Thursday, July 17, 2008

Google's recent SERP rotations - What's going on ??

The topic has been kicking around the SEO forums for over a week.

Google's organic search results have been changing.  Not once or twice but many times over the past 2 weeks.  Not little changes ... Some are BIG changes.

Websites and blogs that have enjoyed number 1 or 2 positions for years are seeing their positions challenged (and a few are getting a little loud ?!).

I remember once seeing a classified ad on Craigslist for an in-house SEO.  It read "must be able to reverse engineer Google ranking algorithm".  I, for one, want to me that guy (or gal)!

Two reports in the past week have shown Google's market share (in search) getting even bigger.  One showed 69 per cent and the other 75 per cent. There's no other way to describe it.  If they're right, that's huge.

Google is getting faster and smarter.  Back in January, I pointed to hyper-indexing of some blogs (including this one).  Yes, if you search the right phrase, you'll probably find this piece has already been indexed by Google's Blog Search in about 10 minutes (or less).  I have my guesses as to why this continues.  That's all ... They're guesses.

I have no relatives or 'best buddies' at Google.  Although you may have caught a Twitter exchange between Matt Cutts and I, or spotted a comment or two from me on his blog ... we have never met, hung out, had drinks .... and I certainly don't maintain anywhere near the same relationship that he has developed with many others in the SEO space over the years.  In fact, the only thing that Matt and I have in common is that my cats do this too ?!

There was a time when Google adjusted the entire index at the same time.  It was known affectionately as the 'Google Dance' and SEO's watched it VERY closely, along with PageRank (Back then, Cutts was 'in the shadows' on the forums calling himself 'GoogleGuy' :).  I used to call SEO 'playing chess with Google'.  It was an interesting and fun challenge but nobody had the magic formula.

A few years ago, the 'dance' changed and began to rotate different spaces and geographical areas at unexpected times, and then settle within a few days.  PageRank appeared to become a less integral part of the overall ranking process.

Google's claim to fame is search.  At least for now.  They need to stay ahead of the curve and that's exactly what we're seeing.

While there have been a few missteps in the algorithm in the past, this doesn't appear to be a 'test'.  Google is changing. 

In the past two weeks, an incredible amount of information was released by Google on their search methods, both on the Official Google Blog, Cutts' blog, and elsewhere.  Did you read it?  It was all leading up to (and trying to get everyone on board before) this.

Think of it as "Help us a little ... and we'll help you".  Some discounted it.  Some didn't.  Too late??

An organic position (if you belong there) is worth a LOT of money with Google's market share.  Don't take it for granted.  Head over to Webmaster Central and take a look at where YOU are.  The tools you need are all right there.