Changes in Google SERPS

I know that many people are currently wondering as to why a website suddenly shifts in the Google search results; especially as of late. This is true whether an individual manages their own SEM efforts or hires an outside company. There are many reasons why this can occur, but for the purposes of this post, we will assume that it is not the result of a webmaster employing practices that violate Google’s TOS.

Constant Flux

There Google SERPS are changing constantly. However, at certain points in time they change more dramatically than others for all websites or a particular website. The reasons can vary dramatically, but typically there are a few common rules that cause any particularly site to fluctuate in the search engine rankings, while other websites appear untouched.

The Website is Newer

Oftentimes a website will change position more frequently during its first two years of existing on the internet. This is not the same as the Google Sandbox, but it is fairly typical to see. The primary reason driving this is that newer websites tend to undergo a larger percentage of changes than existing website. Links originally purchased to help a website might loose some of their value. Since a newer website often has fewer links than a long standing one these changes tend to have a larger impact.

Many Recent Changes

Multiple changes to a website either on the page itself or recent addition of links can cause a change in the search engine rankings. Again this tends to be more prominent with newer sites for the reasons listed earlier, but still impacts even older sites if enough changes are made. Sometimes this is simply unavoidable. However, the best method to minimize such impacts is to rollout changes in phases.

Unexplained Jumps or Declines in the SERPS

Google and the other major search engines are not perfect. When investing time and money in an SEO campaign it is important to realize this. Temporary abnormalities will occur regardless of anything done. The best and hardest thing to do in this situation is just sit tight and keep on the same path as before. Wait a couple weeks; I realize this can result in lost sales now, but dramatically changing a strategy will generally result in a larger number of lost sales in the long run.

Increased SEO Competition

No matter how much work is done on your own site. A company cannot control what other business owners decide to do with theirs. If a topic becomes more popular and profitable then one should expect more players to enter the market and an overall increase in the competitiveness of obtaining and maintaining top search engines rankings. There is nothing you can do to prevent this, but you can take steps to ensure more resources are allocated as needed.

It Will All Work Out

The best single piece of advice I can give anyone is that it will all work out positively if your company follows Google’s TOS. Treat these terms as the bible and do not anger the Google gods. If a website’s SEM efforts follow the guidelines listed under best practices then over the long haul your company will reap the rewards. This is true whether focusing on a regional, national, or international audience.

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