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Google - Update Florida
The Google Fiasco
In what has been called "Update Florida" many website owners have felt they have been hit by Hurricane Andrew. Left in Florida's wake was wave of destruction for many businesses that were relying on their strong Google rankings for their business.
While there has been much speculation as to what occurred and why, it must be understood that search engine ranking is a science, not an art. There is no room for speculation in science, just as there is no room for it in determining new algorithms.
Our research shows that 71% of top ten listings are different from what they were pre-Florida. In our seven years in the industry, we have never seen a bigger change in a major search engine algorithm.
At first glance, two things were apparent: Google removed sites that were guilty of Spam and they removed the "affiliate clutter" - that is, essentially the same page replicated on different domains.
Google was very easy to understand and know how to optimize your site for. In short, what you needed to know was:
- Place your keyword in the Title tag
- Anchor text (inbound text link) containing the keyword phrase; and
- Adequate PageRank to compete with other sites
What Google didn't expect was the rampant "linking exchanging" between websites, which was far different from the traditional citation concept. Google's citation model was one where a site gives a reference back to where the information was gathered, very similar to a list of citations in a research paper. They did not expect the "link exchange" to take place.
So Google implemented a new algorithm and also a new filter as well. The filter would work after the algorithm to strip out any offending pages. The results are what we have today. The filter is not always placed on a search; however, we have found that the filter is only placed on keyword phrases that are searched on often.
In your link popularity strategy, you went after a particular keyword phrase and included that in your anchor text coming back to your site. Doing so pre-Florida gave your site top ranking. Post-Florida, your site was filtered out and probably doesn't show up in the top 500 of the results.
Sites that have a keyword density that is greater than 2.5% were highly likely to be hit with the filter.
What You Should Do: Ensure that no more than 40% of your anchor text of your incoming text links contain the exact keyword phrase you are targeting. Google will also count the text NEAR the link, so keep that in mind when writing out your Title and Description for your links. You should have a keyword density of between 0.6% - 2.5%.
"On-Page Factors" More Important
Over the years, link popularity and link reputation were key ingredients to getting you a top ranking in Google. Now, Google has placed more of an emphasis on on-page factors.
The only consistency in the search engines is that there is change.
Jerry West is the Director of Internet Marketing for Web Marketing Now. He has been consulting on the web since 1996 and has assisted hundreds of companies gain an upper-hand over their competition. Visit Web Marketing Now for the latest in marketing tips that are tested and proven.
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