Ever since the dawn of the search engine, computing engineers have made it their business to understand how their algorithms work, and how they can in turn manipulate those algorithms in such a way as to see favourable positions in the search engine results pages (or SERPs as they are often referred to as).
And what’s more, it is easy to see why they have chosen to invest such time, money and resources into improving their search engine rankings. You see, it is a well known fact in the SEO community, that the top 3 results of any given search is where the money is. If you are ranking outside of the top 3 results for any of your given keywords, then your chances of searchers clicking through to your website, and therefore your subsequent revenues from advertising space or ecommerce activity on your site, will decrease dramatically.
SEO has therefore become a vital aspect of any web based businesses priorities, and something which can be a huge money earner provided you know what you are doing.
The challenges of SEO lay in the fact that the field is constantly evolving. Every time the SEO community thinks that it has got it all worked out, the major search engines such as Google will release a new algorithm, or an update to an existing algorithm, and change the game completely over night.
A recent example of just how volatile the industry has become is with the advent of the Google Penguin algorithm earlier on this year. Up until this point, SEO’s and webmasters thought that they had the whole system worked out. There are so many different things which make up Google’s algorithms that it would be impossible to go into them all in one posting. What we can say however, is that every ranking factor is represented by a different element o the algorithm, and each carries its own customised weighting. Simply put, some factors are more important in the algorithms than others.
Up until the early part of this year, the SEO’s had it all sussed out. Incoming links to your website were a symbol of your websites popularity in the eyes of Google. Their theory was that the more links you had coming into your website, the more relevant and useful the site must be. This all makes perfect sense as a concept. But once the search engine optimisation specialists got wind of this, they saw an easy opportunity to gain the system, and soon hundreds of schemes and tools began to flood the market which allowed webmasters to build hundreds or even thousands of incoming links to their site in a matter of minutes. With their system being manipulated in such an extreme way, Google had no choice but to act. And in the early part of this year, they released a new algorithm which they subsequently named the “Penguin” update.
This update changed the face of SEO and left many in the industry reeling with shock, anger and disappointment. In essence, the Penguin update allowed Google to look at incoming links to a website in the context of the surrounding text on the source website. This meant that where webmasters had been spinning non sense articles which were not suitable or readable by a human source, there links became invalid, and they were even punished for having them.
The ever changing face of SEO and the battle between the search engines and the webmasters, is what makes it such a challenging, and also at the same time, such a rewarding industry to be a part of.