I ran across this article recently and wanted to re-post it. I was interviewed back in December of 2011 and excerpts of that interview are included here.
NOTE: I claim no authorship over this article. Merely archiving it here on my site.
Google’s New Algorithms: Faster, Fresher Search Results
Google recently updated its algorithms, sending shockwaves through companies that thought they had discovered the secret to achieving top placement in web search results.
Byrne explains that Google’s newest changes have been more apparent than usual, a move he calls “an obvious step away from their old practice of making very subtle changes.”
The updates were necessary, he asserts, to provide fresher content in web searches.
“Ultimately, Google has to serve their customers and improve their product,” Byrne says.
TWEAKS TO BEAT THE COMPETITION
Increased usage of Microsoft’s Bing search engine has forced Google to continually tweak its algorithms to improve search speed and accuracy, according to Jim Paulos, an Advertising instructor at The Art Institutes International Minnesota.
“The recent algorithm change will reduce search ranking for low-quality sites. Low-quality sites contain shallow or poorly written content or content that’s copied from other websites,” Paulos says.
This will force companies to reevaluate the content on their website and improve the overall quality of the pages on their domain.
“Removing low-quality pages or moving them to a different domain could help a company’s search raking,” Paulos adds.
This reevaluation process includes adding consistent phrases into the website that Google’s algorithms identify and register as “authoritative content.”
“Search engines love content; this is why we’re seeing so many blogs, articles, white papers, and press releases pop up all over the web,” says Greg Bellan, director of Delivery for FastWebUpdates.com.
Bellan says that when companies blog about their business, they tend to use certain keywords and phrases associated with their areas of expertise.
“Google sees this and says — these guys keep using these words and phrases so they must be experts on the subject — and returns results accordingly,” Bellan says.
Links back to a website from other sites — called backlinks — also help to boost credibility. But it’s important that the backlinks come from reputable sites that are important in Google’s eyes.
“In general terms, Google will rate a link from a site like CNN as much more important than a link from SomeGuysBlog.com,” states Bellan. “Social media plays a part in search engine rankings as well. With so much content floating around on the web, the more your name or brand is out there, the better.”
OPTIMIZING SEARCH RESULTS
While the nitty gritty of Google’s search algorithms is a secret, Bellan says that search results are achieved through a combination of how long a domain name has existed, title tags, meta tags, page content, keywords, and links from other sites.
“The major search engines are purposefully vague on what goes into their algorithms and tweak them on a regular basis, which keeps search engine optimization and web development professionals guessing,” he says.
Bellan, who works to optimize search results for KillTheCan.org, an organization he founded, mentions that strong results can come without expense.
“The results [for my webpage] come purely through search engine optimization best practices, networking, and link building,” he adds.
But he admits that Google keeps him on his toes with its ever-changing algorithms.
“Google is always striving to better its search results,” Bellan says. “The idea is to give you exactly what you’re looking for and to do it quickly.”
Google’s recent changes include modifications that attempt to further personalize the search experience — and are based on several factors including geographical location, if the searcher is logged into Google, and how many times their friends have shared a particular link on their social networks, etc.
“They’re changing things to give you better results, and secondarily to ensure that anyone who’s figured out how to beat the system will no longer be winning,” he adds.
Bellan cautions against trusting any company that claims it can guarantee high search result rankings.
“Never work with someone who promises you specific rankings; they’re lying and trying to sell you something,” he says. “Because of the fact that the Google algorithm is always changing, you should run away from folks that guarantee specific placement.”
For those seeking guaranteed placement, there’s always the option of buying space on the results page.
“That’s the only way to guarantee placement on Google,” Bellan says.
Author: Written by freelance talent for Ai InSite