The Jagger Backlash Myth

Look out Mick, there is a new Jagger in town. And although you will never see this Jagger on the cover of Rolling Stone or performing a Super Bowl half time show, this new Jagger is surrounded by a buzz all its own. I’m talking about the latest shakeup over in Mountain View, California at the Googleplex. The newest addition to the long list of Google updates, dubbed “Jagger” has raised some eyebrows and ruffled more feathers in the SEO community.

The common theme of these tirades? Irrelevant results. Results so bad that Google’s stock price will assuredly sink to K-Martian depths. Results so bad that Google’s days as king of the search engine mountain are about to come to a quick and decisive end. Results so bad, they say, that average users are already taking note and flocking like lemmings over to Yahoo! for all their search needs (and can PPC advertisers be far behind?)

This theory of an angered general public forced to shift their searching habits because of a dramatic transformation in the relevancy of the results returned by Google has been backed by plenty of siteowners’ anecdata showing an increase in Yahoo! traffic the week after the Jagger update.

I am a sucker for numbers. In fact, I’m willing to believe almost anything you tell me, if you can back it with numbers. Use the Pythagorean Theorem to show me that the world revolves around a gopher in a potato field in Boise, and I’m on board. I’ll go to college campuses and pass out flyers preaching the gospel of the sacred gopher. In fact, I will even help foot the bill for the 10,000 silk-screened heavyweight light grey t-shirts.

Given my affinity for numbers, I figured that I needed to explore this mass exit theory a little bit more. So, using statistical traffic data gathered from a random sampling of several clients, I set out to see if I could match the results others had found. Unfortunately, after analyzing the data, there is no sacred gopher, and no jailbreak run away from Google and their post-Jagger results. Our data shows very little difference between pre- and post-Jagger Yahoo! traffic, and as a statistical kicker, showed an increase in the amount of traffic delivered by Google.

So, back to the drawing board. No lemmings, no sacred gopher, and no undisputable proof that Google is losing its stranglehold on the search market. All in all, a very disappointing day.

Just to make myself clear, I’m not saying there is no merit to what others have found. A backlash may be coming. People may begin to gradually shift their searching habits based on a growing dislike for the results they find on Google. But, at this point, I see no concrete evidence to back it up. And without the numbers, I just can’t jump off the lemming’s cliff.