Google's New SEO Rules in Early 2005
By John Metzler
Google has recently made some pretty significant
changes in its ranking algorithm. The latest update, dubbed by Google
forum users as "Allegra", has left some web sites in the
dust and catapulted others to top positions. Major updates like
this can happen a few times a year at Google, which is why picking
the right search
engine optimization company can be the difference between online
success and failure. However, it becomes an increasingly difficult
decision when SEO firms themselves are suffering from the Allegra
Over-optimization may have played the biggest
part in the dropping of seo-guy.com from #1 to a sub-50 Google ranking.
Filtering out web sites that have had readability sacrificed for
optimization is a growing trend at Google. It started with the Sandbox
Effect in late 2004, where relatively new sites were not being seen
at all in the Google results even with optimized content and incoming
links. Many thought it was a deliberate effort by Google to penalize
sites that had SEO work done. It's a few months later and we see
many of the 'sandboxed' web sites finally appearing well for their
With 44 occurrences of 'SEO' on the relatively
short home page of seo-guy.com, and many of them in close proximity
to each other, the content reads like a page designed for search
engine robots, not the visitor. This ranking shift should come as
no surprise to SEO professionals as people have been saying it for
years now: Sites should be designed for visitors, not search engine
robots. Alas, some of us don't listen and this is what happens when
search engines finally make their move.
One aspect of search engine optimization that
is also affected in a roundabout way is link popularity development.
After observing the effects of strictly relevant link exchanges
on many of our client's sites recently, we've noticed incredibly
fast #1 rankings on Google. It seems Google may be on the lookout
for links pages designed for the sole purpose of raising link popularity
and devalues the relevance of the site. After all, if a links page
on a real estate site has 100 outgoing links to pharmacy sites,
there has to be a lot of content on that page completely unrelated
to real estate. Not until now has that been so detrimental to a
site's overall relevance to search terms. It goes back to the old
rule of thumb: Make your visitors the top priority. Create a resources
page that actually contains useful links for your site users. If
you need to do reciprocal linking, keep it relevant and work those
sites in with other good resources.
Keeping up with the online search world can be
overwhelming for the average small business owner or corporate marketing
department. Constant Google changes, MSN coming on the scene in
a big way, and all the hype around the new Become.com shopping search
function can make heads spin. But just keep things simple and follow
the main rules that have been around for years. Google, as well
as other search engines, won't ever be able to ignore informative,
well written content along with good quality votes from other web
An expert at organic SEO, John Metzler has held executive positions in SEO firms since 2001. He offers ethical search engine optimization services at FreshPromo.ca.
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Other SEO articles:
:: Why Optimize Your Site for Search Engines?
:: Google's New SEO Rules
:: What Constitutes a Complete and Effective SEO Campaign?
:: Keeping Your Website Content Relevant
:: Getting Back To SEO Basics
:: Google PageRank: Not Worth The Worry
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