Every six months or so Google changes some aspect of how they rank sites. Last summer it was called Google Caffeine – because the goal (or so we assume) was to pick up stories more quickly. In other words, they wanted to be able to rank news and events in real time. (Possibly to keep up with Twitter.) So after last summer, I really emphasized regular changes on the homepage and faster download speeds. http://byteoftheweek.com/2010/08/12/google-caffeine-dinner-for-tcdp/
They made some more changes recently. (I’ve heard this change called Google Panda.) The goal this time (we assume) was to downgrade junky sites – or sites that just seem to rerun syndicated information and ads. I want to be clear and say that Google doesn’t have a problem with people who buy ads – but with people who run too many of them on their sites. Google sells ads – or it seems strange to penalize folks who run the ads, but Google was always clear that only so many ads per page are acceptable. So how are they tracking this? It seems as if Google has added people to the equation. They have been having human indexers out there making some judgments. I suspect most people won’t notice much of a change in their ranking but it’s good to be aware of the fact that they are looking at syndicated article and ads.
I often think these changes are like fashion. Good to be aware of what’s happening – but few of us will be slaves to the changes. The folks who are slaves to the changes run the greatest risk of falling out of fashion – while the rest of us can forge ahead on a steadier course of just looking good