The Google algorithm change in October really hit hard, cutting off about 1/2 of search engine traffic to this site. I have tried to make many changes that Google seems to be looking for, but so far only have a modest rebound in search traffic. One of the annoyances is Google’s approach to dates on pages. Sites that have obviously plagiarized or copied my web pages now sometimes show up earlier in search results because those page have newer dates. I gave up the battle against this problem years ago since it was labor intensive and pointless. Plus, Google used to recognize those illegal sites and not display them in search results.
This morning I read about some additional changes Google has already made in 2012. The following caught my eye and confuses me:
Google has made improvements to image size signal. [launch codename "matter"] This is an improvement to how we use the size of images as a ranking signal in Image Search. With this change, you’ll tend to see images with larger full-size versions.
Now, if you use Google’s Page Speed or Yahoo’s YSlow tools to analyze your site one of the main things both tell you is to reduce your image size to one no large than what is needed on the page. I have always used the approach of uploading a large image and then using page html to reduce the display on the page, arranging things so if the image was clicked on, readers got the full size image to look at. Now that seems like the wrong approach and I should probably upload both a reduced image and a full size image and link the reduced image in the post to the stored full sized image.
Trying to maintain a presence in search results when you are a small or medium sized site has sure become a time-consuming chore. Google, in particular, seems to have really started catering to the big websites and to have made other changes, (like the date algorithms), that sometimes cause the opposite of the intended effect. It used to be said that what should be concentrated on is just writing original content. Now there is so much else involved, the content sometimes gets lost in the confusion.