Ouch Google That Hurts! (How Recent Changes Within Google May Affect Your Rankings)

Google Spot!

Ouch Google That Hurts! (How Recent Changes Within Google May Affect Your Rankings)
Copyright © Titus Hoskins

Recent changes within Google's organic keyword rankings are sending minor shock waves throughout the SEO community. There seems to be a major overhaul, especially relating to not only PageRank Sculpting, which may drastically lower your rankings, but also in the "very way" Google lists its organic search results.

Basically, some common search engine optimization on your own site will no longer give your rankings a boost in Google. It's as if Google has declared war on many of the old tried and proven SEO techniques which have worked for years.

Matt Cutts addressed PageRank Sculpting in a recent blog post so it is no longer a matter of speculation but something every webmaster has to deal with when constructing the layout of their site. Manipulating your site's PageRank to promote certain lucrative "money-pages" on your site has just gotten a lot harder. Those webmasters with authority sites could see a major drop in their keyword rankings within Google.

In the past, one of the most effective ways to rank well in Google was simply a matter of building a sub-section of themed/keyworded pages on your site directly related to your targeted keyword. By pooling all the PR juice from these pages onto your "money page" meant you could rank well in Google for that keyword, especially if you had a high PR6 or PR7 site.

Although it is somewhat foolish to draw general conclusions from specific events happening on your site, since Google seems to be in a constant "change mode" these days, so any conclusions or pronouncements of what is actually happening may be premature. But I am a professional online marketer who has been monitoring thousands of keywords in Google for six or seven years, and recent keyword movements tell me something has definitely shifted in the land of Google. Top rankings in Google for lucrative keywords are essential for me earning an online living so anything affecting those top rankings has my immediate attention.

Recent movements in some of my keywords have me scratching my head in amazement. For example, one URL which had been at the top spot within Google's organic search listing for over five years suddenly vanished down to the fourth or fifth page. Now this is the Ezinearticles listing when you search my name in Google, that URL has been at the top for ages - what has caused it to drop?

More than likely, it has to do with either of two things: PageRank Sculpting or a Keyword Spam Filter. It just may be due to changes in PR sculpting, since Ezinearticles.com is highly optimized authority site, any changes with how Google ranks interior pages on a given site will probably show up on a site like this one.

Or this may just be a casualty of some Google spam filter or filters since I have noticed Ezinearticle recently added this URL at end of each of my article:


This repeated URL on many sites could cause a spam filter to lower the ranking of this URL. Many SEO experts believe you have to be careful to vary the anchor text (clickable part of a link) to avoid being penalized for keyword spamming.

Now, this is truly farfetched, but I noticed Google only changed the top listing for that searched term recently, and it now matches the one found on Bing. Is Google playing catch-up with Bing, since the URL in question is the correct one that should be in the top spot!

Of course, those who know me will realize the lowering of this one URL in Google SERPs is not what has me very concerned by recent developments within Google. It is a few of my more lucrative keyword drops that have me very concerned about what's happening within Google's Algorithm and the changes they're making.

You have to realize, except for the occasional Google dance and a few major updates - my own keyword rankings within Google have remained pretty stable over the years. Despite the countless horror stories you hear about Google suddenly dropping or delisting a page or site - this has NOT been my own experience. If my rankings drop it is because I have stopped promoting that particular keyword phrase and even then the drop in rankings is fairly slow and predictable.

A recent drop of one of my most profitable keywords did not follow that pattern or morn. Suddenly bouncing in and out of the top five spot before finally settling in nowhere land on the third page. Now we are talking about a very competitive keyword with over 52,000,000 pages listed but there seems to be a fundamental shift in the way Google is listing its rankings or SERPs for very lucrative keywords, I don't see the same filters, ranking factors applied to minor keywords or even lengthy "long-tail" keywords. At least, not yet.

Google seems to have made a major and profound overhaul of how it lists its SERPs. Basically, Google is dividing its listings up into five different groups or categories on that crowded first page: 1) News 2) Products 3) Brand Name 4) Videos 5) Information/Reviews

In addition, Google's SERPs have become much more fluid, changing daily, if not hourly. Half of the URL listings on that first page could be new listings, next day they're replaced by others.

For the above keyword, I even had one of my articles listed on the first page for a brief time. In the past this was virtually an unheard of occurrence within Google. This article was on a large online article directory. I have seen other news items jump in and out of this first page listings. Keeping your keyword phrase within the top 5 positions will be extremely difficult.

Perhaps, even more troubling is the new abundance of Brand Name listings on the first page results. Aaron Wall did an excellent report on this a little while back. Google seems to have made a direct move to listing those big name company sites. The keyword phrase in question now has a link from one the largest computer companies in the world in the number one spot. Small site owners and webmasters who play by the rules will have a much more difficult time to rank high for lucrative keywords and a lot more trouble keeping their keywords on that first page.

Large corporate sites with deep "link-buying pockets" will rule Google in the future. Despite Google's feeble attempt at cutting out this practice, link buying is much more lucrative and much more profitable than running any Adwords campaign. Link buying will be the number one advertising expenditure for most large companies in the future, if not already.

Even more troubling, besides the dominance of the big brands in Google's new search engine, is the fact that small webmasters must now realize the available space on that first page has grown much smaller - with news, product and video listings taking up the slack. Suddenly your target has gotten much smaller and your chances of hitting it much, much slimmer.

If Google applies the same kind of ranking factors and the way it lists its SERPs to all of its keywords, then ranking high for your chosen keyword phrase has grown much more difficult. Competition within Google has always been fierce, especially for popular keywords which bring in the big bucks, but now because of these recent Google changes, your search engine marketing has just gotten a lot tougher. Thanks Google!

The author is a full-time online marketer who has numerous websites. For the latest web marketing tools try: Internet Marketing Tools Everyone is Profiting from Google, are you? Find out how here: Google Cash File Copyright © 2009 Titus Hoskins.

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Titus Hoskins My name is and I am an artist, writer and webmaster. I am also a former art teacher who has been a full-time Online Professional Marketer for the last 10 years.

Bizwaremagic.com is my main website, but I have many more. You can follow me on Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.


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