From: SitePro News <email@example.com>
Google's Latest "Dance",
Looks More Like "Slam Dancing!"
By Merle MCPromotionsPress.com
Google's recent November changes to its algorithm, now known as the "Florida Update", have left many site owners in a quandary. Many who were enjoying top placements, have lost their spots, and apparently, for no real reason.
Now keep in mind, that periodic algorithmic changes are a normal and vital maintenance feature of "ALL" major search engines, but the effect of this particular "Dance," as these adjustments have come to be called, has been truly enormous, and carried with it consequences, still yet unmeasured or understood.
It's hard to tell what kind of "dance" Google was doing, as, to many, it appears to be more of a form of "slam dancing". Algorithms are what are used to rank web pages, and periodic changes are to be expected, but this one is being hailed as the most substantial change at Google in years.
Google is definitely trying to clean the spam from its database, but many innocent people, who claim not to be using illegal search engine optimization techniques, were hurt in the process.
Certainly Google's main goal is to provide relevant results to its users. If they didn't, no one would want to use them for searching. There was no advance warning of the change, but that's pretty normal. No real surprise there.
What is a surprise, however, is that many site owners who felt they were doing nothing wrong, were penalized in the process.
Manipulative behavior is definitely being punished. Google is certainly enforcing their guidelines and has grown tired of those website owners using "spammy optimization" techniques and having little or no real content. Google claims the change is all part of their continued efforts to improve their search engine results, but many others have their own "conspiracy theories" about what lies behind the big change.
Keep in mind that this is all purely speculation:
1) Some say Google is trying to force small business owners to join their "AdWords" Program. Since most of the sites that were hardest hit by the flux, happen to be highly competitive, commercial ventures by nature, there are whispers in the shadows, that perhaps an unpredictable index rating might convince the "freebie" seeker to join "Adwords," in order to obtain an ascertainably better placement.
2) The other theory is that Google is trying to increase their "perceived value" in the eyes of the business world, as a whole, before issuing their IPO. This would make them a far more attractive commodity to potential investors with big bucks.
Certain genres of websites were definitely hit harder than others. That is a fact, which is not even being debated. Anyone can quite easily verify that with a minimal effort of research. The biggest classifications to suffer from the slam, seems to be:
1) Real Estate Agent Sites
2) Search Engine Optimization Sites
3) Travel and Tourism Sites
It would appear that a lot of the sites, now ranking highest with Google, are more editorial, instead of commercial. Is this purely coincidence?
So why is everyone so shaken up by this change? Well, with over 3 billion pages in their index and with Google powering so many other of the major search engines, they control a lot of the search engine pie. Lose ranking with them, and you lose a lot.
As a site owner with a good marketing plan, you should be using many other promotional / marketing methods, and not putting all your "eggs in the Google basket" so to speak. Those who were using Google for their main source of traffic are definitely hurting right now. Let this serve as a lesson to diversify your marketing efforts.
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So what's an "honest" site owner to do? Stay away from irrelevant linking and link farms, and build a quality site with good solid content. Use keywords in the first 250 words of text on the page, but don't go overboard. If, when read "out loud," it sounds funny, it's overkill.
Google outlines their guidelines for building a "search engine crawler friendly" site over at: http://www.google.com/webmasters/guidelines.html
If you haven't read this in awhile, or maybe you never have, you just might want to take an attentive look at it now, in hopes of safely improving your ranking, by conforming to their guidelines.
Google is also now integrating its "Froogle Listings" on its pages, so if you sell a tangible product, then you may very well want to use Froogle as an opportunity to get better placement.
Froogle is an extension of Google's search engine, which many people use for product research, before making a purchase. If there's a Froogle match on an attempted search, the results will show up on the results page. For more on Froogle go to: http://froogle.google.com/froogle/merchants.html
Remember, search engines should only be one small part of your marketing mix. By relying too heavily on any "single" search engine for your traffic, you'll likely find yourself in the position of being irretrievably out of balance and completely at their mercy, whenever such an algorithmic quake is inserted into the index.
So be sure to always use a wide variety of marketing/ promotional tactics, thereby, ensuring that the next time Google goes "Slam Dancing," you don't get an unintentional elbow in the eye or your feet stepped on.