I usually run a search engine measurement tool once a day for Basecamp Productions … just to see where my key words stand compared to those of other businesses. I do this for each of my clients’ sites as well. But, thanks to a couple of weeks in California and some computer glitches, I hadn’t run my measurement software in nearly three weeks.
To set the scene a bit … I had once been on page 1 of Google for all of my search terms. Then something happened. Who knows what. My listings began to slip, maybe a year or so ago.
Since then, I’ve added a blog, continually freshened my content, tweaked my key words, linked to good sites (and good sites have linked to mine), and, in short, done every web-legal thing to make sure my web site was found by those looking for items such as “video production companies,” “web designers,” and so forth.
Some of my pages were not only not increasing in popularity, but were decreasing, sometimes dramatically. I could not figure it out.
To top it off, I do search engine optimization as part of my living. It felt downright awkward, even embarrassing. I told myself that the cobbler’s children always need new shoes. But I didn’t believe it … I thought there was something I was missing.
But it goes to show you that Google works in strange and mysterious — and in this case wonderful — ways.
This morning I checked my status for “video production companies,” “video producers,” and “web designers.” (I have a lot more key words for my marketing company, but these are especially important to my business.) I not only came up on the first page for each search, but sometimes TWO pages from my site are represented on a search.
I believe, judging from the pages listed, that Google performed a deep crawl of my site on February 14th. No one knows how often, or even when, these deep crawls are performed for any particular site. But we do believe they happen more often for sites that Googles ranks as important: those that freshen their content, offer new information, and are perceived as popular (with a large number of inbound links and/or visitors).
Plus, I found out that Google has fine-tuned its search algorithm once again. In the past year, a search for “web designers” often turned up several web sites on Google’s first page for non-web design companies whose designers had placed a web design “signature” at the bottom of the page or just mentioned web design in passing. This appears to be happening less. In other words, the searches appear to be yielding more appropriate information and are therefore more helpful to people looking for web design services. Yay.
Note after the fact: Some web searches eventually revealed that February 2011’s algorithm update was the largest algorithm change in Google history. The intent was to get rid of content farms, web sites that attempt to attract an audience using the most-searched terms of the day. (See CNNMoney, SearchEngineLand, and Kishore.)
This new algorithm is designed to push good content up, and shallow or poor content down.
In the meantime, it also (righteously) placed me above many competitors.
Thank you, Google!