This past week, Google made one of the largest changes to its algorithm in company history, and many companies weren’t so happy about it. Nearly 12 percent of its search results were affected by this change, and the SEO community is in an uproar.
A recent article on CNN explains that Google uses an algorithm (in fact, many) to produce the most relevant search results to its users. Of course, companies optimize their websites to rank as highly as possible in those results. A change in the algorithm means a good deal of search engine optimization is now worthless. Google made the change in algorithm to reduce the number of low quality sites returned in search results, but this change affected all sorts of company websites.
Most of the businesses affected by this change are known as “content farms.” These companies amass content based on the most searched terms of the day. And, as JCPenney recently discovered, this is not always legal. The problem, however, is that there are legal and effective ways to increase search result rankings through SEO, and this new algorithm is impacting these businesses as well.
Forums exploded as soon as the recent change was made. One commenter wrote, “My God. I just lost 40% of my traffic from Google today. Referrals from Yahoo, Bing, direct sources, and other sources are the same, but Google dropped like a rock.” Another said, “Hey Google, this is not fun anymore – YOU’RE KILLING OUR BUSINESSES!”
Google responded by saying, “Our goal is simple: to give users the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content — both good and bad — comes online all the time.”
It’s still too early to tell whether Google’s change will have a lasting effect on search quality. What is for sure though is that companies that want to survive will have to adjust quickly.