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Google update

Here is a really comprehensive view of recent Google events:


Jagger, Google Analytics, and the Future of Search & SEO

By Glenn Murray | SEO Copywriter & Article PR specialist *


Two big things have just happened in Google-land: Jagger and
Google Analytics. Together, these two events may have
changed the face of search forever.

JAGGER

First, let's discuss Jagger... Just like hurricanes, Google
updates have names. (A Google update is a change to the way
Google determines its rankings. Google makes these changes
periodically, and they're universally feared because they
can impact dramatically on a website's ranking.) The latest
update is called Jagger, and it has search engine optimizers
(SEOs) all around the world in a state of panic.

Why was Jagger such a fearful update? Simple... With Jagger,
Google once again outsmarted huge numbers of SEOs. You see,
many/most SEOs spend their time (and their clients' money)
trying to trick Google into thinking that their websites are
more relevant and important than they really are. They do
this mostly by swapping links, buying cheap links, and
placing links on free directories. While there's nothing
wrong with these sorts of links (i.e. they're not considered
'black-hat'), they don't really show that the site is
relevant or important. All they really show is that the site
owner has made a deal with another site owner. In these
deals, the incentive for the linking site owner is a
reciprocal link, money, or increased link volume. Google
much prefers it when the linking site adds the link simply
to enhance the value of their content or to increase their
own credibility and authority.

In other words, Google wants its search results to contain
relevant, important sites, not sites that merely appear to
be relevant and important. To this end, Google invests
millions of dollars and employs the world's smartest
mathematicians to create algorithms which identify sites
that are trying to trick them. And that's exactly what
Jagger did; and when it found those sites, it simply
adjusted their ranking to more accurately reflect their true
importance. (Unfortunately, it also demoted some sites which
actually deserve a high ranking. It is hoped that these
mistakes will be ironed out with future minor updates, but
that's a topic for another article...)

From a technical standpoint, Jagger was well described by
Ken Webster in his article, 'Google's Jagger Update - Dust
Begins To Settle?' -
http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/topnews/Jagger . To
summarize, Jagger:
1) Increased importance placed on IBL (Inbound Links)
Relevancy?
2) Increased importance placed on OBL (Outbound Links)
Relevancy?
3) Promotion of relevant Niche Directories (related to #1 &
#2)?
4) More weight thrown back to PR @ top domain?
5) Increased importance on AdSense placement relevancy?
6) Possible introduction of CSS Spam filtering?
7) Overall Blog demotions?
8) New and unresolved "canonical" issues?

Some more interesting effects were reported by WG Moore
(http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2005/nov/9.html) who
runs a number of test sites for SEO purposes. By monitoring
the links to his test sites as reported by Google, he
established that:

"all reciprocal links had vanished. We think that this is
because Google 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 way... 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."

In short, Jagger undid the hard work of thousands - if not
millions - of people! As a result, hard-won high rankings
and revenues plummeted.

Interestingly, article PR (article submission) came through
Jagger seemingly unscathed. My SEO copywriting website
http://www.divinewrite.com , for example, went from no.4 to
no.1 worldwide for "copywriter", and I've employed article
PR almost exclusively. Whether it was promoted or the sites
around it were demoted, one thing is clear: article PR is
one of the best ways to obtain a high ranking.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS

The second monumental event to occur recently was Google
Analytics - http://www.google.com/analytics/index.html .
Google Analytics is a free web-stats solution which not only
reports all the regular site stats, but also integrates
directly with Google AdWords giving webmasters and insight
into the ROI of their pay-per-click ads. According to
Google, " Google Analytics tells you everything you want to
know about how your visitors found you and how they interact
with your site."

Why is this such a landmark move? Because for the first time
ever, Google will have access to your real web stats. And
these stats will be far more accurate than those provided by
Alexa - http://www.alexa.com . Furthermore, Google's privacy
statement says: " We may also use personal information for
auditing, research and analysis to operate and improve
Google technologies and services." -
http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy.html . Now let's put
two and two together:
1) Google is 'giving' every webmaster in the world free
access to quality web-stats.
2) Millions of webmasters will accept this 'gift', if only
because it integrates directly with their Google AdWords
campaigns.
3) Google will then have full access to the actual web stats
of millions of commercial websites.
4) Google will have the right to use these stats to develop
new technologies.
5) What's the next logical step? Google will use these
statistics to help determine its rankings, of course!

