Google Strives to Be the Best
Google, as a search engine, does all it can to make the results it returns for your search inquiries, as relevant to your search terms as possible. This is good for you because you can better find what you’re looking for. Good for Google because they seem to you to be a reliable search engine and so you return to use it over and over again, rather than go to other search engines such as Yahoo, Bing or Ask.
Google’s efforts to make their algorithms find, filter and rank the most relevant search results to your queries are always being updated for these reasons. Webmasters are always trying to beat out their competition, which are those sites that appear in the search results ahead of their website. The likelihood of you clicking on a search result that is higher up in the page is pretty good, so the lower down in the rankings they are, the less chance you will click on them, especially if they are on page 2, or 3 or even further back, correct?
Even I will start at the top, usually, and only go as far as page 2, maybe page 3 but depending on what I am searching for. If I don’t see what I’m looking for within the first page or two, I start over by entering a new search term. You probably do the same thing. So do the people searching for your website, information, products and services.
Webmasters Try to Outrank The Competition
So webmasters are using every possible ‘SEO (search engine optimization) tactic’ they can find to help their website rank higher. There is a science to it, but also an art. On a lesser lever, it is pretty easy or simple to do, if you learn the basics, but the more competition, the larger the site and the greater your market, SEO must become much more in-depth. And i- depth, it can get complicated and to avoid hurting your website in the rankings rather than help it, you need to know what you’re doing. Links from the ‘bad neighborhoods’ of other sites can make you lose your rankings. Buying Facebook ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ can do the same thing. But social signals are very important and search engines are using them to help determine which sites (that have active social presences) are more relevant for results than others.
Part of that is keeping up with Google’s algorithm updates.
Google Filters Out the Illegitimate Results
Most of the updates Google has put out in the past couple years were to filter out illegitimate sites that showed up for certain search results, and these because some webmasters optimized less ‘ethically’, some not so unethically, but did what they learned worked. Then one day Google has found a way to filter out these less-than-best results and BAM, many unsuspecting websites are hit and lose their rankings, their traffic and their profits and they don’t know what to do about it.
Keeping Up With Search Engines is Only a Fraction of SEO
I don’t do anything unethical with the sites I build (I make sure of it by keeping up with the updates), but even some sites I have built for myself have suffered the stings of Google’s algorithms. This is why it is necessary to stay abreast of the changes, keeping one’s pulse on the goings-on of the search engines.
With all that said, I wanted to share with you an interesting infographic I came across today that listed many of the algorithm updates Google has made over the last couple years.
Keep in mind these are only one small aspect of maintaining a websites SEO.