Edinburgh Web Development

Google churns

by Iain Wilson

14 May 2008

Have you been monitoring your Google ranking lately?

It's been pretty interesting. Google have apparently been doing a public website Page Rank update. In the old days, that used to be a big deal, but recently no-one seems to think it counts for much because the PR bar on your Google Toolbar is:

  1. out of date and
  2. doesn't necessarily reflect what Google really knows about your inbound links.

However, we've noticed that in the last three weeks or so, rankings on the SERPS for many of our web sites have been up and down like the proverbial fiddler's elbow.

To give an example, one site who have been at around #7 on Google page 1 for their preferred keywords for the last 12 months, suddenly fell to #18 for a full week. No big deal you might say, but page 2 on Google instead of page 1 makes a big difference to visitor numbers and therefore conversions, especially after at least a year on the first page

After a week though, they were back on the first page, but this time at #3. Great! Five days later, though they slipped back to page two at #19. Two days on page two then back to page one, this time at #2.

What's going on? Well, this is a little unusual. Google updates its rankings all the time - there is no big update nowadays. To have this amount of churn is different from normal. However, Google are always changing something and the Golden Rule - good content, good inbound links - still holds true.

As John Cavanagh, from Edinburgh SEO specialists Com.Motion has told his clients "don't worry about these Google changes, as your long term SEO strategy should remain the same. Websites that have good content and quality, relevant inbound links will always rank more highly. Your long-term SEO strategy should not change based on a few Google tweaks."

It's likely everything will calm down in time and balance will be restored. However, it is also good advice not to put all your marketing eggs in the Google basket. Make sure you have other marketing activities going on, so when the Google tweaks occur, you have at least some protection.

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