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Impact - A Blog by INM

What You Need to Know about Google’s Recent Algorithm Changes

March 11, 2011 by Andrea Simmons
Google Algorithm

Late last month, Google made a major change to its search algorithm. The intention was to improve the rankings for high-quality sites and push down results for lower quality ones. Initial statements from Google said that about 12% of all search queries would be affected, but now, just a few weeks later, hundreds of businesses are up in arms that they are being unfairly targeted.

Google’s goal was to improve the relevance of search results and reduce rankings for sites that simply scrape content from others and pool it together to boost their rankings. These sites, dubbed as “content farms”, use other people’s keyword-loaded content to boost their rankings and draw in visitors, which in turn, drives up their advertising dollars.

What does this mean for your business? There are two main groups affected – those that aggregate or reuse content from other sites and those that rely heavily on article submissions as part of their marketing mix. If you aggregate content from other sites, and don’t supplement this with original content, your search rankings with Google will fall. Likewise if you submit articles to sites like eHow, EzineArticles and Associated Content as a way to boost site referrals, you will likely see a big drop in referral traffic as these sites are seeing significant drops in their own traffic due to Google’s change.

The other change rolled out by Google around the same time was a new document-level classifier that analyzes page content and looks for keyword repetition and spammy words. Sites that load their pages with keywords to improve rankings will in fact now see the opposite result and will be pushed down in the rankings. Many credible businesses resorted to this keyword repetition strategy in order to compete with the illegitimate businesses that monopolized the top search slots prior to this change. If this is strategy you attempted, you may be due for a content review on your key pages.

On the plus side, sites with original and relevant content should be rewarded by this algorithm change. This just reinforces the fact that content is still king and providing insightful information is the key to a successful Google ranking.