Friday, October 5, 2012

Recent Changes in Search Results

There have been a couple changes implemented over the past couple of weeks by Google that affect search engine rankings .  One, you may have noticed; and another that is not as apparent.  Both are important and should be noted as Google continues to raise the bar on site ranking algorithms.  In my opinion, these changes are going to make some people unhappy but at the same time, it is progress and theoretically, everything evens out in the end.  It definitely keeps all SEO firms on our toes.

The most obvious change has been the decrease of links in the first page of search engine results from 10 to 7.  Google claims that this only affects 20% of searches.  What does this mean for SEO?
  1. It means that a #8-10 ranking no longer guarantees a first page result.  An SEO can no longer use the "Top 10 Rank" sales pitch.   
  2. It places more time to be spent on behalf of the SEO spot-checking rankings in the search engines (granted, it is a good idea to do this anyway). 
  3. It places more pressure on the SEO to provide better quality of work for their clients to ensure that their web pages rank well (this is a good thing).
  4. It creates the need to keep your SEO employed (another good thing).  SEO isn't just a "one and done" job.  It takes time, effort, knowledge, effectiveness, etc. etc. etc.  
There are SEO bloggers out there that say this could be Google running an analysis and there is no reason to think this will or will not be the standard rule for SERPs in the future.  However, it is a good indication of what we might expect.

The second change is related to exact-match domains with low rankings.  This change is expected to initially affect less than 3% of websites in the US-English markets.  The purpose of this change is to keep low-quality domains with query-matching names from appearing in SERPs. 

For example:

You're shopping for widgets in San Antonio and you perform a search for "san antonio widgets." If a domain is but does not rank well with Google, it should no longer appear just for the sake of domain name.  

This is Google's effort to increase the relevancy of their search results.  Just because the domain matches the search doesn't mean it will automatically appear on page 1.  This may upset some of those people who invested a lot of money in buying a specific domain just for its name.  This also tells us how much Google is really putting an emphasis on the importance of the site's content while driving away from  the days when meta tag keywords played a huge role in site ranking. 
Author: Michael Palmer

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