Is Mayday Update Another Blow from Google?

Now what is this "Mayday" update?

I got wind of it from the comments on Sara’s blog and followed some of the links therein to another blog. From there I discovered the actual article detailing the Mayday update! Actually, much of the "details" are stemming from speculation as is usual in SEO; some of this speculation is of course based on what Matt Cutts has said, and so on! While I have no hands-on proof to backup my point, I strongly believe Mr. Cutts is specifically hired by the big G to "mislead" newbie webmasters in one way or other (SEO mistakes=>poor SERPs=>more $$$$ into Adwords™) – at least, if all my years of experience are anything to go by (Matt Cutts fans, please don’t be offended)!

Personally I have not seen much change in rankings (a little change in traffic, maybe, but no considerable change in search engine rankings) for most of my older, authority sites, unless I count "Google dance", that is! But then again, who knows? Maybe Google™ has planned to "slap" me some other day, lol (kidding)!

If you have not figured already, this is quite an "open discussion" article. I would not bore you today, promise! Instead, I invite your opinions on this. Do you think it is for real, or just another SEO speculation? Have you been affected by this update? If so, what are you doing to tackle this? Please discuss it below! Thanks for your time and inputs. They are greatly appreciated. :D

[Some hints of how you might be able to overcome this disaster:

Link building: Diversifying the sources of backlinks instead of relying just one or two. Also, as far as forums are concerned, the links in signatures are far more valuable from an SEO point of view than profile backlinks, although I must admit – your risk of getting banned from the forum for adding signature links is twice as much as for building profile links. As the old proverb says, "No Risk, No Gain!" ;)

Content Building: If you are maintaining an eCommerce site, or an autoblog (primarily fed on content from other sites), adding some original, meaningful, and keyword-rich content (yeah, as clichéd as it sounds) would help!

List Building: Where possible. This offers you a great financial protection so that your future is not entirely dependent on Google’s whims.

Just some stuff off my head :) ]

All kinds of comments are allowed, even stupid ones, EXCEPT spam and overtly political types! So please don’t be shy! ;)

For me, life goes on as usual and I would continue to write long, boring articles regardless of what Google does/does not!… :D


  1. JamestheJust on Elance

    I do appreciate your thoughts, I’m JamestheJust on Elance, or “The Average Genius” (thanks for helping me rank for “another blog” – that was a term I was trying for! :) )–

    Your insight actually helps me reconsider some thinking on the subject. Truth be told, I was going to keep plugging away as usual and then see if anything was amiss. I’ve only had one site get knocked off the map for some reason.

    Could be MayDay, could be other things, not sure…will have to double check those trackbacks. It seems blackhatters have found one of my sites and keep syndicating my articles. I keep marking them as spam…that’s what happens when you have a successful site in a competitive niche, ranking 1-3 in Google…ah well.

    And I agree: diversified link signature as well as good ol’ SEO and quality content make all the difference.

  2. Renee Benzaim

    I’ve been reading about this Mayday stuff but I haven’t seen any changes in any of my rankings and I really go after the latent semantic index keywords and the long tail keyword phrases. Actually, I focus more on LSI keywords and usually use them as my category keywords. After I write an article, I’ll check it out against a list of LTK phrases to see if I can tweak my “natural” writing with a phrase or two, but I don’t worry about it too much. If I just write normally, the LTK usually takes care of itself.

    1. Arindam


      Thanks for your valuable input :)

  3. Arindam


    Install Akismet and those spam trackbacks should be caught. I had this happen on one of my other blogs: 10 “fake” trackbacks. All useless, blackhatter redirect sites. :( Luckily Akismet caught all but one of them which I manually deleted. There is even a plugin to help you disable trackbacks altogether. Being useless as they are, I might take that route soon! :D

  4. JamestheJust on Elance

    I heavily article market, so the trackbacks help me find a backlink I can “boost” if I need to to make sure it’s indexed (using a ping/rss submission routine).

    I do have Askimet installed, it’s caught 400+ in a week spam attempts…mostly I’ve been watching trends and then adding the offending IPs to an .htaccess file and uploading with a “deny from…IP” line. This has really helped.

    Other times, if I’m feeling punchy, I’ll do a reverse IP lookup, contact the host and let them know the IP address, etc…but only have done that once.

    @ Renee:

    I have to agree with you on the LSI keywords – writing naturally brings this about. Incansoft has a cheap program called “Content mania” that seems to target these metrics as well, but the irony is that LSI is meant to *mimic* human writing…so why not cut out the middle man?

    Just write, write well…and you’ve got it down.

  5. Arindam


    400! Wow!

