Just like my detail-oriented fiancé, Google remembers everything I’ve ever done. A few months ago I proposed to her on a beach. There were whales, a sunset, fancy wine and a diamond.
Last birthday? A private room at a classy restaurant with flowers and candlelight. But do you think those magnificent romantic gestures made her forget the one anniversary where I showed up late with a pizza and a six pack? Ha! You know the answer to that.
No way, women don’t forget… anything. In regards to your site, neither does Google.
Most folks (and even a few so-called web marketing “pros”) don’t realize that Google keeps a detailed record of past activity on your site.
The almighty G then recalls these details to calculate your SERP (Search Engine Result Position). Chill out though; this does not mean that you need to begin painstakingly scrutinizing every new link you’ve ever created or word that’s been published on your site.
First, let’s address what exactly it is that Google socks away in its powerful memory:
First thing’s first: you need to understand that Google’s favorite kind of growth is exponential growth. It can comprehend you adding 5 pages to your site today, but it smells a fish when you add 500. It looks as artificial as your 10-year-old nephew waking up 8 inches taller than he was when he went to bed.
This is not the 80’s Tom Hanks classic “Big.” That stuff just doesn’t compute in Google’s world. By the same token, removing in inordinate chunks of content also sets off their alarm bells.
Though the growth of your content should be exponential and authentic, they do “like” sites with a lot of content. Sites with larger “depth” or “weight” get nudged up to the top of the list because they have more to offer users.
If you aren’t quite sure what I mean when I say “link velocity,” don’t be embarrassed; a lot of folks aren’t.
It’s pretty simple; it just refers to the rate at which your site is adding new inbound links. Before you start beating yourself up over not adding links fast enough, please understand that, unlike with European sports cars, faster is not always better.
In reality, adding new links exponentially is what you’re shooting for. Your hope is that Google notices that your link growth appears natural. Sure, sometimes a site will blow up in a short time, but that’s pretty rare. Google knows that, more than likely, your popularity is increasing gradually.
Come on, no one goes from being the unknown nerd to the hot quarterback overnight. If a site has 10 links one day and 10,000 links the next day, Google narrows its eyes and raises its red flags.
When my fiancé isn’t pleased with my behavior, she might employ a bit of the silent treatment until I make things right. Google isn’t nearly so civilized; if either your content or link velocity appear unnatural, they will “Google Slap” your site by decreasing your SERP by 30, 60, or 90 places, depending on the severity of your sins.
In really extreme situations of unnatural growth, they will even take your site down from Google searches, essentially making you disappear from users who might be trying to find you. To have your site reinstated to their searches, you have to submit a manual reconsideration request.
The lesson here is that your site should be growing at a natural pace that keeps you safely below Google’s sensitive radar. Don’t freak out; it’s not that hard. If you heed a few pieces of advice, you won’t have anything to worry about and your precious SERP will be safe.
Tips and Tricks:
1. Toot Your Own Horn
Arachnophobic as you may be, I’d like you to picture Google as a massive spider mama who dispatches her millions of spider babies on missions around the web. Their job is to come back home with info on the bajillion pages they visit. Mommy dearest then sorts through it all and quickly assesses its quality.
*Pro – Tip Spider Hives
Our info-hungry Google spiders reside hives on sites with high activity. They give special credence to anything posted on those A-list sites. Use this to your advantage by dropping links to your site on those high-value sites. One lesser-known use for the ubiquitous Craigslist is as a SERP-booster. Post in the discussion forum in your city to ensure indexing. Having your link on this packed site will help the spiders find you for sure.
Every day, the internet takes on 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. This is going to present a pretty significant challenge to those baby spiders, who can’t possibly make it to every new site and page every time a search is performed.
Unfortunately, when you add new links or content, Google does not send tiny memos to those baby spiders. You actually have to do the legwork yourself and get them indexed. There are several ways to do this effectively: Social bookmarking, social networking and blog commenting just scratches the surface. If you want to get serious about indexing new content, think outside the box.
2. Google Plays Favorites
Google is many things, but an equal opportunity ranker it is not. It is, in fact, pretty discriminatory when it comes to content and links. Unsurprisingly, original content and White Hat links from reputable sites hold much more sway. Take my lovely fiancé’s goofy blog about 80s music, for example. It has about 20 readers (including her parents and besties) and she only adds new content about once a month. Don’t get me wrong, her links to my site are sweet, but they’re not really doing much for me. First of all, our sites have not a thing in common, content-wise, and it’s like a ghost town over there.
Even if it’s “original,” low-quality content won’t help your rank either. Content that is truly useful, original and insightful is the goal. When you write, strive to make it entertaining, engaging and even controversial. And, by all means, leave your readers with helpful advice they can use right away.
3. 100 % Organic
In both link and content building, your power word is “natural.” Google is a democratic nation whose constitution states that users should be able to easily access excellent sites that have gotten popular for the right reasons.
Punitive measures like the Google Slap were put in place so that the internet doesn’t become one big SPAM haystack that buries the good needles. Much as we might shake our fists at Google’s changing algorithms (can you say, “Hummingbird”?), they strive to make the internet a better place.
The silver lining: We know what Google wants and we can give it to them. Authentically-created content and links will show that your site is worthy and deserving of being presented to their users.
If performing a Google search is like sending a frightening amount of baby spiders out into the web, links are the highways on which the spiders travel. You have to give them clear signs and smooth roads to reach you. Sorry, but your ramshackle cabin down an unnamed dirt road will not bring folks to your doorstep, no matter what cool stuff is going on down there.
Google’s close observation and tracking of your site is something you’re going to have to learn to live with; it’s not changing anytime soon. They will keep on using your whole history to assign your SERP, and that’s always going to be your company’s bread and butter.
The good news is that you can depend on Google to award your good behavior. When you increase your high-quality content and links in a natural way, you will be given the keys to the castle.
Your SERP will continue to climb as your hard work earns Google’s trust. Now you can sit back, relax and pick up conversions like the Mario Brothers snatch up gold coins. Ding!