The Google Dance


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If you don’t read a lot of search engine trade publications you may not know about the “Google Dance.” This is the name given to the monthly shake up of today’s most important search engine.

(It’s Google, in case you were wondering.)

During this dance Google fiddles with the algorithm that determines a Web page’s relevancy for a given search, which often alters a page’s ranking. Every month there’s a certain amount of grumbling by those site owners who were on page one and now aren’t. (Oddly, there’s little complaining from those who find themselves higher in the standings.)

This past month the complaining was especially loud. Many heavily optimized sites no longer appeared on the first page, or even in the first dozen. Conspiracy theories flew: Google wants to generate more income from its paid advertising program…Google is punishing sites that are professionally optimized…Google engineered the collapse of the Red Sox in the post-season…

Why Does Google Regularly Change Its Algorithm?

Google’s strongest asset is its search results. If sites rank higher by taking advantage of optimization schemes without providing quality content they reduce the quality of Google’s search.

If people continually receive poor search results from Google they’ll go somewhere else.

By tweaking the algorithm it’s more difficult for sites to take unfair advantage of the system. My guess is that Google would prefer site owners to concentrate on providing good content, rather than good optimization.

What Should I Do?

For the time being…not much. Some of the skewed results may be temporary as Google continues to adjust its algorithm. Don’t try to overcompensate. For our clients, and for any site owner with long-term goals, continue to provide unique, quality content for your visitors.

You should run a keyword analysis to get a better understanding of how your target audience thinks and searches. You should be optimizing your site. You should be writing tips, articles and how-to’s based on your research and posting this content to your site. If you need immediate traffic or you feel you must appear on page one of a search you should budget for online advertising like Google Adwords or Overture.

Consider this to be a market “correction.” Take the long-term view and avoid the quick fix.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, please contact us.

–Rich Brooks

President, flyte new media