Articles in the Algorithm Updates & News Category

If you depend on Organic website traffic for new and returning business, it’s important to understand the effects that search engine algorithm updates can have on your web traffic. Usually run to prevent search spam and improve the SERPs, search engine algorithm updates can be confusing for web masters and interactive marketers. Learn about the latest algorithm updates and what they mean for your website.

November 12 2007

Lower PageRank: Not as big a Problem as You Think

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Lower PageRank has been a hot topic in SEO forums and blogs over the last couple of weeks. Many highly regarded sites experienced drops in PageRank and in some cases, the drops are significant as reported on SearchEngineLand last week. Complaints about lower quality search results have sent Google back to the algorithm in a real battle with spam sites and others who would take over all the top search spots and lower PageRank for some is the result. The prime targets of Google’s efforts have been directories, blogs and other advertisers that are providing links for money.

Along with falling PageRank have come reports of significant drops in the rankings for some sites. Interestingly, there is not a clear one-to-one relationship between lower PageRank and falling search engine results rankings suggesting that Google is discounting the value of PageRank in their algorithm.

This comes as no surprise to some who claim that PageRank has actually been devalued for some time now in favor of Trust Rank — a method of evaluating links based less on quantity of links and more on quality of links. In particular, paid links from directories and blogs are expected to become less valuable to search rankings in the coming months.

So, why am I not worried? Because any good link strategy will cultivate inbound links with the idea of getting traffic – not just ranking – and because ultimately, content is still king. As search engine algorithms improve the quality of results, a well-designed site with good quality content will always rise to the top.

October 25 2007

Content Optimization for Localized Web Sites

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As more corporate and big-business sites are optimized nationally, many smaller localized companies are left asking… but what about me? It is just as important for small businesses to optimize their web sites as it is for any company. With more potential customers searching online for services, local companies with an online presence have more of a chance to benefit from this client base.

Many local businesses operate under the false presumption that prospective clients are only searching for their contact information. They are forgetting to address why someone would seek their local services in the first place! In addition to your company background and the products and services you provide, supply your visitors with as much helpful information possible. Local sites that offer relevant resources gain credibility with potential customers and that can lead to an increase in business.

However, great content is unique within each industry and business model. Many service-industry sites use common questions from their clients as FAQ pages – and it certainly makes sense to do so! If you can offer answers to their questions before clients even ask, it will help to boost the value of your services. Other resourceful content can include client testimonials, ask-the-expert pages, and links to services complementary to yours.

Remember, your client base is turning to the search engines more than ever to find local services. Company contact information should not be the crux of your site… More beneficial is a site containing both relevant and helpful resources. It is the presence of this useful content on a site that will encourage prospective clients to choose you for their service needs over your competitors.

October 18 2007

Three Rules for Higher Search Rankings

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Without a doubt, the single most important factor in getting a good ranking in search engine results is whether or not the page is included in the search engine indexes. If your page is not in the indexes, then there is absolutely no way ever that it will achieve any kind of ranking in the results pages … not good, not bad, not any.

So, here are the three basic rules for getting indexed with search engines and consequently being well on your way to a top ranking in search engine results:

1. Make your pages easy for robots to find.

  • Build inbound links to the site from other sites that focus on the same search topic.
  • Add sitemaps: Google and Yahoo xml external sitemaps are good but you also need an internal, plain html sitemap linked from every page of your site.
  • Don’t bury your pages. Make every page available within one or two clicks of any other page on the site.
  • If you move, leave a forwarding address. In other words, if you change the name of a file, redirect the old filename to the new one.

2. Make your links easy to find.

3. Make each page unique.

  • Search engines don’t want to display page after page from the same site all talking about the same topic so they will filter out pages their algorithm tells them are duplicate content or even pages from the same site with very similar themes.
  • If each page is distinct, it has a better chance of being included in search engine indexes.
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