Google’s long backlink update

This month’s Google backlinks update was one of the slowest ever. Different datacenters showed discrepancies in results from the beginning of the month but it’s only by March 22nd that final results would show up and finally be stable. With more competition from other major players and a blossom of new SEO firms, not all using ethical optimization techniques, Google has to seriously rewrite its copy to avoid link schemes and blog spamming.

Many theories arise, some say that this is just another update and even that Google has multiple ranking algorithms (Which is probably true) but I like to believe that Google is working harder to determine automatically linking schemes and black hat SEO strategies. Traditional link spamming includes usually:

  • High percentage of identical anchor text
  • High volume of new back links in a very limited period of time

Google’s algorithm has always been mainly based on a large number of incoming links but since this is now commonly agreed and most webmasters understood that, it is possible that Google is preparing to emphasize a bit more the on-page factors. Competitors Yahoo and MSN still consider that having a search term, at least partially on a site is important to the user. It is very frustrating to search for a particular term and being sent to a web page that does not even include the given term.
Google is probably getting better at recognizing artificial linking structures but wouldn’t it be just simpler to work a bit more on the on-pages factors than chasing link schemes or decreasing the power of the page rank ? Anyhow, this month’s backlink update and probably slight new algorithm test was performed in two distinguished parts (were not that obvious) from our observations on multiple domains. As usual rankings bounced and then stabilized but the most interesting is that some websites using dubious linking techniques (According to Google…) were first dropped then reinstated at a lower rank while other sites would not even feel the update. A bit like if Google tried to sharper its algorithm then rolled back but most regular sites were not affected at all.

February 2005 Allegra update was also performed in 2 similar parts and the upcoming PR update could surprise many web site owners. The search engine market is getting tougher everyday and the challenge for the most accurate results is just starting to be interesting.
New pagerank update is in a few days, probably the first 10 days in April and there will be like always a lot of emotion in the search engine optimization community.

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