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Yesterday, Tyler Colman posted an interesting bit of information on his blog that connected the dots in both my business and wine blogging worlds. Since much of what I do in my business is web-related, and search is the main way people find information online, I have been closely following the changes to Google’s search ranking algorithm. For those unaware of this move, Google has changed the way  web pages are ranked in its organic search to make so-called “content farms” rank lower in results. It’s somewhat of an arms race between search engines like Google and search engine optimization (SEO) ninjas who continuously work to optimize their clients’ organic search positions. And Google makes these changes on a regular basis so the search results are as optimized as possible for their users.

Tyler mused that this change might negatively affect the search position of Snooth, the online wine directory site. A quick visit to Compete produced the following chart comparing Snooth with competitors Wine-Searcher and WineZap. Although it’s early, it looks like both Snooth and Wine-Searcher took a hit of 34%-42% of their traffic respectively. WineZap, with significantly less traffic, is down about 14% from last month. It will be interesting to revisit this chart in a month or two and see if this trend continues but obviously it appears these directories have been directly affected from Google’s change.

What this means for wine bloggers is our content will be ranked higher in Google search results, particularly for wine reviews. I think this is great for those of us who produce “hand-crafted”, relevant content instead of just being a directory or aggregator.

via Dr Vino’s Wine blog

Disclosure: I am a WineZap and Snooth affiliate.

Update: As CellarTrackers’ Eric LeVine points out in the comments, seasonality is what is driving the Compete chart above. So we will not know until next month if anything has really happened with Snooth or the other sites from any of the changes to the Google algorithm. Below is the current Quantcast chart for Snooth which is inconclusive, as well. Stay tuned for another update in about a month.