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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Change in Google Algorithm –Collateral Damage, Risks & Predictions

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Google Panda Updates - Collateral Damages
The recent change in Google algorithm has significantly hit many businesses of websites that moved down its search rankings from top to bottom creating a tall damage to their businesses. The most vulnerable firms and companies are online publishers associations, content networking sites (demand media) and some news portal including CNN. This has resulted in a major chunk of employees laid off by some of these companies. is one such company that laid off 10% of its workforce last week. Others joining the same list are,, eHow, and and Yahoo's (YHOO, Fortune 500) Associated. 

What I analyze is that the field of digital marketing based on Google is a highly risk business model. With a change in algorithm, the pressure is mounting on SEO agencies. The stakes are high in the Google-search engine game. The top spot on a search page typically attracts 20% to 30% of the page's clicks. CNN Money reports that according to Adam Bunn, SEO director of Greenlight, "after that comes an enormous tail-off: Positions 2 to 3 generates 5% to 10% of the clicks, and links below the fold receive less than 1% of users' attention. Fall off to the second page and your search-engine-driven clicks will be negligible."

As said the stakes are high in Google-search engine game, its high time for SEO agencies to predict the changes and accordingly offer services to clients by setting right expectations. 
Being in the same industry for over 8 years, I analyze the following changes in algorithm.  

SEO Prediction Checklist 2011

  • Content is still king but concept is emperor
  • Devaluation of directory, forum, blogs commenting, signature and article links
  • Drastic change in low quality content sites such as and other Mom  & Pop sites
  • High importance of short URLs from Google perspective
  • Social media link syndication and users' choice to 'like' the link to create real juice
  • Larger document or content rich site may rank better
  • Websites with rich look n feel (usability), SEO friendly navigation and ethical SEOed websites rank well
  • Long URLs are extremely bad
  • Long Title with artificial insertion of keywords may not be useful
  • Page load time should be extremely fast - the most emphasized area
  • Economic use of keywords earlier in content body and HTML (H1, and Title) may be helpful
  • Site map creation continues to hold its own importance
  • Long tail keywords may perform better than short term phrase
  • Content masking using CSS or JavaScript is absolutely a 'no no'.
  • Social media (Facebook, twitter, Linkedin etc) influences strongly in ranking
  • Partial match and sensible anchor text will have some advantage
  • The domains like .gov, .edu, and .org continue to rank top due to users' feedback as Matt Cutts has confirmed it.
  • Keyword rich domain will get lower preference in ranking if content is not relevant
  • Use of canonical tags for duplicate content will have advantage in CMS based websites
  • No follow attribute will continue to gain advantage
  • User vs publisher cum websites will have different treatment in terms of ranking
  • CTR may be an important ranking factor for organic search results because it’s of less ranking factor and more people factors (users' feedback)
Guys, read the possible predictions in advance and spend time to analyze rather than sticking with on-page and off-page optimization as part of your daily work. Otherwise, things become tough in future for survival.  


  1. Very good article, 100% ok with you ;)
    Just 1 question when you say "Content masking using CSS or JavaScript is absolutely a 'no no'. " What about hidden/non-hidden layers used for better user experience (layer deployed on mouse over, drop down menu for category,) - Not sure how google can make any diference between content hidden for SEO purpose and content hidden for better user experience...


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