Jagger update - Here is what I know (and what I think)
I received a comment from someone who wanted to know more about Jagger, or rather what I thought about Jagger - and while I am not sure I can tell you much more than the info that is out there, but I will see what I can do. Truth is, since this only happened a short time ago, the repercussions are still being felt and realized.
FYI - This site is an apparent victim to the de-emphasis on blogs (read more below)...
Background: A couple months ago Google went through another algorithm change - they called it Jagger. Thought to be the most complex change to the engine's determinination of who gets to be where and why, Jagger is having far reaching effects. This change lasted weeks as changes were made, remade, undone, tweaked, retweaked and seems to now have settled in.
The one change that is most obvious to me is in how blogs are indexed, and how Google is managing blog spam. (Since I have a slew of blogs I feel this one big-time). Not coincidentally Google's blog app "Blogger" implemented a function that allows blog owners to moderate comments. A huge step in my mind. Since Blog spam caught on as a way for people to gain easy PR through commenting on other's high PR blogs, blogs were fast becomming the highest ranked results for many keyphrases. Because of the nature of blogs, these results were not always of the best quality. I also believe that in the Jagger algorithm update, blogs are not given equal status to other sites, and this has affected a lot of people utilizing blogs as a way to drive traffic to other sites (like me).
Another change in the Jagger update is in how links are rated. In-bound links have long been a way to gain PR, but I have been telling my clients for months to find link partners with relevancy. If you are a site about search engine optimization, have other sites about SEO linking to you. It is nice that your cousin has an auto-body shop and his site links to yours, but quality relevant links are more meaningful. I truely haven't seen out-bound links having the same effect yet, although there is considerable "buzz" that these are now being added into the mix as well. My advice - go for quality and relevancy inbound and outbound - it can't hurt, and you will have a site that is a tool, and a resource for your human visitors.
Fact is, Google is a business. They don't necessarily care if your business suffers because they shuffle things around a bit. They are protecting their interests with this update - and they will continue to update, tweak, re-align, and just plain do-over as much as they want, as long as they can make the engine better in their minds and keep it a profitable enterprise.
There seems to also be the obvious effect that this change has had on the sites abusing adsense. Again - Google is a business, and they are looking at ways that people are trying to take advantage, and absue their Adsense. So any site that is a fake directory - not relevant, or using auto-content and auto-links will likely be penalized. Now - I have no idea how they can do this, but they have a huge team of people way smarter than myself working on this. If it isn't comprehensive in this change, believe me, it will be in the next one. Google is now seeking reports from anyone who finds a "spam" adsense site. So, be warned... if they haven't caught ya yet, they will.
Another thing: For a while Page Rank seemed to lose its importance, with this update PR is again on the radar. The emphasis on relevancy will likely throw everyone's PR up in the air, and those with good links will ultimately win.
That all said, this whole algorithm thing isn't perfect. There are a ton of factors, some so reletively small, they will never show up on our radars unless we have a site heavy in one of them and stumble over it. Some people with great sites w/ quality and relevancy and super content and great tags, etc. are still gonna get screwed. But Google will sort it out, the good ones back up and throw the bad ones back down. But it will take time. And just when it is all sorted out, they will decided to do it again.
Do yourself a favor and remember that organic SEO is not the only way to drive traffic. Buy an adwords campaign, send out an email campaign, get some media attention... heck - send out a damn postcard. A good marketer cannot rely on Google to keep them in business. A good marketer will utilize the power of Google, (and Yahoo who also does these little "tweaks regularly - and the other engines and directories) to build their business.
And most of all please remember that quality will win. Don't try to beat Google - they have more to gain and more to lose than you - and they have the money to make sure they keep theirs. Play their game. Think about how you can give the Google Searcher the best information on your product/service. Put together comprehensive up to date, quality information.... that is afterall what a site is (or was) supposed to do.