Guest Post by Travis Goodman from Backlink Warriors
Webmasters and search engine optimization experts all over the internet have been finding their world turned upside down since Google made several hundred changes to their algorithm at the beginning of May. Many large website owners experienced dramatic plunges in their search engine rankings and paranoia was running rampant with speculations all over the map. When Google’s Matt Cutts finally confirmed the changes had taken place, he also warned that the changes wouldn’t “be rolled back”.
Said Cutts, “This is an algorithmic change in Google, looking for higher quality sites to surface for long tail queries.”
Long tail queries refer to phrases of three or more words that a searcher would type into the Google interface in order to find what they want. These types of keyword phrases tend to be very specific, targeted phrases intended to find very specific information.
Prior to the “May Day” update, webmasters had found that using long term keyword phrases was allowing them to rank very high in the Google search rankings with very little other work and often not much real content on the site. Since being listed as one of the first results to come up with a search generally gets a site a lot of visitors, there is a lot of competition for first page rankings. However, with long tail queries, there was little competition so some pretty bad websites were ranking well.
Google’s whole philosophy is to give the best results to the one searching so they are constantly trying to improve their algorithm to give the searcher the best possible experience. This driving mission is what causes them to constantly update their methodology in order to weed out attempts from webmasters trying to cheat the system. In 2009, Google made about 500 changes to their algorithm with most people not even noticing. This “May Day” update is being noticed only because it was many changes made all at the same time and thousands of websites were affected.
Experts in search engine optimization say that many of these webmasters were putting the emphasis on the wrong things when creating their sites and that’s why the changes brought so much consternation. As Mike, co-founder of Backlink Warriors says, the major thing that will not change is that Google gives weight to quality of backlinks that a website has. A backlink is the term SEO experts use to refer to when another site links to yours.
Google’s algorithm counts these backlinks as votes for the usefulness and popularity of your website. Mike explains that the more trust and credibility has in Google’s eyes, the more weight is given to backlinks from such a site. The way to get such backlinks is to provide very high quality content on your website and over time, you will slowly acquire these weighted backlinks.
This process can take years, however, which most webmasters aren’t prepared for, which is why services like Mike’s and partner Tristan’s at Backlink Warriors have come into existence.