Position Research Blog
You may already know that backlinks, on-page content, and social signals are the three most important factors that Google uses to rank pages. However, Google's ever-evolving algorithm now includes over 200 ranking signals. While most of these don't have a significant impact on your site's search engine visibility, many do. And a more "holistic" understanding of Google's algorithm can help you execute more effective SEO campaigns. Here is a brief overview of the current Google algorithm as we know it, organized into 10 main categories. (Note: this guide is a summarized version of a post from Backlink0).
This is one of those years that Google's search engine development team has been very active. Most notable is Google's Panda and Penguin updates.
Panda is the name of the Google engineer (Dr. Navneet Panda) who pioneered a method to determine website quality on a scale that could be applied across the hundreds of millions of website pages in Google's index. Since Dr. Panda's work is founded in correlation, it is believed that his processes found signals that correlated well to website pages that Google's Quality team had manually deemed "Useful".
Google Introduces Backlink Disavow Tool
On the 16th of October 2012, Google announced the introduction of their new backlink disavow tool. Google's official announcement is here: http://goo.gl/7pSuz.
The formal announcement post includes a video from Matt Cutts containing some interesting insights on Google's inner workings. Matt explains that adding URLs to the disavow tool will not instantly disassociate backlinks. Instead, Matt stated that the process would "take time" suggesting that only when Google re-crawls the backlink pages would it impose a virtual rel="nofollow" attribute.
Lessons Learned - Ecommerce Websites and Google's Panda Algo
While much has been written about Google's Panda algorithm, Google continues to invest time and energy into refining its Panda ranking signals.
Panda is the name given to one of Google's most important algorithms in the last few years. Its purpose is to detect website page quality and uniqueness in a manner that resembles their human quality team. The name "Panda" comes from the inventing engineer's last name – an esteemed mathematician that invented methods of finding correlation signals in large databases. For more information on Dr. Navneet Panda, follow this link: http://alumni.cs.ucsb.edu/~panda/.
Since March, Google has introduced 9 more Panda Algorithm updates. The latest one was Panda 3.9.2 (dated September 18, 2012).
In most cases, ecommerce websites continue to suffer. Perhaps this is just what Google wants – more ecommerce websites moving toward PPC. Yet some sites have reported recovery. It is these recovery stories that help us understand elements of what Panda is looking for.
- Panda 3.3 (Announce Feb 27, 2012) - Approximately 6 months ago.
- Penguin Filter (Announce April 24, 2012) - Approximately 4 months ago.
- Google Ranking Fluctuation Climbs
- No word from Google about a “disavow” tool
- 2+ month Google Reconsideration Request backlog
- Incidental Google Updates and Announcements
- DMCA Penalty
- Top 10 Rankings now Top 7
- Panda 3.9.1 data update
Google Struggles To Get Message Right
On July, 20 2012, Google sent out more Web Master notices to about 20,000 accounts. Those who received this message saw:
This is the same notice that was sent in March and Webmasters knew this meant a forthcoming Penalty/Filter.
Just one day later on July 21st, Matt Cutts stepped in and clarified the notice with a Google+ posting here
Google Ranking Noise Increases
During the first part of July, Google rankings seemed to have settled down. But now, that story seems to be changes. We have seen a considerable increase in Google ranking noise within hte past week. Click the thumbnail image for a larger view.
So say an increase in ranking noise is the precursor for a Google update. Others say an increase in ranking noise is an indicator of new ranking data. Whether an update is on its way or Google is just going through a normal ranking adjustment period, Position Research's daily ranking reports gives us a better view.
Re-Inclusion? .... Or NOT!
If your website was hit by a Google ranking “Penalty” or “Filter”, there are several possible courses of action.
There is a still a lot of debate in the SEO community whether it is better to file a Google re-inclusion request or wait out a ranking penalty. The right course of action depends largely on two factors:
- What kind of penalty a website might have and
- How long the penalty period might last.
Google Goes Greedy
Remember the days when Google’s primary product was a great organic search engine. Most of us were drawn to Google for 2 reasons:
- They were free
- They were good
And these 2 characteristics earned Google a 65+% market share.
- Panda/Penguin Google-Grail
- Panda 3.3 - More Observations
- Post Panda 3.3 Analysis
- Balancing Organic and PPC SEM Strategies
- Social Networking - Part of Your Online Mkgt?
- Google Panda Update Timeline - 2011
- Google beats Bing on CTR Study
- Helpful SEO Resources Pt. 1
- Social Networking and SEO
- SEO FOR BING
- Disabling Google Personalized Search
- Directory/Business Listings
- The Most Important On-Page Factors
- Developing a comprehensive keyword strategy
- Blog - Google Uses Customized Search
- Keyword value in URL MYTH
- Blog - Google Reads Flash
- Blog - Google continues with live testing
- Blog - Search Engine Weather Report