www.interstateautoauction.com/
  6. http://www.indianaautoauction.net/
  7. http://www.houstonautoauction.com/
  8. http://www.ranchoautoauction.com/
  9. http://www.southbayautoauction.com/
  10. http://velocity.discovery.com/tv-shows/mecum-auto-auctions

Just one day later, all but the #1 spot had changed…

  1. http://www.iaai.com/
  2. http://www.copart.com/
  3. http://www.autoauctions.gsa.gov/
  4. http://www.barrett-jackson.com/
  5. http://www.naaa.com/
  6. http://www.mecum.com/
  7. http://www.desertviewauto.com/
  8. http://www.adesa.com/
  9. http://www.brasherssacramento.com/
  10. http://www.voaautoauction.org/

In the first SERP, eight of the top ten had “auto auction(s)” in the URL; in the second, only two remained, and one of those was an official US government sub-domain (even that site lost a ranking spot).

Top-View PMD Influence

Ultimately, these are anecdotes. The question is: do we see any pattern across the broader set? As luck would have it, we do track the influence of partial-match domains (PMDs) in the MozCast metrics. Our PMD Influence metric looks at the percentage of total Top 10 URLs where the root or sub-domain contains either “keywordstring” or “keyword-string”, but is not an exact-match. Here’s a graph of PMD influence over the past 90 days:

PMD Influence Drop

Please note that the vertical axis is scaled to more clearly show rises and falls over time. Across our data set, there’s been a trend toward steady decline of PMD influence in 2013, but today showed a fairly dramatic drop-off and a record low across our historical data (back to April 2012). This data comes from our smaller (1K) query set, but the pattern is also showing up in our 10K data set.

For reference and further investigation, here are a few examples of PMDs that fell out of the Top 10, and the queries they fell out of (including some from the same queries):

  1. “appliance parts” – www.appliancepartscenter.com
  2. “appliance parts” – www.appliancepartscenter.us
  3. “appliance parts” – www.appliancepartssuppliers.com
  4. “bass boats” – www.phoenixbassboats.com
  5. “campagnolo” – www.campagnolorestaurant.com
  6. “divorce papers” – www.mydivorcepapers.com
  7. “driving school” – www.dollardrivingschool.com
  8. “driving school” – www.elitedrivingschool.biz
  9. “driving school” – www.ferraridrivingschool.com
  10. “driving school” – www.firstchoicedrivingschool.net
  11. “driving school” – www.fitzgeraldsdrivingschool.com
  12. “mario game” – www.mariogames98.com
  13. “monogrammed gifts” – www.monogrammedgiftshop.com
  14. “monogrammed gifts” – www.preppymonogrammedgifts.com
  15. “nickelback songs” – www.nickelback-songs.com
  16. “pressure washer” – www.pressurewashersdirect.com
  17. “tanzanite” – www.etanzanite.com
  18. “vibram” – www.vibramdiscgolf.com
  19. “wine racks” – www.wineracksamerica.com
  20. “yahtzee” – www.yahtzeeonline.org

I’m not making any statements about the quality of these sites (except nickelback-songs.com), since I haven’t dug into them individually. If anyone wants to take that on, though, please be my guest.

The “Multi-Week” Update

Recently, Matt Cutts warned of a multi-week algorithm update ending just after July 4th – could this be that update? The short answer is that we have no good way to tell, since Matt’s tweet didn’t tell us anything about the nature of the update. This single-day spike certainly doesn’t look like a gradual roll-out of anything, but it’s possible that we’ll see large-scale instability during this period.

Some (Quite a Few) Caveats

This is an imperfect exercise at best, and one day of data can be misleading. The situation is also constantly changing – Google claims Panda data is updating 10 days out of every 30 now, or 1/3 of the time, for example. At this early stage, I can only confirm that we’ve tracked this algorithm flux across multiple data centers and there is no evidence of any system errors or obvious data anomalies (we track many metrics, and some of them look relatively normal).

Finally, it’s important to note that, just because a metric drops, it doesn’t mean Google pulled a lever to directly impact that metric. In other words, Google could release a quality adjustment that just happened to hit a lot of PMDs, even though PMDs weren’t specifically the target. I would welcome any evidence people have seen on their own sites, in webmaster chatter, in unofficial Google statements, etc. (even if it’s evidence against something I’m saying in this post).

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