|These sites are used
mostly for research and testing of our primary business in Web
Analytics. By analyzing these sites, we were able to quickly get an idea
of what is happening in Google’s Jagger Update, which is still in
progress at the time of this writing.
By using our web analytics
tools, we were able to look at the history of visits by the bots and the
links to these small sites. We had to go back as far as January in order
to build a picture of Google’s actions. Our software also allows us to
look at all links from the SEs, not just those shown by using the
browser’s ‘link:’ command. G only reports some of the links to your
site, not all.
Here is what we have seen:
Like many other sites, we noticed a sharp drop in rank in our test
sites around the first of July. They lost about 40% of their previous
link popularity and moved down sharply in rank. Also, duplicate links on
a single site disappeared. We now only showed one link from each linking
As Jagger started, unlike many others we have seen complain about G’s
actions and timing, our sites stayed rather stable. Evidently they had
already suffered their major losses. However, there was a small increase
in the number of links. This caught our attention. We had expected that,
like many others, we would experience further disruptions to our link
But when we examined these links, we were surprised to see that not
one of them had been listed with Google a few weeks earlier. Not one.
Our research showed that these links had been live in G’s archive, but
none had shown up publicly before now. It appeared that there was some
sort of ‘aging’ process taking place, but this may just be coincidental.
It is more likely that older links disappeared because the host site was
lost in the shuffle and our links no longer appeared ‘relevant’.
The other thing we noticed was that not one of these new links was
listed on our reciprocal links pages. In other words, all reciprocal
links had vanished. We think that this is because G is down-grading or
eliminating reciprocal links as a measure of popularity. This does make
sense, actually. Reciprocal links are a method of falsifying popularity.
Sort of a cheap method of buying a link, if you want to think of it that
If your web sites have suffered from the latest ‘dance’, you may want
to take a look at the type and source of your links. If they are mostly
from link exchanges, you are probably looking at the reason for your
move down the list on the search engines.
During the second week of the Jagger Update, a few of our reciprocal
links did come back up. However, we also noticed that these were from
places where we had highly relevant content. They came from articles
where we discussed our area of expertise: Web Analytics, or from forums
where we had relevant threads. So we feel that these links came back
because of content, not linking.
The other group that came back up was one-way inbound text links,
regardless of the originating web site. These links also had strong
relevance to our web analytics business. In other words, they contained
keywords and/or phrases related to our site and its business.
This research has us now re-evaluating our linking strategy. We urge
others to do the same.
We are now concentrating only on building strong one-way inbound
links. We are focusing on publicity, articles, directories, and other
direct methods of building our image and consumer awareness.
In addition, we are also looking for associated but non competing
firms like web developers, Search Engine Marketers, SEOs, web site
owners and designers to partner with us to build direct business
relationships and the resulting inbound links. This strategy may not be
the fastest method of building links, but we feel it is rock solid and
within the spirit of good business practices. The best thing is that it
is search engine independent.
We will no longer worry about chasing (or beating) the search engines
and their ever changing algorithms. That is a fool’s game we are sure to
Instead, we will focus on building rock solid links and popularity
with the group that counts: our customers. By focusing on beating our
competition and providing a top quality product, plenty of educational
information and relevant content, we are sure to move up and stay at the
top of the search engine rankings.
It’s something to think about.
Copyright 2005 by WG Moore
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