You may have noticed that your search engine results placement have moved around a bit recently. I know mine have and so have some of my customers.
Do we have to expect a larger ranking algorithm update? Will this change the ranking of your web pages in Google’s search results?
Here’s an overview of what I’ve noticed and what has been reported by webmasters in forums recently:
- Some established websites that did not spam dropped out of Google’s index early March.
- It seems to take much longer now until new websites get indexed by Google.
- Rather less relevant results have received higher rankings because some relevant pages either dropped out of the index or lost some of their inbound links.
- The Cache data doesn’t seem to be updated.
The site: and inurl: queries on Google that normally fluctuate for large websites now report the same numbers every day.
Changes like these are usually a clear indicator of an upcoming ranking algorithm update.
Is this really a ranking algorithm update?
Google engineer Matt Cutts denied that there are any major changes in the search results and that there was a ranking algorithm update on the way.
However, he wanted to investigate if and why the results change so much.
The observations of the webmasters in the forum might be normal changes that happen all the time. But the webmasters who discovered the changes are very web-savvy and they should be able to distinguish an anomaly from usual fluctuations.
I’ve heard on some of the paid search forums that it has to do with Google implementing more of it’s Latent Semantic Indexing algorithm. This makes sense of what I’ve seen recently and I’m in the process of updating some of my pages to see if that’s the case. If it is I’ll make another post.
Another alterantive is that Google is relying more and more on human reviewers to police the content of it’s index and make adjustments. This then brings a human element to the placement of your web page in the index. Here’s a link to a couple of excerpts of the reviewers guide.
This article states (near the bottom) that G has something like 10,000 human reviewers The plot thickens…