On TLDR episode #27, we talked to Matt Haughey, the owner of Metafilter, about how his site saw a sudden traffic drop in November, 2012. He attributed the drop to a change in Google’s algorithm, something we essentially couldn’t confirm because Google refused to comment. Danny Sullivan, who also featured in our story, reports that yesterday, Google’s search-swami Matt Cutts confirmed that Metafilter was indeed hit by a change in the algorithm.
Cutts revealed this yesterday at the Seattle Search Marketing Expo, but frustratingly wouldn’t comment on what algorithm tweak caused the traffic change or how Metafilter is running afoul of the algorithm, though he did say he was working directly with Metafilter to bring the site up in the search results*. So that’s great for Metafilter, but if you’re another site that was affected by the same tweak that caused Metafilter’s site to drop off the front page of Google, you’re out of luck. Still, it's a better result than we would have imagined a few weeks ago, when Matt Haughey said he wasn't really getting any help at all from Google.
*CORRECTION: The assertion that Google was working directly with Metafilter and Matt Haughey to resolve the issue was based on Danny Sullivan's article on Sarchengineland. Matt Haughey has since refuted that assertion, and Sullivan has since updated the article to reflect that.
@rustybrick All I got was vague "maybe someday things might get better" kind of messaging. No change in traffic. No suggested changes.— Matt Haughey (@mathowie) June 12, 2014