Google has confirmed rumors that a recent algorithm change has taken place, and that’s a rare event. Not the algorithm change; that happens all the time. But Google confirming reports of an algorithm change rarely happens. Nevertheless, Google is pretty specific about who is affected by this change.
Here’s what I find interesting about the news:
Based on Matt’s comment, this change impacts “long tail” traffic, which generally is from longer queries that few people search for individually, but in aggregate can provide a large percentage of traffic.
In other words, there are some sites out there that are going to do better with their long tail keywords and other sites that won’t do as well. So here’s the question: Which are you?
You should know by now if you’ve seen a rise or a drop in your long tail search rankings. If you see no effect then your site probably hasn’t been affected at all. But if you’ve seen a rise in long tail keyword rankings then Google has helped you; if you’ve seen a fall in similar long tail keyword rankings then Google socked it to you. But don’t take it personally.
These types of algorithm changes are about one thing: Providing searchers with the best web pages for their search queries. If Google made this change then it’s because they believed that the search results were dominated by a certain class of webmaster to the detriment of others. I think this change means that top-notch SEO is not always necessary, but knowing how to do it will improve your changes at getting good rankings.