A recent post I wrote provides some background on changes Google has been making to their search tools. This post is just a brief update with some things I have recently discovered. Maybe the original post and this one will help you if your website has been impacted by 2011′s Google Panda Updates.
Since Google’s October Panda update, when I write a blog post I do find it easily and more quickly in Google search results than before. However I have some evergreen content that seems to not show up in search results like it used to. This suspicion is backed up by much less search traffic recently to these posts. This reduction in search traffic to these evergreen posts had reduced the overall search traffic to willtaft.com by about 40%. I think the main reason for these popular, evergreen posts not showing up in Google search results is because those posts are older, sometimes a couple of years old, and Google is now weighting their search results in favor of newer content.
The problem created for searchers by Google not showing those posts in search results like they used to is this: Yes the post is old, but the content is not date sensitive. It is not breaking news. Plus, there is an ongoing conversation in the comments that goes right up to the present day. Even as the author of these posts, I will admit that the biggest value of those posts is now in all the comments. Some are by real experts and professionals on the topic. By burying the post deep in search results based on the post date, Google is denying searchers access to the varied and very informative comment thread. I would estimate that I have 20 or 30 posts here that are like this and used to bring in at least 1/2 of all search engine visitors. This may not seem like a big deal on this site with hundreds of posts and many new ones every month. It is, however, a big deal to searchers who find only new, but much less valuable web content in their search results and never get to see these older, more in-depth pages.
There seems to be a Google opinion, (and admittedly one shared by many others), that newer is better. If you are looking for news stories that may be correct, but I think in many cases this is not true at all. Some older content provides real historical and thorough information from many different people. This is more helpful than a new post that has yet to draw comments and is really just the ideas and opinion of one individual. When I write an in-depth post on a topic, I see that only as the starting point of a long and informative conversation. With so many fewer searchers being directed to those posts, the conversation is being restricted.