Yes Google did Update SERP’s on Mayday
The SEO forums have recently been full of discussions about a recent update and numerous questions about “why have my search positions dropped?”. It seemed to centre around long tail keywords falling in the search results, for (usually) newer, smaller or less optimised websites, the general consensus was that it was just a Google dance and the rankings were likely to recover again soon as they often do while they are testing new algorithm changes, however as the days went by and they didn’t increase again, it became apparent that something was afoot.
The answer? There was a Google update which has now been confirmed by Matt Cutts, he recently said “this is an algorithmic change in Google, looking for higher quality sites to surface for long tail queries. It went through vigorous testing and isn’t going to be rolled back.”
One of the reasons that we never focus on any single aspect of search engine optimisation for our clients, is that Google and the other search engines can test and sometimes implement small (or occasionally large) changes to their algorithm hundreds of times in a year, so nobody knows what will affect their search positions in the future. A varied approach is always what it required to help your results get to, and remain at the top.
This ranking change seems to only be affecting long tail keywords, i.e. those of over three words in length, although what nobody except Google knows at the moment, is if this is phase one of a larger change.