For those of you who haven’t noticed – there’s an update going on over at Google. It’s lasted about a week and I first reported it back on Tuesday.
What appears to be happening is that they’re trying to react to some aspect of backlinks but unfortunately the house of cards is teetering and cr@p results are climbing to the top for many search queries. I liken it to pulling a loose thread on a sweater only to find that that threat was holding together the entire cuff.
Basically – it appears that a small adjustment in the algorithm has created undesired affects elsewhere. Let’s use an example of how this happens though admittedly – I don’t know or even have a good guess yet on what they changed in this case – this is JUST AN EXAMPLE. I am NOT suggesting that this is the change or even the logic behind the change, In fact, I can guarantee it’s not.
OK – now that that’s out of the way – let’s say for example that Google wanted to decrease the value of reciprocal links and in doing so setup an internal filter that checked for links to domains and from domains and where there was a positive match that the domains each linked to the other – that in such a case the value of those links would be zeroed out. This seems like a logical way to negate recip links HOWEVER if a Harvard professor find a thesis document posted on the MIT website valuable and links to it and an MIT student in their blog finds a research paper on the Harvard site to be relevant to their subject – should these links be negated and if we devalue both the Harvard and MIT websites – will the results for queries relevant to these studies be better?
This is just an example but a clear one as to how efferts to address one area can have undesired affects in others and of course – at this stage in their evolution they’ve got far more subtle aspects to their algorithm and so very many of them that a tweek in one area can have totally unpredictable affects on other areas.
At the end of the day however the results are worse than they were previously and thus, a change will come. I will put myself out there and predict further updates this evening or tomorrow (Friday) that will likely last through the weekend as Google works to address whatever issue they were originally working on but reducing and/or eliminating the undesired results in the form of lackluster sites improving in the rankings.
I will be monitoring and blogging about this update as it unfolds.
I should also note that I don’t get an email from Matt Cutts letting me know when these updates happen (no really – it’s true). My guesstimates are based on past patterns and thus – I may be off by a bit but Google tends to follow a similar pattern about 70 to 80 percent of the time.
Enjoy the ride and have a great long weekend !!!
SEO news blog post by Dave Davies, CEO @ 1:16 pm on July 2, 2009