    I have not used content mania so I would not judge it, but I can say this much that software will ALWAYS remain inferior to the human brain; after all it is the human brain that creates the software-can a creation be superior to its creator? :D It does not matter if Bill Gates builds a content-generating bot or whatever, the human brain will always be superior.

    As I was just explaining to Renee on the LSI point, when I write long boring articles, I usually don’t focus on LSI at all. I just keep writing as long as I have stuff to cram in that article LOL. Being a jack of all trades, I can write on many different topics too, so the LSI builds naturally for me I guess. I don’t even research keywords before writing anything for this blog (never did). Whatever I write on comes naturally to me. Call me old-fashioned! ;)

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  7. Michelle

    I’ve been reading about this shift all over the place too, and I also noticed some drop in traffic. However, I’m going through all my keywords right now and have not noticed any substantial changes so far in ranking for those keywords. What I think has changed is that I’m not bringing in as many visitors for the stray long-tail keyword phrases. But since I’m not trying to rank for those anyway, I don’t think it should to hurt things in a major way. I have not seen the huge drop that some others are reporting in how my sites are ranking for targeted keywords, However, I’m not building microniche sites generally (although the couple that I have seem to be doing fine). So, I’m not panicking (yet).

    1. Arindam


      Sometimes, depending on site content, long tail comes naturally! ;) Just add your site to Google webmaster tools OR install shortstats plugin on your blog and wait for a month! See for which keywords your website is actually ranking, and you might be pleasantly surprised. :D

      My point is that given your site content is already rich in the keywords they are supposed to contain, as well as meaningful and informative, it will rank for several long tail keywords automatically without your having to consciously write an article for each long tail keyword.

      That is why the focus must be always on human-written content, not automated bot-generated garbage. I guess ppl who use those bots might be the the hardest hit. It would be a welcome relief for us searchers though, if that happens. ;)

      I think that your issue might be with traffic. If so then all you need is more QUALITY backlinks!

  8. JamestheJust on Elance

    Yes, I’m sure the 400 spam comments were part of a spamming software, though the comments were configured nicely. They all led to “adult” sites or gambling sites.

    And I agree: you can’t automate the human brain, there is no replacement. I once had an Elance client give me a list of 25 LSI keywords to use in a 500 word article…I told him he’d have to trust that LSI comes naturally.

    Otherwise it’s stuffed like a turkey…

  9. Forest

    Hey Arindam, I have been doing fine too but have been dropping some smaller sites in favor of pushing my bigger more authority sites.

  10. Earn Fast Money

    The mere fact that big G needs to constantly alter its algorithm in its never ending war against the webmaster virus, indicates that “G” doesn’t really know what it is doing.

    Consider a drowning man splashing about in the water trying to survive. Google is merely waiting for some whiz kid start up with the next great search idea to come in and put it out of its misery.

    Imagine the stupidity of ranking the relevance of a webpage in relation to a search term by the amount of backlinks the page has.

    Any fool with time and a little automation can put any garbage onto googles first page for any keyword.

    Google is merely the biggest bully on the block pretending to care about its end users when all it is really concerned with is making money.

    If the future of search is more backlinks and backllinks are ten a penny then the WWW will implode from a severe case of useless spam data on googles front page.

    “Content is king” is the hype, the reality is backlinks rule.

  11. Randy

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  12. David "Backlinks Tool"

    Hi Arindam,

    I haven’t seen much change in my rankings but as you know they do change and “dance” from time to time. Keep on linking using various techniques and as you said do not use just one or two. Didn’t know forum links where that valuable though.

  13. Ricky

    “I strongly believe Mr. Cutts is specifically hired by the big G to “mislead” newbie webmasters in one way or other”

    I know this for some times. I never believe what Mr Cutts has to say.

    Nothing has changed for me. But some internal page PRs when up.

  14. Jordon

    Ever since Google installed its Caffeinated results, all hell has broken lose. The results in a search are first, corporate adwords results, then comes Twitter feeds, then comes Google Maps, so that Page 1 means crappy returns. You do not get organic searches anymore Google is manipulating traffic way too much. Now I like fast responses but the quality is suffering. Personally I have seen over a 50 percent reduction in traffic since Feb. 2010, same in April, same in May. Google should eliminate these high speed changes, I would rather not read through to Page 2 or 3 to find what I am looking for and I want the traffic that I had back in Dec/Jan. Google is making a mockery of true organic search response-in favor of giving their adwords clients Page 1, you can have it. I am looking on Page 2,3,4, 5.

    1. Arindam


      That is right. Apart from that, first page also contains news stories and video results from youtube, so more hurdles for searchers! :(

  15. Jim Gillum

    I have read several posts in webmaster/seo forums indicting that some folks are seeing changes, One member experienced a large increase in SERP.
    My view centers around maintaining original quality content. I think the auto content types will get hit the hardest.

