We already heard from Matt Cutts, but what about Maile Ohye, a Tech Lead at Google mostly responsible for Webmaster Tools.
Mike Grehan: After a previous update, we heard a story of someone ranking #1 who lost positioning (and was previously making $10,000/month just from that one ranking). The same thing again seems to be happening with the Mayday update. What exactly is that it?
Maile Ohye: We tweak little things in our algorithm all the time. Mayday was a significant update that really impacted long tail terms. A lot of people were leveraging long tail phrases for lots of traffic but it was frequently done via automated methods. We’ve looked to eliminate spam, and that’s been a big priority for us. At the same time, there were people developing not quality content (not a violation of guidelines, but also not providing value). What it does is for long tail queries, is we now just consider them queries like anything else. We are going to put as much value in those search results as all search results.
So, you can’t just add a bunch of keywords on a page and expect results just on that. This type of update is continuing and it’s a focus we have. We have other projects too to help continue making long tail traffic highly relevant.
Mike Grehan: Are you saying with long tail terms, are queries getting longer?
Maile Ohye: Yes, people have evolved as searchers. With Google when you search for over 3 terms, the snippet link increases in importance as people expect to find long queries and we want to deliver a better experience.
As you can imagine, the folks over at WebmasterWorldare chewing, digesting and then dissecting each and every word from this live blog coverage.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.