That was quick. Google appears to have already upgraded CultofMac.com in its search results, just a few days after downgrading us.
As we noted yesterday, Cult of Mac was collateral damage in Google’s war on crappy content farms. For some inexplicable reason, we got downgraded when Google tweaked its algorithms last Thursday.
But today we’re back in. We’re on Google News (a very important source of daily traffic) as well as Google’s general search results. However, we still get outranked by some of the scraper sites that steal our content, so not everything’s perfect.
Why we’ve been upgraded, I have no idea. Google’s head of spam, Matt Cutts, tweeted me yesterday, saying Google had likely seen my post and would get it resolved. And Wired.com published a story about us today after speaking to a Google Fellow Amit Singhal. But the changes were already in place early this morning, which makes me think Google is slowly tweaking its algorithm to get better results. I’ve asked Cutts for an explanation, and will post up if/when I get a reply.
I’d like to thank readers for your awesome support. We got some very nice notes in the comments to the last post. Made my day. Thanks guys.
It’s a beautiful morning here in San Francisco to wake up and find your website has been effectively disappeared off the web by Google.
Cult of Mac has been downgraded by the changes Google has made to its algorithm to rerank content farms like Demand Media.
We’ve become a civilian casualty in the war against content farms.
You can read more about here in The Guardian, which highlighted us in a story about legit sites hit by the changes.
We’re not alone. Also affected is the British Medical Journal, PR Newswire, and one of the earliest online communities, The Well. According to an analysis by Sistrix, an independent search-engine analyst firm, hundreds of other legitimate, hardworking sites have also been hit.
Why us? We have no idea. The changes Google has made to its system are secret. What makes it worse is that Google’s tinkering seems to have actually improved Demand Media’s page rank, while killing ours.
We’re a blog, so we aggregate news stories like everyone else. But our posts are 100% original and we do a ton of original reporting, as The Guardian noted this morning.
Perhaps it was because we’re constantly ripped off by shitty clone blogs?
Or maybe because we ranked so highly for popular keywords like “Apple” and “iPhone.” In fact, we used to get a lot of love from Google, placing highly on Google News and Google’s general search pages. A lot of our traffic came from Google, which is why the changes are so serious. I’m already seeing a big drop-off in traffic. Over the weekend and today, the traffic is half what it normally would be.
I’m pissed because we’ve worked our asses off over the last two years to make this a successful site. Cult of Mac is an independently owned small business. We’re a startup. We have a small but talented team, and I’m the only full timer. We’re busting our chops to produce high-quality, original content on a shoestring budget.
We were just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After two years of uncertainty, the site finally looks like it will be able to stand on its two feet.
But this is a major setback. Anyone got Larry’s cell number?