It should come as no surprise. It's been on the cards - and
frequently discussed - for a long time. For example, Jayde
Online CEO, Mel Strocen, recently published an article on
http://www.site-reference.com/articles/Search-Engines/The-F
this very topic, ' The Future of WebSite Ranking' -
uture-of-WebSite-Ranking.html . She quite rightly asserts
that:

"Google's "democratic" vision of the Web will never be
achieved by manipulating algorithm criteria based on
content. It will only be achieved by factoring in what is
important to people, and people will always remain the best
judge of what that is. The true challenge for search engines
in the future is how to incorporate web searcher input and
preferences into their ranking algorithms."

In fact, the Jayde Online network already owns and operates
a search engine, ExactSeek (http://www.ExactSeek.com) which
incorporates user popularity statistics in its rankings.

THE FUTURE OF SEARCH AND SEO

To date, ExactSeek is the only search engine which uses
visitor stats as criteria for its rankings. But Google isn't
far behind. We all know that Google specializes in taking a
good idea and implementing and adapting it brilliantly. This
is exactly what we'll see in this case. By combining link
popularity and user popularity statistics, Google will be
the only major search engine to consider both what other
sites think of your website and what your visitors think of
your website. And because they have the most advanced
algorithms for assessing link popularity, and will soon have
access to the farthest reaching, most accurate web stats to
assess user popularity, its competitors will be a long time
catching up.

So if that's the future of search, what's the future of SEO?
The future of SEO is undoubtedly one where:
• one-way text links from relevant pages continue to be the
most valuable links
• reciprocal linking continue to decline
• the 'shotgun' approach to link buying declines
• mass email link requests decline
• free directory submission declines
• niche directory submission increases
• article PR (article submission) increases
• article submission sites (e.g. EzineArticles -
http://www.ezinearticles.com , GoArticles -
http://www.goarticles.com , and ArticleBlast -
http://www.articleblast.com ) play a much bigger and more
important role in helping online publishers locate quality
articles (due to the increasing article volume)
• user popularity is just as important as link popularity,
which means:
o the quality of article PR improves in order to increase
site traffic, credibility, and loyalty
o the quality of website content improves in order to
convert traffic and encourage repeat visits

Clearly, the choices for SEOs will be pretty much limited to
paying for links at niche sites and/or engaging in article
PR. Being an SEO copywriter, I may be a little biased, but
for mine, article PR is the hands-down winner in this
comparison:
• It satisfies Google's criteria for relevance and
importance. Linking site owners include your article and
link because, in doing so, their site becomes more useful to
visitors, and their business gains credibility and
authority.
• It generates hundreds of free links quickly enough to make
it worth your while, but not so quickly as to raise red
flags at Google (in the form of link dampening).
• Links are permanent and you don't have to pay to keep them
there.
• You get a lot of qualified referred traffic who already
trust you and your expertise. This satisfies Google's
visitor popularity criteria, while at the same time bringing
you a lot of extra customers.

(For more information on article PR, read ' How to Top
Google with Article PR
' -
http://www.articlepr.com/SEO_Article_Submission.shtml .)

CONCLUSION

The lesson from Jagger is, don't try and trick Google!
They've got more money and more brains than virtually any
company in the world. It'll only end in tears! Don't spend
time and money trying to make your site look important and
relevant. Instead, spend that time and money actually making
it important and relevant! Content - the real content behind
the optimization - is the answer. After all, whether it's an
article or a web page, it's the content that keeps 'eyes on
paper', and that's what it's all about.

Happy optimizing!





* Glenn Murray is a director of SEO copywriting studio,
Divine Write and article PR company, Article PR. He is a
renowned SEO copywriter and an article PR and article
submission specialist. For more information, please visit
http://www.DivineWrite.com or http://www.ArticlePR.com .
Glenn can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at
glenn@divinewrite.com.


Encouraging words for us I think - quality content will win out in this environment and the big boys will not betheir to use thier muscle to squeeze good material out of the high ranking search results. Our shift to article submission also gets a boost from this analyis.

Of course Google's Analytics is so succesful that we are still on a waiting list to join.

Irritatingly the pages we have just updated have simultaneously dropped off the Hitslink radar - the Javascript looks OK but we'll just have to re-install it.

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