Search engine users don’t see much of the machinery or moving parts that take a search term and churn out pages and pages of search results. A search results page shows ten links, a few ads, and a few stats—Google displays the time the search took and the number of results that were found. These stats mostly serve to awe the user. “Google only took a third of a second to find 6.3 million results on ‘Magritte’? O, the treachery of the internet!” What remain unseen are the internal vagaries of search engines. Search engines believe that all of their planning and apparatuses that affect and generate results need to stay hidden to protect their ability to offer users quality search results.
Moments after the first search engine appeared, there were spammers and black-hat SEOs looking to use any knowledge of how search engines crawled, indexed, and ranked websites in order to manipulate the results being displayed. Search engines are constantly developing and implementing changes to their algorithms to provide quality, spam free results. In the meantime, responsible webmasters and SEOs who have put in work to build a site’s content and make it into a reputable authority have little insight as to when changes are introduced into search engine algorithms. Part of a comprehensive SEO strategy is monitoring the unknowable, at least in real time, shifts within search engines in order to tailor the SEO work that is being done to a site to stay in-line with the best practices outlined by search engines and avoid penalties that may be introduced with algorithm updates.
SEOmoz just released a tool designed to do exactly this type of monitoring and track changes on Google’s search engine results page. Their new site mozcast.com uses the familiar imagery of a daily weather forecast to broadcast the changes that they have seen on the search results page. Mozcast tracks the change in results of 1,000 different Google searches. The amount of change that mozcast sees is translated into a weather forecast with five different weather patterns. Mozcast’s graduated scale indicates little to no change with a cool and sunny forecast. As mozcast starts to see more change on the results pages they track, their forecasted temperature increases and clouds roll in. The hottest and stormiest forecasts indicate turbulent changes on search engine results pages that would occur when Google introduces a major algorithm update.
Tracking changes in results is the only way to see that search engines have made changes to their search algorithms. Google maintains a blog and twitter account that publicize changes that affect search results, but the timing of both minor tweaks and major changes are not released until after the change has been made live and is affecting search results. By recognizing changes on the results pages, SEOs can examine the results and start to understand what kind of change Google made and what may need to be reworked in order maintain or regain a coveted top spot on the search results page. When Google eventually announces what kind of change was made, an SEO who has been tracking the updated with a tool like mozcast can be ready with new optimization tactics that are either all ready in place or ready to be implemented in order to meet the new standard that Google has set.
There are many pieces to the SEO puzzle; tracking, preparing for, and maintaining a web presence that accounts for all of the changes in search is a full time job. The account managers at Boston Web Marketing stay abreast of the latest breaking search news. This knowledge keeps your site away from penalties and propels it to the top of the search results page.
If you are interested in more SEO techniques or would like to hire us to manage your reputation online contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 857.526.0096.
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