Google has confirmed what we at Rook have seen over the holidays – there were significant changes to their algorithm that are making some serious shifts in Search Engine Rankings. A Google spokesperson confirmed this – “We released several minor improvements during this time frame, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy.”
These updates seem to be related to massive amounts of keyword permutations, and sites loaded with doorway or landing pages targeted to the same keyword permutations. It seemed to target sites that had dedicated landing or doorways page created to simply be a target for several variations of a similar service; for example; travel agent denver, travel agent boulder, travel agent centennial, travel agent colorado.
In past years Google has tried to NOT make changes in December, to minimize the potential impact before the holiday shopping season. But on December 14th, an update was made that has been sweeping through the rankings for the past few weeks. The biggest immediate changes affected the mobile searches of Autos & Vehicles, Law & Government, and Reference sites. On December 19th, another extreme shift was detected affecting Hobbies and Leisure, Science, Jobs & Education, Home & Garden, Internet, and Telecom sites the most – and again, stronger changes showed on Google Mobile.
These changes are very active now in the US, and as a result, will also begin spreading worldwide to the UK, Germany, France, Australia, and Spain.
To say the least, it is becoming increasingly important to maintain consistent Algorithm compliance, and keep a regular eye on your ranking tracking – Google Search Ranking have been very turbulent over the past 45 days, and more changes are expected in the next month or so. The next expected change will be an increased focus on Site loading time, or Latency. Google will be changing the algorithm to benefit sites that load faster, both and mobile and desktop search – so keeping sites on slower, shared personal hosting servers that are inexpensive will actually HURT your business SEO results. That, coupled with Google’s increasing penalties for sites that are not SSL encrypted, means the days of extremely cheap hosting for business sites may be coming to an end.