On the post animalistic search algorithm updates (Panda and Penguin) world of today, site owners and marketers are trying to figure out how the powerful Google king-maker machine is rankings those ten blue links which millions of business owners all over the world relies on.
While Google became much more transparent about its complex search algorithm and offering much more information about it than ever before, paradoxically enough in many ways it is less understandable than it was in the past. The reason for this dichotomy is that the algorithm today is immensely more sophisticated and complicated.
Five years ago, it was relatively easy to grasp the basic concept of ranking high on Google search results for certain terms (keywords)- A page which contained the term on different places (title, headlines, content) and many other sites were linking to it with the term as the link’s anchor text would have probably rank well for that term.
Nowadays, it’s hardly the case anymore.
More smart signals, indicators and classifiers have been added and been improved over time in order to surface the most quality pages while filtering the poor ones. Just over the past year and a half or so, Google’s algorithm has been changed almost unrecognizably with the roll out of the Panda and Penguin updates which are yet far from being fully comprehensible.
Today, Google takes under consideration so many factors (Google occasionally stating there are over 300) when generating the search results like the quality of the content on pages and how authoritative in general are the sites (by using the Panda) and which are the linking websites, anchor text variations and the difference between good or bad links (by using the Penguin).
And with so many different factors in place, it is also harder to manipulate the algorithm to rank high by using dubious “black-hat” promotion tactics. From time to time I’m still finding on forums and social networks some of those site owners which used to receive a lot of traffic from Google by using manipulative ways, crying out that they’ve lost all of their rankings and that “Google is broken”.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there’s still spam infiltrating to the top search results and at times some good quality sites mistakenly being hit by Panda, Penguin or another virtual creature. Google has a long way before it will be perfect, if such thing is even possible on the ever-changing internet.
But with dozens of millions active websites and hundreds of billions pages available on the web, it appears that on the vast majority of cases Google manages to do it right. How else can you explain about 80% of the global search engine market share?
Google, from its side, is more open than ever about the search engine, its functionality and inner changes- For starters, every month Google publishing a list of the recent monthly algorithm changes in details and post every now and then a new video about SEO on Google Webmasters YouTube Channel.
In addition, since Google launched its social networking service Google+ on June 2011, the company’s representatives are much easier to reach and to communicate with. Many of them are also active on Twitter by the way, but NOT on Facebook.
For those of you who seek an advice on how to rank well on Google in these uncertain times, the best advice I can give (although it’s probably pretty corny) is to build the best site as you can FOR PEOPLE! Don’t worry about Google, if your site is indeed good enough, eventually it will fall in line as well.