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I truly understand the wish to “fix” whatever you may perceive to be “wrong” as soon as possible, but I would caution you to understand one simple theory. The absolute best way to confuse webmasters or lull them into a false sense of security is to install a lag time between a “fix” and actual search engine results.
Lets just say that I am a Google engineer, completely fed up with webmasters bent on being first in the SERPS for their “keyword” and I am determined to foil every manipulative attempt made to gain position through all the various SEO tactics known to man ... which, after all, are openly frowned upon by my superiors and myself. We don’t WANT our results to be manipulated by anyone but us!
Soooo ... I sit in my office, hour after hour, intent on solving my dilemma ... which is “how do I stop them?”, ... while repetitively and mindlessly throwing an Indian rubber ball against the wall, catching it (almost robotically) by making minor adjustments in my hand movements to ensure I catch it.
After a little while, the path the rubber ball takes becomes intensely boring for me, so I bounce it from one corner of the room across a short distance to the next corner and then back to my hand position. It doesn’t take long until I get that rhythm too and can do it almost robotically as well ... and without even paying a great deal of attention to the the ball!
Suddenly, my problem (and solution) begins to take shape! That silly little Indian rubber ball is the answer! I start finding more complex yet mathematically inevitable paths the ball must travel while still ending up in my hand! I realize that I can bounce that ball off the walls any number of ways and any number of times ... yet I can still make it end up in my hand or very close to my hand!
Now lets apply the same theory to search engine results!
Remember that I am a Google engineer and my job is to stop webmasters and SEO “experts” from manipulating our results. I theorize that if X = nearly perfect results ...or as close to perfect as a robot can get given my incredibly brilliant algorithm and fabulous filters ... then I don’t want to stray too far from “almost perfect results”. How do I do that and still manage to shake off the fleas who are making me scratch every little itch?
I perceive myself as the victim of thousands of serial stalkers (SEO’s/fleas) and in order to go “home” safely, without having to scratch those itches ... I must find a random path which constantly changes but always takes me back to the same “almost perfect results” without fleas/SEO’s on my tail!
Enter rolling updates!
Enter time lags between algo changes
Enter filters used as time bombs and calibrated to go off whenever I wish! Lets say 3 updates after your last change to any given page!
Filter changes I initiate this month will not affect the SERPS for 3 months, or 53 days or 79 days or 26 days ... Whatever I choose! But one filter I decide I want to try out might take affect immediately. After all, I am the guy behind the curtain who throws the swithches. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want!
So you change a page on your site today and as soon as the next update rolls around, you find your page is doing just great ... just as you thought! You scoped it out perfectly! Your number 1! You are bloody brilliant! Google is soooo easy to manipulate!
You make no changes and the site is raking in money for three months ... then it suddenly tanks and the site is listed URL only ... for no “apparent reason”! Google is evil!
The Google engineer sits back, bounces his Indian rubber ball against the wall whilsts gleefully chugging a beer and waiting for the threads at WebmasterWorld start to appear before his very eyes while saying “take that you jackasses!” ... “Think you are smarter than me, do you?” ... “Bwaaaaaahahaha”! :)
My point is that there is no longer any way to know what Google is doing at any given point in time. The ability to initiate random filters and algo changes with a fixed or floating lag time is the perfect solution to keeping SEO types running around in circles ... perpetually.
Their may be absolutely nothing wrong with your site! Leave it be and wait several months before doing anything at all. Update what needs to be updated and leave it alone!
In my opinion, the only solution to these random changes is to do nothing unless you need to for business purposes. Take a hiatus from checking your logs, add as much quality content as you can stand and then go as far as you can in adding content until it makes you want to puke! Write like a normal human being while keeping in mind that robots are dumb and need to be told what you page is about, then cross your fingers and hope for the best.
My belief is that SEO is dead. Content is king ... long live the king!
By the way, a friend of mine stopped over and I’ have to admit to having had more than a “few” drinks ... so take all of the above for what its worth and with a large pinch of salt! I’ve never been known for my drinking stamina! :)
SEO is dead content is king.
Content will always be king but basic SEO will never be dead.
Search Engine Optimization
1. make the site bot freindly - so it can be crawled
2. use structured h tags
3. use text wherever possible - alt attributes - this goes hand in hand with # 1
4. meta tags (see # 1)
Basic SEO will always be important - you can have the best content in the world but if a bot can't reach it or make sense out of it then your dead in the water.
when you start talking about more advanced SEO like KWD, PR, link schemes then you are getting into murky waters but the basic SEO is as solid as HTML
My belief is that SEO is dead. Content is king.
I've never done any SEO as such, and I have plenty of content. That hasn't helped me.
I'm not going to make any changes to my website in a hurry (it's seen very incremental changes over the last ten years), but I think it's time to at least consider doing something. Otherwise I'll be like the frog in the slowly boiling water: Google referrals down 50%? - convince myself that's just natural readjustment; down 75%? - eventually get used to it and stop fretting; down 90%? - let's wait and see...