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Google February and March Updates Show “Dancing” Results

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by Alan Rabinowitz

February and March were busy months for activity on the Google Datacenters. With thousands of sites in a constant flux, many marketers have been theorizing the end of static rankings as Google seems to be turning itself into a constantly changing algorithm similar to how MSN was a few months ago.

One theory is that Google no longer updates its algorithm aside from spam filtering and that these filters are constantly adjusted and live tested to throw marketers off. The belief stems from the fact that the most active Googler is Matt Cutts, the head of their “Spam Police” team is the one making most of the algorithm changes. Although where could he find the time with all his blog posts and trips to every convention under the sun?

These filtering tweaks would explain many sites dropping out of the results pages for no reason at all and then coming back in a day or even a week later like nothing every happened.

Some sites may get lost forever in this type of update where the algorithm seems to think the site is a spam site applies the filter and removes it to the end of the results and in some cases misplaces the actual region where the site ranks. So a site may rank for competitive terms in even though the site and company are based in the US. Sites that do not come back in may be gone forever especially if they hit a regional filter that makes no sense for the site, or a spam filter that filters then forgets it filtered.

More active sites tend to get hit by this kind of filtering, so if you disappear from the results pages for a day or two, you are best to wait out the storm then try and adapt to it right away, as the filter may never undo if you change too much, this is all in theory.

These constant updates are reminiscent of the early 2000’s era where the term “Google Dance” was a constant description for the ever-changing results common during a Google algorithm update. This effect currently seems to be daily throughout the entire month of February and now into March with sites appearing and reappearing and moving all over the SERPS.

What we do see is traditional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still working and so is the more recent linkbaiting efforts of many companies. We also still see spam use of city-based pages and content generators where one term on the page is changed but the others are not showing up even on top ranked SEO sites. This is called: “Madlib Spam”. It is used to target every term under the sun and to increase page size of a website. The content offered on the sites is almost completely duplicate of the page before it, but with a dynamic term replacing certain fields.


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