Google Has Been a Mess – Take this Time to Prepare

    June 13, 2003

I just wanted to ask you if you have had anyone complain recently about Google and their rankings? I normally rank #3 or #4 for the search term “custom glass”. In the past few weeks I have dropped to page 4. The weird thing is that an unrelated hosting company appears on page 1 of the search results. They have nothing to do with custom glass. Also, I checked the link popularity of some of the sites that are ranking higher than me, and I have more links to me than they do. Do you know what is going on? It is really hurting my business.

I appreciate any attention you give to this matter.

Thank you for your time. – Maria F.

Hello Maria,

There is no question that Google has been an absolute mess over the past month. Totally unrelated results were appearing in the top 10 and sites that utilized a horrific number of ancient spamming tricks were somehow getting top placements. Finally, over this week Google has been stabilizing although I am fairly certain we are in for another short roller coaster as they finalize a new algorithm (ranking system). Google tends to do a major change-up on their algorithm at least once a year, so it is overdue.

Looking at the first round of results it appears your site is in the 20-30 range under your keywords. This is indeed a significant drop but it is hard to tell whether it will be temporary or not. For the moment I do have some suggestions to at least reinforce your odds for reinstatement into the top 10.

For one, I would remove the description-filled comment tag within your header. This is an old trick and it could very easily put you into hot water. I would not risk it if I were you!

Secondly, your keyword meta tag could use some more padding. I certainly do not mean that you should pack it to the brim with related words, but carefully identifying well-searched phrases and inserting another 10-20 could improve your potential for additional placements.

Thirdly, watch out for over repetition of keywords! On this page you have included a dangerous number of the words ‘custom glass’ at the top of the page. This repetition carries over into the text link below each type of custom glass. As a result, nearly 75% of the text on this page is repetitious. This is a red flag to any search engine and can negatively affect your listings. At the top, try to say something like: “Select from our custom, smoked, engraved, shaped, and classic glass work.”

Finally, I would recommend adding more content to some of your pages. Take <this link has been removed for anonymity: the page showed two product types in only graphical format and the only text was two text links> for example. This page is obviously only a stepping stone into two different products, however, a short description of each product will help by providing some content for the search engines to index. Make it easy for them and they will return the favor!

Please let me know if I can help further – Ross Dunn

Ross Dunn is the CEO and founder of StepForth Search Engine Placement Inc., an SEO firm that has been providing expert services since 1997. Rosss considerable experience in the world of search has made him a respected writer for countless publications and an SEO consultant for small business and Fortune 500 web properties.