Behind the Curtain of Google Memory-The Raw Power of Link and Content Velocity
October 16, 2013
You probably think that your vivid memories of the past are made up of precise screenshots of actual events. You were there, you know what happened, right? Wrong.
What plays in your head are biased, shaded, fictional movies you play in your head to make yourself happy.
Google’s memories, however, are documentary films that capture the messy reality of what you (or your website) have actually done. Don’t try to deny it; Google has a paper trail on you a mile long and it’s looking at you accusingly as it points to some questionable stuff you’d rather forget.
Most regular folks (including some supposed ‘pros’) aren’t aware that Google’s got a file (in the abstract sense) on all of their website’s past activity.
Try to read the next sentence without freaking out: Google uses all of your site’s past activity to assign you a search engine result position (SERP).
Easy, now’ I don’t want your website life to flash before your eyes as you desperately try to think of any shady things you’ve done that could have negatively impacted your site’s standing.
Take a breath and let’s discuss what exactly Google remembers:
If you draw a blank when I say ‘link velocity,’ don’t be ashamed. It just means the pace of your inbound link building. You might be jumping to the conclusion that I’m encouraging speed in your link building. Au contraire; your link growth should be exponential, meaning that you added more links today than yesterday and that you’ll add even more tomorrow than you did today. It’s the basic principle of popularity.
Think of it this way: You never see a YouTube video become viral overnight. Sure, to you, it might seem like that’s what happened because your newsfeed is blowing up with the darn thing, but in actuality, it was a process.
The creator put it up, shared it with friends, who shared it with their friends, who shared it with their friends, and so on. There’s no way to fake that kind of popularity and Google knows it.
So, if your site balloons from 20 to 20,000 links overnight, Google knows that something untoward has gone on. One way it is of calling you out and righting your wrongs is by issuing the Google Slap, which knocks your SERP down by 30, 60, or 90 places, depending on how serious your trespasses have been.
Google can even disappear your site from user searches if the extent of the unnatural link or content building is extreme, which has the potential to shut down your business, especially if your business mostly depends on web traffic.
This is a big deal; to get back in Google’s good graces you have to send manually Google reconsideration request. This is not an empty threat. Matt Cutts says Google gets over 5,000 reconsideration requests a day. Whoa.
Your endgame here is for Google to recognize that your new links are being built naturally. Of course, a site will occasionally get a whole mess of new links in a short amount of time organically. Let’s be real though, that’s not happening very often. More than likely, your popularity is increasing exponentially over time.
So, we know that Google gets its jollies from exponential growth, right? The almighty G nods its big head approvingly when you added 5 pages yesterday. But, when it noticed that you added 500 pages today, well’ there’s going to be some finger wagging and you might even get ‘slapped’ around.
It’s pretty obvious that there’s some falsifying going on. It would be akin to your broke cousin, who drives a ’95 Chevy, rolling up to your house in an Escalade full of gold bars. Seems a little shady, right?
Similarly, Google will raise some red flags if you take down huge amounts of content in a short time.
Despite the fact that G wants your growth to be natural and exponential, they definitely place higher value on sites that have lots of content for users to consume. A site’s ‘weight’ or ‘depth’ will impact its ranking.
*Beware:Automated content generators like Article Builder and The Best Spinner may call to you like Odysseus’s sirens, but they can be dangerous. Sure, they’ll quickly spit outcontent you can slap onto your site, but at what cost? Google distinguishes between unique, man-made copy and the drivel that these spinners pump out. If it sees a lot of this ‘thin’ content, there will be negative consequences on your ranking.
There’s no doubt that it takes more time and effort to grow your site at a natural rate. But, all the blood, sweat and tears that you put into that authenticity will keep Google off your back and keep customers coming to your site.
Use these steps to keep your site and your SERP safe and sound:
Tips and Tricks:
1. Google’s Top Shelf Taste
Google discriminates and does not practice equal opportunity ranking. It’s pretty choosy when it comes to the content and links that it considers legit. Original content and authentic links from reputable sites are given much more value than spinner-created content and spammy links.
Take, for example, links my site gets from my buddy’s fantasy football blog. It’s cool of him to link to me, but it’s not really helping my SERP at all. There are a couple reasons for that: his site is not reputable or relevant to mine, and he’s got about 12 readers. Unfortunately Google doesn’t see links from my friend’s site and links from an industry-leading blog as being equally valuable.
Google’s not just choosy about links either. Just because your content is original, doesn’t make it good. My 6-year-old niece can create original content, but it’s not high quality stuff. Your site’s copy should be insightful, original, useful and well-written. Your goal is to engage, entertain and even provoke a bit of controversy. And, for the love of all that is holy, give readers actionable steps they can put to good use immediately.
2. Toot Your Own Horn
Close your eyes and imagine Google as a preternaturally huge mother spider who delegates search missions to her gagillion baby spiders. Each time someone presses ‘search’, they scatter across the web, gathering information on the sites they visit. Then, mama spider assesses it and puts the best sites closest to the top.
This great big spider webgrows by 2.5 quintillion bytes of data quintillion bytes of data every day. Adept as these spiders are at searching, they won’t possibly crawl to every single site each time someone performs a search. You actually have to do some legwork to get the spiders to pay attention to you. There are numerous ways to get your site or new pages indexed. Blog commenting, social networking, and social bookmarking are just a few ways. If you really want to get noticed, be creative and do things others might not be doing.
Google’s baby spiders congregate on really active sites that get tons of traffic. If that many people are flocking to those sites, they must have something of value to offer. It stands to reason that sites that those A-list sites link to are also valuable. One easy way to take advantage of this is to post a link to your site in a discussion forum on your city’s Craigslist. Having your link on this hub will surely help the spiders find you, thereby raising your SERP.
3. It Just Got Real
Before we move on, I want you to think about Google’s real purpose and mission. The search engine’s job is to do the dirty work of sifting through the loads of internet junk out there to make sure that their users are presented with the most relevant, valuable and legitimate websites. It answers to searchers, not to SEO professionals trying to make a buck.
The company instituted measures like the Google Slap so that the pretenders don’t take over and bombard users with useless information that has nothing to do with their search. As much as we might sometimes get frustrated trying to outsmart the algorithm, I think we all know they’re doing the right thing.
The upside: The factors Google uses to rank sites is not a mystery. We know what gets sites promoted and demoted, and we have the power to generate authentic links and contents that will be proof positive that our sites are worthy.
When you do a Google search, dispatching those baby spiders out onto the far-reaching corners of the web, remember that they need roads on which to travel. To help them find your site, provide them with huge signs and well-maintained streets. Unfortunately, people are not going to find your dilapidated shack down that unmarked dirt road, even if there are treasures inside.
Although Google can sometimes seem like the great and powerful Oz, hiding its true nature behind a giant curtain, there is one thing we know that will always be true: Google will forever observe, track and remember your site’s activity and your SERP will reflect that.
That shouldn’t scare you though. If you’re legitimately building a great site full of useful, original content, which is becoming more popular by the day on its own merit, you’ll hit the Google jackpot.
Do it right and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour without always looking over your shoulder. It won’t be Google coming after you, but it will be droves of new customers affirming your choices and filling your wallet.
Guest Post Written by Brian Burt :
A leader in Chicago web design and national web marketing, Brian Burt created WebRev Marketing and Design in 2008. His passion for the industry and his ability to stay ahead of the curve of ever-changing marketing trends have led to the company’s growing success in the field. Brian is constantly on the lookout for new techniques and technology that will benefit his clients and interest his readers. Additional information is available at WebRev Marketing Design and ind Brian on Google+