Is your website in turmoil??? A number of websites are not ranking well. Traffic way down, earnings down. This is mainly due to many pages being in Google’s supplemental index and so the sites not getting the long tail of search.

In a recent thread on WebmasterWorld, people observed that there are Signs of Fundamental Change in Google’s ranking algorithm. Per an Axandra newsletter, and a client site I have just been called to help, it looks as if more pages have been added to Google’s supplemental results. It is possible that Google might re-rank the results based on new quality criteria.

Per Axandra, “What’s new in Google’s ranking algorithm?It seems that Google internally returns a first set of results that is then re-ranked according to multipliers determined in testing just this set of results.

If your web site is not included in the first set of results then the re-ranking step cannot help you because no new results are added.

If your website is included in the first set of results then the re-ranking can either help you or hurt your rankings. If your web site fails one of the re-ranking tests, then your rankings scores (relevance score, trust score, website age score, etc.) might be lowered and your rankings will drop.

Such a new ranking method would explain the yo-yo effect that can be observed for some URLs: a web page goes from search result page one to the end of the results and comes back again. The same web site is always part of the first result set but re-ranked differently.

Are more pages going supplemental? Google might use the new system to quickly get the first set of results (probably cached sets of results). To make the primary index less unwieldy, more pages might be moved to the supplemental results.

The supplemental index would only be accessed if the total number of sites in the primary index fell below a threshold.

What can you do to benefit from the new algorithm? If you want to get high rankings with Google’s new algorithm then you must create a trustworthy web site with good content:

  • Get good inbound links from trusted websites to raise the TrustRank value of your own web site.
  • Get links from websites that have many backlinks (these pages usually have a high TrustRank).
  • Improve the co-citation of your website by getting link from web pages that link to other sites that are related to yours.
  • Try to get links from pages that link to other trusted pages next to the link to your site.
  • Optimize the content of your web pages to show Google that your web pages are relevant to a special topic.

High Google rankings are still the result of two important factors: optimized web page content and the right inbound links.

Some Quotes from Webmasterworld Signs of Fundamental Change in Google’s ranking algorithm.

The following is what I have personally observed of a clients website. I had SEO’ed the pages fairly well, and had achieved and still are achieving good rankings for many pages. However, the long tail search has disappeared due to pages being in supplementary results.

” Things we have observed

  • Our site is like 9 years old and is a pr 7 flirting with 8 “authority site”, we have hundreds of thousands of links.
  • Over the last 2 weeks a massive portion of our pages have been moved to the supp index, when I mean massive I mean 85% of the stuff that has been in for years. Unique hand made highly deeplinked stuff.
  • I know toolbar pr means nothing but I see 3 floating sets of toolbar pr.
  • Our google traffic is down about 35%
  • Much of the stuff replacing our pages makes almost no sense at all. Not even vaguely related to the subject. We have been doing this before Google was alive and we will be here long after but after some reflection I had a good friend in the industry double check our stuff and make sure its not us, he does work for many of the webs biggest properties.

After careful review he said (and SearchMasters agrees) “when google is messing with sites like this, nothing is sacred anymore”

That about wraps it up for us, we are moving on to other focuses and not playing this childish game anymore.”

Another quote:Google has some serious root issues that can’t be explained

Conclusion* Google can’t be trusted

  • Rankings in general over the last months have been relatively stable and predictable. A time of uncertainty has arrived for some websites
  • SEO your websites to the best of your ability to reduce the chance at Google taking offense at your site. But even then, its still possible that Google might do harm for seemingly no reason. Several months later, your site could be back on the rankings.
  • Get SearchMasters to personally advise on the SEO of your website. Maybe there are a few things that could be done better on your site? Maybe there are a few conspiracy theories that can be put to rest?

All the best!