MayDay update confirmed by Google - Watch your back..links

Fri 28 May 2010 09:00, Dennis Sievers

MayDay update confirmed by Google - Watch your back..links

Surprise, but no surprise. Google finally has confirmed the Google Mayday update. At Google I/O, Matt Cutts confirmed that Google has changed the search algorithm. The new algorithm "looks for higher quality sites to surface for long tail queries". It has been tested quite intense and isn't going to be rolled back. Vanessa Fox, editor at Search Engine Land, published the news yesterday. Again, it seems to be about backlinks again.

Very large sites with low quality pages seem to have been hit

Of course, a lot of webmasters started discussing the update earlier this month on forums like Webmasterworld. Soon the update was named MayDay. Nobody knew the true story behind the update, but it was quite obvious that the long tail got hit specifically. 

It's a ranking change, not a crawling or indexing change

This one is kinda funny, cause although Matt told Vanessa that this update is a ranking update only, many webmasters have seen their number of indexed pages cripple from tens of thousands to only a few thousand. Probably the caffeine update is what causing this, but again, it definitely is a sign that Google lost its love for pages that are put deep into the archives of websites over time. Next to that, the popularity might just be too low to get the spiders of Google to visit all item pages in large websites or e-commerce websites. 

Watch you back... links. 

As we look further into this, it might just all come down to one single issue, again. As Vanessa shares with us in her post: "This change seems to have primarily impacted very large sites with “item” pages that don’t have many individual links into them, might be several clicks from the home page, and may not have substantial unique and value-added content on them". So, basically, it's about the popularity flow within your website, which means that again it's about incoming links. Except this time, it's not only about the total quantity, but also how well they are spread over the pages within your website. 

Is search becoming a single page interaction?

It's not so hard to believe if you ask me. Search is a single page interaction. People look for specific information, and Google hands them over specific results, but all to single pages. These pages perform well because they are part of sometime bigger: a website. But the website itself isn't returned in search result pages, it's a single page that is relevant to the search query. So why shouldn't Google treat every page as a single web element? If the page has no external incoming links, then it just might not be that good? Of course the website will still be a factor in the algorithm, but it is not so hard to think that Google lives in a page-world, instead of a world of websites. 

What do you think? Share your ideas with us

Have you been hit by the update? Do you notice any specific details that might have influenced your rankings? Let us know, place you comment and share your tips & tricks with our readers. 

  • Comments (14)
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Comments (14)


  • Great article, it's funny but Bing is already looking at single pages instead of whole websites

    Vr 28 mei 2010, 10:15

  • interesting point on the 'single page interaction' theory. So if your website ranks with 2 pages in the same SERP, it could mean that your internal link structure is good and above all the content on those 'linked' pages (those in the SERP's) have really good content.

    I see a positive influence on my site, personally, ... i think.

    Vr 28 mei 2010, 10:21

  • I think this is a logical progression for Google & carries on their aims to provide the most releveant results to query.

    I think it puts organic results closer to being a level playing field for all sites in each vertical.

    Link builders/Bloggers around the globe will be happy anout this change, we all know that external links to deeper pages are the hardest to achieve.

    Vr 28 mei 2010, 10:29

    • J-P De Clerck

    Great article. No effects noticed yet. Isn't it about freshness and real-time as well? So also (spreading of) backlinks on a timing level?

    Vr 28 mei 2010, 13:35

  • On the one hand it all seems a logical progression for placing value and authority to individual pages, but on the flips side, I can't help thinking it is going to give the sites with big link building budgets even more of an advantage.

    Google's approach to weeding out the naughty link buying folks out there is actually fuelling tactics that are less beneficial to the user... as far as I can see anyway.

    Have a look at

    Vr 28 mei 2010, 13:59

  • @J-P I believe query freshness has something to do with it too. Results that have top rankings, but are old and dusty, probably are being run over by fresh and up to date results and content. So, short term links from social media to new content probably have some influence in this.

    Vr 28 mei 2010, 14:29

  • the 'single page interaction' thought is completely in line with the need for speed google is after since some time.

    Za 29 mei 2010, 19:06

    • Bernardo

    The "single page interaction" is spot-on, but I'm amazed at why there is no news as to how Google and other search engines are (or should be) moving on to a semantic search - taking into account my personal preference. (e.g. If I post things on blogs which are about how much I hate 'Sex and the City 2' and then actually do a search for it, would it not be better for me to find sites which share my opinion?)

    Zo 30 mei 2010, 10:20

  • Interesting point Bernardo. I wouldn't like too see that results but actually results of people who don't share my opinion. That's far more interesting.

    Semantic is so relative. Maybe they could provide us with a page of settings so they can filter the results better for those semantic approaches.

    Zo 30 mei 2010, 11:41

    • Bernardo

    Dries, you're absolutely correct, and my example wasn't the best - but one way or another MY search for "Sex and the City 2" should not give me a page where I can buy the DVD :) (unless I specifically search for that.) The important thing is that the search engines should have some context as to WHY Im searching, which will give me better search results.

    Zo 30 mei 2010, 12:31

  • @Dries @Bernardo: gentlemen, you're both right. The settings-panel: see the left menu in the new google UI. You're both talking about personalised search. The technology has gone already quite far, but there's still a way to go. Being aware of personal preference of 'alike minds' vs 'opposite minds' seems extremely difficult. Interesting anyway.

    Zo 30 mei 2010, 13:00

  • They could easily integrate this in iGoogle. Just setting up a page and choose different keywords aside the main subject your looking for. They could also consider tracking time on a page to measure it's relevance for your search (with some variables according to length of the text, relevance for the keywords, mouse tracking, ...)

    It's just an idea. Maybe they're already working on this. Who know. I'm curieus and can't wait!

    Zo 30 mei 2010, 14:54

  • None of my current clients seem to have been affected. To make sure there long tail did still bring in traffic I added an advanced segment to Google Analytics. That way you can see zoom into traffic generated by searches with 4 or more words. I wrote a post on how to add an advanced segment here:

    Wo 2 jun 2010, 17:55

  • wow nice information. I need this information . At last i got this information in this site. thanks for sharing

    Di 22 jun 2010, 13:56


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