There’s been a lot of talk about algorithm changes over the last few weeks. Specifically in mid-October there seemed to be a big change, as many peoples page rankings changed.
Firstly, let me start by pointing out that Google is constantly changing and tweaking its’ algorithm. Often these tweaks are made daily (or more often!) but they don’t usually warrant a discussion because they aren’t big enough to be noticeable for most people.
The reason for these tweaks? To create the most relevant results possible for people who use the search engine. Google is always trying to figure out a way for their algorithm to provide better and more relevant results for users.
For web developers and site owners, this tweaking means constant updating to get the best page ranking possible. Higher ranking means you get more of the 3 billion internet users to visit your page and become aware of your brand/service/product.
Now the current changes don’t seem to be major. Most people have seen some noticeable variation either for their site or in their area, but it’s only the minority of sites which have suffered a big knock. Again there’s no solid reason why these sites have taken a hit, though looking for common features between them may give some insight to the algorithm changes.
What to Do
It’s difficult to explain exactly what changed because Google hasn’t made any announcements, and of course we can’t see the algorithm itself to figure out what the changes were. So what do we do to get our ranking back? The best answer is just to focus on content.
The algorithm exists to give people better and more appropriate results. This is why the tweaks happen, to make results more relevant for the searcher. Thanks to this, you can be sure that working on improving your site and the content on it will be helpful to you. We already all know about keywords and SEO, but people who try to exploit these systems for rankings are usually those who suffer most when an update drops.
Of course there are many, many sites out there which would take ages to grow using purely organic methods. This is why we know about keywords, using friendly layouts and the use of certain phrases to attract viewers. Beyond that it’s best to use an organic process to create your rankings though. What I mean here is that you should think about the type of visitor your site is aiming to attract and create content for them. Answer their questions, create pages for the search terms they’re likely to use, and give them content which is useful and high quality. Having people actually click on your site from Google will always be seen as a positive by the algorithm, as proof that your page is relevant even.
A visitor who stays on your site is also going to be more valuable than one who immediately exits. Leaving fast is the type of behavior which a search engine might treat unfavorably too, making relevant content valuable (again).