  16. Angela

    Yes, exactly, Arindam. What you said in your first paragraph is EXACTLY what I’ve seen as far as SEO goes as well. May I direct folks to this blog post? :)

  17. Arindam


    Hey Angel,

    Feel free to do that. You are welcome :D Glad to meet you again after such a long time ;)

  18. JamestheJust on Elance

    @ Angela – Ah! The famous Angela — I was beginning to think you were actually an urban legend! Love your site, btw.

    @ EarnFastMoney –

    “If the future of search is more backlinks and backllinks are ten a penny then the WWW will implode from a severe case of useless spam data on googles front page.

    “Content is king” is the hype, the reality is backlinks rule.”

    Well said. This whole deal is going to force a rise in PPC…gee, wonder if that was the plan…and it will also result in massive spam as the backlinks continue to be in high demand.

    Those who make the next “backlink bazooka” (SENuke anyone? Brute Force EVOII? etc. etc.) will also profit…

    So the irony is that this push for “quality” will end up a massive quantity of spaminators.

  19. Alan

    I have quite a lot of sites that have been doing quite well with a core of solid content and topped up with various auto stuff but I did notice one the other day that has been a solid page one for months and months and has suddenly gone from pos7 on page 1 to just fallen off page 2 in a matter of days. Most unusual.

    Can’t find anything different on the site that would cause this but it is a bit of a worry. Haven’t had time to check all the others yet, but I will certainly be keeping an eye on things for awhile. Maybe it’s a case of just freshening the site up a bit as it’s been around for a while, but it’s something worth monitoring.

  20. Angela

    JamestheJust on Elance:

    Thank you for your kind words. :)

    You’d THINK that this would be the way it goes. However, Google IS very big on “relevance” but not the way folks think. They are big on “relevance” not in that backlinks have to be theme-related to your site, but that the pages that appear on Page One HAVE to be theme-related to the keyword being searched for.

    The algorithm is advanced enough to be able to tell that a junk page that doesn’t have a lot to do with the keyword it’s ranking for and those go away VERY quickly.

    Now, if Google would do the same for PPC we’d be in good shape. I HATE looking for information or even something to shop for (I do a LOT of online shopping), only to click on one of the paid ads and find out that the site I go to has absolutely NOTHING to do with what I’m looking for. It’s VERY annoying.

  21. Dave Harvey

    Hi Arindam,

    I am unsure whether it was Mayday or not, but Google has certainly reduced the traffic it is sending me to most of my sites, which is pretty pathetic, I think.

    The changes seemed to happen around May 28 or 29 to most of my sites. And one that had been a decent earner has been earning half of what it did a couple of months back.

    But I cannot see anything that is common to all my sites, which mostly earn Adsense … or should I say Ad-cents. Because I sure am not getting rich from this, er, hobby. Maybe it is an obsession?

    Cheers for now.


  22. David

    In the past year of learning to create a website that works, my mentor always iterates to “keep it real”. Your suggestions of what do to not get “slapped” are the very things I have been doing.

    This is a great confirmation to not and try to outsmart the SEs. Eventually (even if it is many months later) you will be found out.

    Thanks for keeping us posted.

  23. Bill

    In my research, I’ve found that there are a lot of things that may contribute to higher SERP rankings, but only 4 that matter, and only 2 you can affect.

    1. “Authority” – I’ll loosely call it PageRank. It’s a relative term – CNN has more authority than (unless you’re twitter or FB!). There’s nothing you can do about this directly. Just do #3 and #4 right.
    2. Age. Yeah, it matters. A site that’s been around since 1996 is given more “weight” than one that is a year old, all other things being equal (though they never are in the “real world”).
    3. Backlinks. The more the better. And they don’t have to be relevant to your site.
    4. Content. As they say, content is king. More content = more traffic and better SERPs, again, all other things equal.

    Take care of #3 and #4. #2 comes with time (duh) and #1 comes kind of as a result of #s 2, 3, and 4!

  24. Arindam


    “The more the better.”

    Both for content and backlinks, quality is even more important than quantity. If you can get backlinks from authority sites then u would not need as many links. Granted, that is a tough call for most people. Getting backlinks from profile pages are easier, but Google does not give them as much importance as direct backlinks. Getting Google index your forum profile is a pain in the a**, unless you make at least one post on the forum. On another note, some forums even have a rule that if you don’t make at least one post within a specified time, your account would get deleted. Not to mention that some forums deliberately set profile pages to “private” (some of them may do it long after you put links in your profile, so you would not even know when you have “lost” a backlink) :P