GOOGLE RANKINGS: ARE THEY WORTH WORRYING ABOUT? – According to some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts Google has recently updated their algorithms once again in the pursuit to fill its index with only unique and quality content.
Do you know I can’t stand coriander; even the smell of it makes me want to vomit and I see no use for it in any cookery dish. On that basis does that give me the right to prevent others from enjoying coriander? No of course not and even to suggest such a move would label me a fascist.
So what gives Google the right to continuously update its algorithms that supposedly determines what does and does not constitute quality and useful content? The obvious answer comes down to the fact that Google is under no obligation to index any webpage; although if it didn’t it would render it search engine unusable.
Every SEO expert I’ve spoken to bangs on about High Quality and Unique Content; that is content that others will find useful and content that is not simply copied from other websites.
This information is clearly provided on Google Webmaster Central along with other helpful tips that will allow you to get your webpage’s indexed and ranked in Google search.
Creating ‘unique content’ is easy enough – you simply have to write it yourself and if you employ others, especially contract writers, ensure that the content is not simply copied from other sources.
Creating ‘quality content’ on the other hand is a little more difficult. How do you actually determine if the content you create is of sufficient ‘quality’? Now you might be thinking this is a pretty ambiguous area but in fact it’s crystal clear.
When you first start off it’s difficult to gauge how your audience will react to what you produce. The first year is more ‘trial and error’ than anything else. You will of course have a target audience but knowing what they want takes time.
Once you finally get to know your audience and attract regular visitors they will determine what ‘quality’ content is by sharing what you produce. If nobody shares what you have produced you’ll soon discover you are on the wrong track and will have to change tactics if you want to survive.
Google relies on ‘social’ signals and the links it creates to your website. These very signals led to a boom in back-linking a couple of years back but Google soon cottoned onto the fact that he back-links were not being developed organically or naturally but rather web owners were simply buying them by the thousands.
Google took a very dim view of this and created a number of algorithms, such as Panda and Penguin in order to combat this practice.
Google now reports that it is able to detect whether a sites back-link growth is organic or artificial and will therefore penalize any website it suspects of engaging in the practice creating back-links in an unnatural way.
From Google’s position it argues that their search users are paramount to their success and if it didn’t take measures to restrict unethical practices of ‘gaming’ the system then the quality of its search results would drop and therefore destroy its loyal user base.
That is, for many, a fair comment; we all want to protect our businesses and we all should want to produce content that our users want.
Meebal.com is only a minnow in the pond of the web. Well to be honest it’s more like the bacteria on the pond lining. In other words it’s a small start-up and all start-ups have to, well, start somewhere.
I write quite a lot of content for Meebal.com; on average about five articles a day – trust me that’s a lot for one person; try writing yourself and you’ll soon find out. Regardless of how much I write the amount of traffic I currently get from Google wouldn’t be enough people to fill a small restaurant but what I do find rather irritating is that fact that the amount of traffic has violent swings.
I started off the month with about 170 people a day but now at the halfway mark in the month this has dropped off to about 30 people a day. That’s a massive drop of approximately 83% and you have to wonder why?
It can’t be down to the ‘uniqueness’ because I write it personally; along with everything else, so I can only deduce that it’s the ‘quality’.
Well that’s a real bummer because I honestly think my articles are pretty damn good and I certainly put in a fair amount of effort. Yes, there are the odd spelling mistakes and even though I run my articles through a spellchecker and grammar checker errors still appear. I do try my best to proof-read what I write but proof-reading your own work it extremely difficult.
Feeling more than a little deflated I thought I’d go back over my last 10 articles or so and see whether people are actually sharing my articles. The results were surprising – although I get very little in the way of visitors it does appear they like what I produce because they are sharing the content on their social networks.
So what’s the problem? Why have I lost, without warning, 83% of my organic traffic? I looked at some of the ‘traffic signals’ that Google look at in order to determine ranking; such as Time on Site, Page Views and Bounce Rate, all of which were very healthy – for instance the Bounce Rate is less than 5%.
This is not my first rodeo and I am beginning to think that it is time I finally dumped Google as a source of traffic. I’m not talking about blocking Google from crawling or indexing my pages but rather simply ignoring them and concentrate on the Social Networks; which is where 78.83% of my visitors currently come from.
While I appreciate Google wants to deliver relevant results to its users I take offense when it manipulates its own algorithms, or by-passes them altogether, for the commercial gain of its other services such as Google News or YouTube.
Google has always said that it likes to see content on a page; that is text and lots of it, but a YouTube page consists of little text and the Google’s algorithms are unable to determine what a video consists of and yet you can almost type in anything in Google search and the first few results are taken up firstly with a bank of Google Ads followed by YouTube in the organic search results.
The conclusion is that webmasters are getting the short end of the stick. Google is forcing us to dance to their tune and while we work away Google is slipping in its own services through the back door.
Google search has become communistic – do as we tell you or else. Whilst it continues to dictate to webmasters it is refuses to follow its own rule and delivers its own content that is often irrelevant, low quality and copied content. It was only recently that two major newspapers in Europe told Google to stop scraping their content for their own commercial gain with Google News.
Manipulating the search engine rankings is also something Google has been accused of and whilst the U.S Department of Justice returned a verdict of ‘not guilty’ the European Commission a year later returned a verdict of ‘guilty’. This verdict led Google to put its hands up and admitted to its manipulation practices and has vowed to cease the activity in order to avoid heavy financial penalties.
I have to admit I’m more than a little peeved at the results I’m experiencing as it does appear that meebal.com is being penalized but there is no way, for me at least, of actually determining this and if there is no such penalty why would traffic drop by 83%.
The conclusions I have come to is to stop worrying about my Google rankings and concentrate on the continuation of producing the content my readers love. In turn they will share my articles and I will continue to gain a wider readership as the word spreads across the social networks.
Are you having problems with your Google Rankings? Have your say… leave your comments below, or contact us and we’ll publish your story.