Well if you have suddenly noticed a dramatic drop in your search engine rankings over the last couple of weeks, then you may have fallen foul of the latest update to the search engine algorithm in the Google search engine.
It was on the date of 24 of February, that Google, the big-dog in the search game, decided to release their latest algorithm on their search engine. Their algorithm is designed to find the most relevant websites as pertaining to your search query or keyword that you type into the search box on google.com. This algorithm as it is called, is a complex piece of computer wizardry that attempts to analyse all websites and their worthiness, which are associated in some way with the keywords a search will enter into the search box.
There are over 200 points of reference that Google uses to determine who the winner is for the top #1 spot on it’s organic search results. It then presents in descending order those that don’t quite make the grade, in order to return the most relevant website for your search.
The recent changes that came into effect in late February 2011, have been designed to penalize any website trying to artificially get to the top of the search results, who happened to be using what are known as “link-farms” to achieve their desired result. Apparently this may have been working for some websites before the Google change and now is considered an outlawed practice. The result of being inside one of these so called link farms has meant in many cases rankings have dropped to some page way, way beyond the first page of results.
The types of content and linking that Google favours needs to be unique by nature and be seen to be a natural linking process. Google expect that if you create a great website with unique content on it then people will find your site, and create a link from their site to yours. And according to Google if this happens more times for your website than for your competitors site, then you are deemed the worthy winner of the #1 ranked website on the planet.
This notion presents many problems when you analyse what is being proposed by Google as “fair play”.
Firstly how are people to find your site in the first place if rank on page 9 of the search results because no one has linked to you? Think about your own search practices, how often do you venture past the first page when searching for something or someone? Not often if you are the majority who barely click beyond the first two listings.
How about we use a real world example to get the clearer picture of what I am describing here, which is really unpractical at best and down right simplistic delusion at worst.
Example#1: Outdoor Home Lighting Website
Let’s say Jim owns an outdoor lighting business that he has been running for over 20 years, with a wealth of customers and an outstanding reputation for providing excellent products and customer service that is second to none. Jim approaches me as an online marketing consultant with his dilemma. He has just been informed by his website designer that Google demands that the only way to get listed in their search engine is to have people, in fact a lot of people, create a link to his website, (just launched 2 weeks ago and ranking nowhere for the important keywords in his industry) and yet no one knows it even exists
Is Jim supposed to somehow convince his happy customers to take the time to login to a blog somewhere and somehow talk about his wonderful business and create an anchor text based comment on a blog that doesn’t have the nofollow tag (something that strips the link value out of the link) and that doesn’t see the comment as spam and just delete it.
Now this has to happen not a couple of times but it needs to happen more times than any other outdoor lighting specialist in Jim’s area, just to prove to the world of searchers that Jim’s outdoor lighting business is the best.
Pretty unrealistic wouldn’t you agree?
Considering that most of the top results have been achieved by the assistance of search engine optimization, or SEO as it is known, in markets where there is money to be made and you realize that Jim has only a couple of options to consider if he wants to attract the online customer to his business. Option one is to play by the rules and stay out of the top results possibly forever, or option 2, use his gut instinct and business acumen that tells him that he is the best outdoor lighting professional in his region and he deserves to be listed at the top and not his competitors. With option 2 his only choice is to find a capable, highly qualified search engine optimization specialist who can get him the results of a top ranking and pay him or her to do the job for him.
If Jim chooses carefully, does a search for seo consultant + city name and finds the top ranked consultant, he has a fairly safe bet that they can do the job for him and the end result will be that not only does Google get what it set out to do, present the best most qualified website as the top result, but the searcher finds Jim’s lighting business ranked at the top and some of them join the ranks of happy customers that he has been creating for over 20 years.
And in conclusion to my point here regarding the Google Farmer update, that search engine optimization consultant is probably not going to be ranked at the top any more if he or she were using any as untoward as a “link farm” to achieve their top ranking.