• What Has Changed To Affect Google Rankings In Recent Years

    There can be very few industries or niches that have changed as much as Search Engine Marketing in the last few years, without their main customers noticing it. Millions of users punch in search terms every day into Google’s search box to find valuable information, which will improve their quality of life from buying new products, finding somewhere to go on holiday the list is endless.
    Yet for most users of Google nothing appears to have changed, except a few design updates. With the Google UK still getting up to 90% of all search queries, it can be true to say that many have never tried Yahoo , Bing or any other search engine for some time.

    How It Changed For Webmasters

    But for those who own a website or like me, many enterprises, the last few years has seen nothing but incredible change.
    Normally the evolution of something, starts with a core base and then improvements are made over time, but when it came to search, the rules were about to be broken. The first 10 years, you could follow the regular changes more easier, they were all mainly designed to deal with spam and those SEO professionals who had learned the tricks of the trade and made any website rank whether it was good or bad. Those with a bit of experience could pretty much guess what update was coming next.

    Google Panda Changed the Webmaster World

    But then Google introduced their biggest update yet, Google Panda, this was in fact a total rewrite of their algorithm, not only designed to remove duplicate or similar content, but also design to use less storage and speed up their results. Many large sites including corporations’ even years later had not recovered from the update, the reason being, that so much was wrong with their site in Google eyes, which many would have to almost remove all content and start again. This was not a one off update, pretty much every month tweaks were made both more aggressive and sometimes small roll backs when results did not improve, kept webmasters on their toes.

    Then Penguin Took It to Another Level

    The infamous Penguin update transformed SEO as we know it. This is an over optimisation update that looks at anchor text and exact keywords or anything that is seen as anyone trying to optimise a site to improve their rankings. This was the nail in the coffin for many SEO companies, whose whole process had been about acquiring links. Now many had to go back and remove or change most of what they had previously done. In fact we then had a situation where sites that had done absolutely no SEO, were ranking higher than those who had spent fortunes.

    It’s Now All about Trust

    Many would argue its always been about trust, it’s just Google measures trust in a different way now. This could be true, but my experience SEO is as much about what we shouldn’t do. Take links for example, a link now can hurt you so obtaining a few cheap links from what appears to be a high PR site and relevant can take your site down he rankings rather than up. So understanding how to use the tools available that help measure trust is essential.

    Many organisations abandoned search and moved to social media, to regain their traffic. For some it worked, but many were over optimistic that social media is everything, and that people really are interested in your products if they are not backed by a celebrity or extensive TV commercials.
    My personal feeling is a disappointment with Yahoo and Bing who should at least give webmasters a credible reason to invest time and promote themselves on these search engines.