I noticed the strangest occurrences today in the SERPS (search engine result pages). It all started last night about 7PM or so, just checking a few rankings, my favorite keyword in fact and I noticed a flip-flop affect on Google, every time you would refresh a new listing would juggle to the listings under the top 5. It seemed stable enough for those who truly had the amount of backlinks to weather the storm, but for all of us using the intext SEO (strictly relying on the power of the page and links pointing at it, in conjunction with the keywords used on the page vs. the title, links, etc.) it was an all out scramble.
After several hours the results for a number of key phrases subsided and before I knew it, my precious listing was gone. I should at least say demoted 12 positions and relegated to the 2nd page (completely unacceptable). I felt like our site had become a doormat, and to say they least they never even bought me a drink, or paused to pay regard, we were completely blind sided, I nearly called 911. Upon querying the key phrase in ” ” for an exact match, my site was still there in the top 10, yet on the page without quotes it was #18 instead of 6 or 7 “Hmmmm”, something smells fishy. With so many scraper sites out there stealing content, I may have to take a few phrases from the page use the ” quotes “, and see if someone out there is stealing our thunder and our rankings.
This immediately changed the course of events for the evening and instead of just being able to relax and enjoy a movie, eating diner or spending quality time away from the screen, instead all I could think about was if:
a) I was penalized
b) if there was an algorithm change, and if so how to research it to prepare for the next wave of ranking fluctuations.
c) the page rank update is just stirring things up a bit? (quite possible, in which case thing will settle again soon)
At this point, it is better not to jump the gun, but just for the sake or argument, I did so happen to analyze every new URL that popped in place of ours and determined that greater emphasis (at least in this case) is being focused on the intitle pages (pages that have the actual keyword in the title, description and on the page).
Although it seem irreverent, slight adjustments such as this are what define your perception and ability to act in a timely fashion to perform rescue maneuvers on a page which is drowning from either lack of attention, an update to algorithms, competition for the keyword or any other type of action reaction based phenomenon that leaves a trail.
In the meantime, some healthy link building to the page, a revision to the meta tags, a few more anchors with the keyword in question later, it is now time to play the proverbial waiting game that so many SEO’s engage as the indexing processing takes the changes into consideration and adjusts the position and relevance of your site and it’s respective pages.
On the bright side, other pages miraculously skyrocketed to the top of the SERPS (disappeared and then reappeared), on the merit of the description alone, so it seems at this juncture that there may be some testing that may shake the very foundation of predictability we have all become so familiar with.
1. Since the Big Daddy Update, new pages are given precedence over older pages, despite their page rank. *Great for people tweaking their pages, very bad for those who got too comfortable at the top.
2. All you need are links with the anchors locked and loaded to bring pages up through the SERPS. *This still stands to reason, but I think that Google may be handing out the pimp smack to anyone trying to game links or grow too fast, as opposed to just months ago.
3. All it takes is a high page rank to get great rankings. *We all know that that theory is now debunked, it seems that the new criteria, is something else. What that something else is, will require time and investigation, however in the meantime, I suspect many SEO companies are going to have their hands full preserving rankings for their clients if they used a standardized method for optimization.
All this of course is just speculation, but it is through this type of investigation that one finds solutions to common dilemmas and leads the way after an algorithm update with new and exciting optimization strategies.
There are definitely ups and downs, but it’s truly about knowing how to bounce back and reclaim or defend your search position in the first place that makes us all more adept at our optimization skills and as always, we are up for the challenge. I suspect as this point there will be a follow up post when all is well in the land of Seo Design Solutions when we oust the imposter’s from the top 10 for our prized key phrase, until then we have to keep it under wraps, so, Stay tuned…