Google Changes Search Again

Google recently changed it’s search algorithm. You will have heard much ado about the Panda | Farmer algorithm change.  There has been a little scare mongering from various sources about what the effects are for local business websites. If you have developed your online presence in line with best practices you are almost certain not to have many issues.  The easiest way to tell if you have been affected is to review your analytics.  As always measurement of results provides the answer. If your traffic volume collapsed sometime around February 28th, 2011 and has not recovered then you are one of 11.8% of sites that took a hit from Panda. Assuming you’re okay.  What does it mean for the future?

Panda followed Caffeine

The first thing to remember is that Panda (we are not really into farming and Panda’s are cute) followed Caffeine – (funnily enough we prefer tea).  Google’s consistent aim is to provide fresh, relevant content for the searching public.  The whole arena is an ever changing complex environment.  Caffeine was a change to the Google Search Index it altered the way the website pages are indexed within its search engine database. To keep it simple you can think of this as a library and the “Googlebots” that index all the various web information as hi-tech librarians.  So Google has all the information stored and indexed so when a search is made it query the indexed information.  Caffeine indexed in a more dynamic format, Google used the following image to illustrate the change.

Caffeine launched in January 2010 and is a platform for a lot of changes that followed. For instance Google Business Listing were renamed “Google Places” and re-indexed in October 2010.   So by now you are starting to understand change is consistent with Google and most search engines. Caffeine was a change to the indexing and Panda is a change to the algorithm used to query the index. You can think of the algorithm as a complex database query set off by someone making an online search. Despite all the changes a few things remain constant:

  1. A Search Engine has an indexed database of online information
  2. The database is searched using an algorithm
  3. Results are returned based on primarily on relevance to the search term
  4. Updates to the index and the algorithm will continue

Ultimately providing relevant, interesting and fresh content will bring visitors to your site.  Quite simply to continue growing visitors to your site continue to provide unique and relevant content, engage socially with your customer base and measure your results.  You see; all of Google changes are aimed at finding sites that are interesting and relevant.  That does not change.

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