As we discussed two weeks ago, website rankings are in flux. It’s one thing for sites that are breaking the rules, or keyword stuffing or worse, but Google is now devaluing websites that, up till now, have performed very well and often been ranked on the front page of Google for various keyword phrase searches.

Here’s why:

  • HELPFUL CONTENT UPDATE:  We wrote of this in our SEO Facts of June 27. This is an update that was first launched by Google last November, but its effects are still taking place.
  • MACHINE LEARNING:  Google engineers have written algorithms that are more and more sophisticated.  Now unleashed, they become able to index websites, read them and understand what is being written and even its intent.
  • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE:  Call it what you will, Google is now able to determine if your site is “helpful” and “meets the reader’s needs.” Seems like a tall order, but the Google computers are doing just that, and on an ongoing basis.
  • “MEDIUM QUALITY CONTENT”:  It’s enough to lower a site’s rank by several sites and even off of the Front Page.
  • NO MAGIC PILL:  Once the computer determines that your site has medium or low-quality content, it is marked as such with a “classifier” that will keep the site moving down in ranking until it is removed.
  • GETTING CLASSIFIER REMOVED:  This requires a rewriting of the pages on the site to make sure they meet the definition of “High-Quality Content,” as defined by Google in its Quality Raters Guidelines.  
  • CHECK YOUR RATINGS NOW VERSUS LAST NOVEMBER:  How do they look? If your ranking has not changed or moved up…congratulations! However, your competitors whose sites have moved down will be busy rewriting their sites to move back up again.  This could hurt your rankings, so heed the Google guidelines to be safe.

We’re not kidding when we call it a lollapalooza, as it’s an extraordinary event that will have long-lasting consequences.

Onward and upward!

For more information, read this blog.