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Recent Changes on Google

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For those who read this with an interest in SEO, I’ve noticed a few interesting changes on Google over the past week.

Firstly, Google seems to have tweaked the algo so that keyword domains have lost a little of their dominance. So just because “blue-widgets.com” is an established, if poorly built and promoted site, it no longer seems to have automatic rights to rank No.1 on searches for “blue widgets”.

I’ve seen a couple of such domains – even strong ones – displaced from no.1 positions over the past few days, though I think Google appear hesitant to keep this up.

Secondly, I’ve seen a suggestion that underscores may finally be counting as spaces. I’m possibly mistaken on this, but a few days ago I ran a routine ranking check for “blue widgets” and noticed a listing apparently highlighted for “blue_widgets” in the URL – and that means the underscore was highlighted, not just the words. I didn’t make a screenshot at the time, so there’s room for observational error here, but I certainly know Google have called time on underscores being overlooked as spacers.

Thirdly – looks like Google’s rebuilding its index and missing a few pages again. I’ve seen this before, especially where I’ve seen sites suddenly plummet for a keyword, only to rise again – Google couldn’t find their main keyword page so instead was ranking a weak internal page for the keyword.

I’m seeing that at present on a Google search for “Brian Turner” – a keyword I give curiosity value to, but don’t compete for against the TV chef of the same name. At present, ibrian.co.uk is down a few places, with the site index page not listed in the results, even though that’s the key link target for “Brian Turner” – instead a lower listing for a couple of internal pages taking its place.

Either way, interesting to see that while Google remains in constant flux, at least there’s nothing devastating – or threaten to devastate – any serious link development work as yet.

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