By Tom Schmitz
Search engine optimization shifted dramatically during the first half of this decade. I wonder how it will evolve?
Google Got Intelligent
Google has always been smart. When it launched, the PageRank algorithm changed everything, so much so that Google devoured a diverse community of now all but forgotten search engines. As smart as the early Google was, the pre-Caffeine Google was a shadow of this decade’s version.
Looking back, it seems much of Google’s quality assurance, protecting the search engine results pages (SERPs), depended on brute strength. Identify that which was unwanted — such as reciprocal links, directory links, paid text links, article repository links, etc. — and then write a program to recognize and deal with the webspam. This was even more true before the Big Daddy infrastructure update.
When the Caffeine indexing infrastructure went live in 2010, Maile Ohye of Google’s Webmaster Central said that “the entire web is expanding and evolving, and Caffeine means that we can better evolve with it.” She wasn’t kidding. After Caffeine launched, it appears Google got better at identifying what it likes.
For example, Google seeks content that contributes new information, ideas or thoughts to topics rather than rewriting and regurgitating what’s already ranking.
Yes, it has bigger hammers, too (like Panda and Penguin), but today Google feels more intelligent. It’s not just a beefed-up PageRank algorithm with add-on police routines.
Back to the early days: As smart as last decade’s Google was, the SEO community managed to isolate the important ranking factors long before anyone conducted a decent correlation study.
In some respects, the SEO community was smarter than Google. We just lacked the processors and storage capacity to systemize what we knew or thought we knew.
Later, Moore’s Law caught up and the cloud arrived. Companies like Majestic and Moz started crawling enough of the web in …read more