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The Necessary SEO Adjustments to Cope With The New Google

Mar 29, 2008
Life is a constant change, they all say. Nothing in this world is permanent, except for change itself. Everything changes with time, and there is not one thing in this world that's exempt from such a process. Search engines are included and, as trends come and go for the Internet, so do these engines' rules and tactics.

Just recently, Google has introduced a critical update to its operation. Nicknamed 'Jagger,' the update was done in 3 parts and practically turned the SEO world around. Jagger has made various changes to the algorithms and rules of how Google judges the relevancy and Page Rank of a website.

SEO rules are in for a big revamp, and to survive in this world, sites must change with it.

Coping with Change Ensures Survival
Jagger has made changes to three key areas that are crucial in the calculation of a page rank. These areas include the lifetime of a website, the calculation of back links, and the content and structure of a website.

In order to ensure the present ranking of your website, it is important to understand how Jagger has changed the rules regarding these three areas. That way, as an SEO specialist, you could make the necessary changes and adjustments to your tactics so that you could preserve your current ranking through not just Jagger, but for future updates as well.

Knowing Your Site's History and Backlinks
The first area concerns the length of time that you have been operating your website. When you are introducing a new website, you could expect difficulties and some obstacles in attaining page ranking in Google. You also have to make efforts in the beginning to optimize a website towards a keyword that is less competitive in order to garner more chances of beating the competition.

However, as time passes, you start building up the necessary links in order to gain relevancy. In this sense, a site becomes more and more relevant as its history builds up (providing that its pages are optimized to be actually relevant with certain search terms), and as your site's relevance goes up, you gain in rank among Google's search results.

Google's PageRank algorithm judges backlinks using the factor of relevance in mind. It gives greater weight to those links that point to your site from a site that is related to you. This was done before to answer attempts at link farming (a black hat SEO technique) by spam sites, which involve the establishment of sites that are purely intended to point their own sites in order to gain PageRank. For example, if a web design firm posts a link pointing to your SEO company's site, this link has more weight and importance to Google's eyes.

With this latest update, Google has given more weight to relevant links that have been pointing to a certain site for a certain period of time. In other words, links that have a long history are given higher value under the latest update. Now, not only does Google count the number of links pointing to your site but it also means it is checking for how long that backlink has existed in calculating your PageRank.

As a direct effect of this update, the tactic of building up links by buying them are no longer as effective as it was before. Since Google values older links more than new ones, this means webmasters that resort to buying backlinks will have to wait (while paying money) for quite a while before these links gain any significant value to Google's calculations.

SEO specialists' reliance on the keyword density requirement has been critically affected by the update. No longer does Google give weight to specific pages that are relevant to a single keyword. With the Jagger update, Google is now designed to look at a whole site's structure and content for relevancy to a certain theme. This totally changes black hat SEO tactics to gain relevancy for various searches by constructing pages that are individually themed for different keywords.

This means that SEO efforts should now be directed towards structuring a site around a certain theme, not just a single keyword. For example, if your website is about cars, your individual pages comprising your whole site should be centered on topics that are related to cars. With the Jagger update, you could see that general directories that use to appear on top rankings have diminished in numbers. Instead, directories for specific categories are gaining prominence among search engine result pages.
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