TAMPA, FLORIDA— Our team of SEO consultants is researching changes to Google’s search algorithm that appear to have taken place in recent weeks.
While these changes adversely affected several of our clients’ appearance in organic search results for a short time, we feel confident that our SEO techniques continue to be viewed by Google as sound, because the lost rankings quickly were regained.
A drop in a client’s organic search ranking isn’t something we enjoy sharing, but we do so because it sheds light on three important facts to keep in mind:
1. We monitor our clients’ websites closely and are cognizant of even minor fluctuations. When we notice adverse changes, we work to fix them quickly.
2. Google changes its algorithm constantly and even the best SEO company isn’t capable of predicting when those changes take place and guarding clients from those changes.
3. These constant changes keep us on our toes and drive us to make sure we constantly employ the best SEO techniques for clients.
“We noticed the drops in rankings of some of our clients in the past several weeks and we began looking into the issue immediately,” says Millionairium CEO Ali Husayni. “We updated our clients as we learned more.”
After Google announced on April 24 that it had updated its search algorithm (Penguin), several of our clients experienced a drop in ranking and traffic, says Saeed Khosravi, Millionairium’s operations manager. It marked the first time in our company’s recent history that a Google algorithm update had negatively affected our clients’ rankings.
Millionairium wasn’t the only Internet marketing and SEO firm that noticed changes as a result of the updates. Chris Ratchford, an SEO consultant with Prodentite, a Charlotte-based dental marketing firm, noticed ranking changes among some of his clients. But he isn’t worried.
“I don’t have a cause for concern right now,” Ratchford says. “It’s just something to be mindful of.”
He believes clients with geographical keywords are affected less than non-geotargeted keywords. For example, there are only so many Charlotte dentists, so there is a finite amount of businesses competing for similar keywords. Expand the competition globally to keywords such as “Invisalign” or “cosmetic dentist” and it’s easy to see how competing sites’ rankings could be more drastically affected.
“I haven’t seen a great deal of change, but some clients dropped a couple spots since February,” says Ratchford. “These algorithmic updates shouldn’t be viewed as a penalty; it’s more of an adjustment, from what I’ve been able to gather.”
These changes drive home- yet again- the importance of developing fresh content.
“It’s never a good strategy to just sit there and let things happen,” Ratchford says. “For clients who’ve been affected by this latest update, this is a good opportunity to identify what’s going on in their businesses and write about it on their website’s blog.”
Matt Cutts with Google’s anti-spam team explained recently that Google has rolled back some of its spam filters, particularly the one that once gigged websites for having URLs with long-tail keywords in them. Here’s an example:
Earlier this year, a website with a URL such as “bostoninvisiblebracesprovider.com” likely would have been punished by Google in terms of organic search results if that site wasn’t a site truly dedicated to providing invisible braces treatment and didn’t have lots of original content related to this topic.
In cities where low-quality sites such as this existed and we had clients competing for optimum organic search results for a keyword such as “Boston invisible braces provider,” our clients’ websites tended to rank higher.
But this latest change to Google Penguin appears to allow sites with this type of URL to rank high once again.
The experts over at WebProNews report that Google made another 39 algorithm changes in May. Among those changes, Google claimed it made “a couple minor tweaks to improve signals and refresh the data used by the Penguin algorithm.”
Google also said it has “algorithms in place designed to detect a variety of link schemes, a common spam technique. This change ensures we’re using those signals appropriately in the rest of our ranking,” according to a WebProNews article by Chris Crum.
“But some of our clients’ sites that had used “shady” link-building techniques in the past are now ranking better,” Husayni explains. “So, we’re not sure if this new round of algorithm updates truly changes the search results for the better.”
It appears that for the first time, Google has punished white-hat SEO companies by removing some of its anti-spam filters. But we won’t draw any conclusions until we further investigate this new round of updates.