A lot of websites have been jumping around–seemingly randomly–in their positions on Google. Find out why!
Why it was developed
Google has many patents. Recently Google patented a “Patent” algorithm in an effort to spot search rank manipulation–essentially trying to spot and penalize people it sees as ‘cheaters’. Google has spent a long time beating the drum of improving the quality of search results and making things “fair” for everyone who happens to be indexed on their site. While the issue of what constitutes as fair within in the realm of search engine results can be debated, it’s been a long time coming for Google to do something about what it considered to be ‘spamdexing’.
There seems to be a rather large amount of uncertainty over what Google will choose to do in the long run, but in the short term, the “Patent” algorithm seems to be the newest addition to the arsenal of algorithms Google is employing in an effort to improve its search results. The “Patent” algorithm seems to be causing a bit of controversy, however, in how it goes about targeting websites engaged in traditional SEO.
Historically, websites which had a poor ranking on Google’s search could conduct what is referred to as ‘SEO’, or rather, “search engine optimization,” which can constitute as a wide array of various techniques used to improve the underlying site’s ranking on Google. These techniques, however, are now being targeted by Google and ‘violators’ are being–in some cases–completely dropped from Google’s search page ranking.
These acts of penalization–as opposed to incentivization–are a source for a lot of fear over what to do when your site is ranking poorly on Google as many people have become afraid of doing any SEO at all. While these fears are rational, to totally dismiss SEO completely is irrational.
Learning how the “Patent” algorithm works is your first step in learning how to improve your page rankings in an environment where Google penalizations are becoming more common.
Effects on websites
While the effects can vary from website to website, the main theme that the “Patent” algorithm partakes of is dropping a website a few places in its ranking and moving it back up again. This is usually exhibited as 5 days down, 3 to 4 days on top again. While this is occurring Google is running a series of analytics it thinks will determine whether or not someone happens to be ‘gaming’ their search services. Again, what constitutes as ‘gaming’ can be disputed.
Ethically, these fluctuations in search rank can be a real problem for business owners who rely on Google for business traffic. By having a diminished rank for the majority of the time that the page is ranked on Google, Google is effectually putting a squeeze on nearly every web-based business that can be indexed by a search engine. This, if done improperly, can possibly be considered unethical–bearing in mind that when the business’ website happens to be down someone else’s happens to be up. So while there are diminishing rankings for sites, there are increases for other sites.
Please note that if someone engages in heavy SEO during the period which the website is affected by the “Patent” algorithm, Google may penalize the site dramatically for an unknown period of time.
What does it do
- Fluctuates the search rank for many websites
- Causes websites to be 5 days down, 3 to 4 days on top again
- Causes people who engage in heavy SEO during the period to be penalized
What can I do about it?
Really the best course of action for the effects of the “Patent” algorithm is to ignore it. Our recommendation would be to proceed with a slow and steady amount of natural looking SEO as normal and wait out the storm during the periods which your site is down–knowing that it will come back up again.
What happens if your site is flagged or indexed
Don’t panic! The worst thing you can do is over-respond with a large amount of SEO. In the event you were to do such a thing while your site was flagged, Google may permanently flag you site and it may cease to show up on Google ever again.
Work on slow and steady natural SEO
Worst case scenario, start your site up again with a different URL.
Authored by: Joan Wardzala – SEO Specialist in vertical and horizontal search engines – Google+