We know that Google brings out a dozen updates every year, which we hear of, however there’s also covert updates we never hear about publicly, but can be tracked by websites such as Algoroo, Mozcast, among others.
Having worked with hundreds of websites over the past 10 years, you get a sixth sense for little tidbits that may go unnoticed, and here are my SEO / Google updates conspiracy theories below:
Daily Positional Changes vs Months of Waiting
It used to take months to see both ranking changes for client websites as well as for new links to get picked up by Google.
I find when I create new links nowadays for clients they get picked up immediately by Google, which is a good thing. I’m seeing clients get their positions up much faster.
In the past prior to all of Google’s algorithm updates, you used to have to wait 3-6 months just to see a new website you were building links for get picked up on Google.
After updates such as Caffeine (which was supposed to shift rankings daily but didn’t really show any true change), and Penguin 4 (the last penguin update which made it so Google updates/refreshes daily), we’re seeing rankings shift wildly every day from top 5 positions down to 2nd page and back to top 5 again for various keywords.
Links being picked up by Google much faster
In relation to the point above, when you created links it would take months to see them have any impact on rankings.
No one really knows when a link starts to impact your website. You can see a link get picked up by various sources such as Ahrefs, MajesticSEO, Google Webmaster itself, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually making a dent on your rankings. Google’s algorithm decides when that link starts counting, and it won’t let you know, you just have to watch your rankings.
That being said, when we create links today we’re seeing the impact come much faster. Shortly after we see the link is being picked up by places such as Ahrefs, Majestic, etc. we see our clients’ websites move up on Google, and this used to be a waiting game that took much longer.
Low content websites having a harder time ranking on Google
It used to be easier for us to achieve rankings on Google for websites with thin content, today? That is no longer the case.
Websites that come to us with little to no content (mostly eCommerce type sites with heavy imagery and lacking text) don’t have much of a shot at getting ranked. We find we have to get them ample amounts of content across their website on various landing pages, and then we start seeing keywords come up.
Quality Links + Content together = Amazing
This shouldn’t be a surprise given how much emphasis Google puts on telling you to create good content. That being said, in the past we never saw great content make much of a difference, quality links always did the job regardless of how good the content was.
Today, clients whom we have that have really good content that relates to what people are searching, in-depth landing pages with exact keywords and text throughout the page matching what the searcher is looking for are the ones receiving the best traffic and highest rankings on Google.
Websites still getting away with black hat tactics
Not everything in the algorithm has completely changed – We still see EMD (exact match domain) being highly successful. Google released an EMD update back in 2012, and we never really saw it’s impact truthfully.
I still see so many websites rank well for various keywords because Google can’t seem to decipher between a business/brand name and an EMD chasing after a keyword. By truly penalizing EMD, Google would likewise have to penalize websites that are trying to get ranked for their own brand name.. it seems simple and it should’ve already been fixed, but the success rate for EMD continues to prevail, and you can see it for various products and services you search for by looking at the top 10 URLs and seeing how many of them match the keyword.
Overall, we still see so many low-quality websites using black-hat tactics such as keyword stuffing, duplicate pages, duplicate websites that link with one another and owned by the same person, and much more, and they’re on the 1st page; all of Google’s updates were supposed to hurt these techniques, and yet many legitimate websites were penalized instead who weren’t using these tactics.
So, all in all, most of these are observational theories I’ve come across in my SEO practice, what have you noticed if anything that differs from this?