August seems to be the month for shaking things up when it comes to Google search engine rankings. We have come to terms with the often chaotic realities of the Internet Marketing game and assume a comfortable position on the tips of our toes. On any given day we’ve got our helmets strapped on tight and eagerly await any curveballs that may come our way.
Thus far we’ve seen new adjustments happening on a daily basis. While there have been rumors spreading like wildfire, we received confirmation of change straight from the source earlier this month.
Google announced a new signal of ranking within their search algorithm in the hopes to "deliver legitimate, quality sources of content more easily." Depending on the nature of your website and your SEO efforts thus far, these changes could be very beneficial. More often than not, they will have the opposite effect.
These updates are aimed to discourage copyright infringements and will target websites with a high number of valid removal notices. Google will utilize Digital Millennium Copyright Act "takedown" requests to determine the websites that have been repeatedly reported for such violations. When these piracy penalties were released the first site that came to many people’s minds was YouTube, which is the target of many DMCA requests. Those of you addicted to videos of cats or babies laughing have no fear! Google has explained YouTube will not be penalized based on these updates:
"Requests for products other than Google Search (e.g, requests directed at YouTube or Blogger) are not included."
Now that you can sleep easy knowing that your favorite 90’s music video compilations are safe, let’s move on to another Awesome August Alteration! See what I did there? Who doesn’t love a good alliteration every once and awhile?
News is circulating that Google has been testing a transition away from their traditional 10 listing display. Rather than displaying 10 results per search query, in some cases only 7 are being shown. For example, take a look at my search for "Overstock" earlier today (I like bargain shopping)
Dr. Peter Meyers at SEOmoz explains that while SERPS with less than 10 results aren’t necessarily a new thing, they have never been as frequent as the increase we’ve seen in August. Historic frequency ranges between 1-4% whereas now, about 20% of the search engine results pages on Google are showing only 7 listings.
While 20% may seem high, in retrospect it’s a very small portion of SERPs. Meyers continues on to describe the correlation between this "shrinkage" and the presence of "sitelinks" within listings. Essentially, 7 packs will be displayed if the word used in your search query matches your domain and displays sitelinks.
So, what does this mean for you and your website search engine ranking? The most obvious of challenges comes with the decrease in ranking opportunity. Keywords should be analyzed and adjusted accordingly to give your website the best chance of ranking during this turbulent time. Simply being aware of these changes is the first step in overcoming them. Check back for the play-by-play and rain delays. LocalResults will be keeping our ears close to the ground and our eyes peeled for fly balls!