I was talking this morning with a client who had gotten some contradictory advice from a competitor concerning what’s good and what’s bad when it comes to SEO. It’s funny. There is no single answer as to what’s right and what’s wrong. Talk to ten SEO experts and you’ll probably get 10 different opinions. In fact, every year, there’s a survey of some of the biggest names in the SEO industry where they rank what they believe are the most important factors determining a websites ranking on Google. I’m always surprised at how little continuity there is in their answers. The survey even ranks the answers based on how many people agreed on a specific point. Even these gurus don’t know for sure. But, how can you know when the target is always moving? You can’t…until Google publishes their algorithm. There is evidence that they favor certain criteria when ranking a site, but there’s no one that can tell you for certain, unless you can get a job at Google.
So how do we rank our clients’ sites if we don’t know what the important criteria are? It’s been a 10-year experiment. Every year we get closer to knowing the answers. Unfortunately, as soon as we think we’ve got it all figured out, Google shakes things up and introduces a new algorithm so they can stay one step ahead. Their past updates have been designed to provide the most relevant results, and to keep people from cheating their way into the listings. Right now, Google is going through one of those once-every-couple-years-updates. It’s called Google Caffeine. It’s designed to provide better results based on real-time indexing. That means that Google is hoping to add your site updates the second you upload them. Sounds great, right? Yeah, unless the shift means that your site is dropping in their results. It’s happening to millions of sites right now. And it’s potentially changing on a daily basis. One day you may see your site ranked at the top of their results, and then the next day, it may be on page 8.
No doubt it can be frustrating…especially for us, as we’re trying to figure out how to deal with the ever-changing results. For the time being, just hang in there. We have to wait for the dust to settle and once it does, we’ll get after it again and begin the rigorous testing that follows every big update.