Over the weekend, Webmasters started to notice major changes with the Google search results. Most of those changes are documented in an incredibly long but only three-day long thread at WebmasterWorld.
I decided to wait on reporting on this thread until Monday morning, to see if things settle. In short, webmasters were not happy. They saw low quality sites come into the search results, they thought Google went backwards. And they actually did.
Matt Cutts of Google made one of his now rare posts at WebmasterWorld explaining that this was a bug. At 11:57am (EST) on November 1st Matt said in reply to all the craziness going on:
I think this was a short-term issue and things should be back to normal pretty soon (if not already).
What exactly happened? Matt clarified later in the thread:
I don't consider those rankings indicative of anything coming in the future. Some data went into the index without all of our quality signals incorporated, and it should be mostly back to normal and continuing to get back to normal over the course of the day.
Yes, this was a bug as Matt said in reply to a question as to wether or not this was a "bug" or a "test." Matt said, "nope, it wasn't a test."
You probably can expect some type of update soon but it likely will not look anything like what we saw over the weekend.
The forum thread has slowed down drastically over the past 24 hours. Things seem to have settled back to where they were. It is nice to see Googlers come in an help alleviate the concern over, what looked to be, a long weekend for SEOs and webmasters.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.