What Happened to My Site on Google?

During the last week of February 2011 Google announced one of the biggest changes to its search algorithm (the way to it works out on what page and in what order your website pages rank on SRP search results pages for specific keywords) in quite some time.

Whilst specific details on the way in which the algorithm works are proprietary knowledge that Google won’t share, it’s clear that they are working hard at having websites that attempt to sham the system ejected from the top SRP positions.

What Google have said...

We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.

To start with, we’re launching this change in the U.S. only; we plan to roll it out elsewhere over time.

Google’s definition for a high-quality website is one that contains original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis etc. Low-quality websites are those that add low-value or little value to the visitor, they copy content from other websites or are sites that are considered to be of very little usefulness.

One of the most affected strategies from this change has been to article marketing, with popular article directory websites such as ezinearticles.com, hubpages.com, articlesbase.com and mahalo.com dropping in the order of 70% in their total number of keyword positions.

This rapid decline in the positioning of article directories has a flow on affect with regards to the value of your backlinks from these websites. If you're unaffected by the US roll-out for now, look at regularly checking in on your metrics and analytics to see how you are impacted as the roll-out hits your region.

Without hard facts from Google many leading search engine watchers are speculating that these dramatic changes are down to the high volume of keyword stuffed spin articles on these websites.

Their advice - People who are still using keyword stuffing (also known as keyword loading) as part of their SEO program are being advised to look at shifting away from this strategy and adopting a stronger focus on unique content as well as Semantic and metadata markup.

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