In our attempt to stay focused we have been avoiding hanging out at forums, blogs and the like because it is so easy to get sidetracked. However, it can mean that we might miss things and one of these was the recent Google changes. We had no idea it even happened until someone emailed us about it. As it is it didn’t affect us – we haven’t noticed any decrease in traffic and our rankings seem to be in place….that assumes that Google is finished with their little dance of course.
The whole point of this change according to Google was:
“designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on”.
Matt Cutt’s (Google Engineer) has gone on to add that:
“The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original site’s content.”
I would love to see the end of scraper sites but my concern here is how does Google know who wrote the original piece of work? I know that in some cases we can write a blog post and within minutes of publishing it another blogger has the entire article posted on their blog word for word.
It’s a shame really that Google has become as big as it has and that we rely on it so much in this industry. When Google makes a change like this to their search engine algorithm big things can happen and it can affect a lot of people and businesses. In this case, it has hit a lot of the big boys really hard – sites like EzineArticles for instance were one of the hardest hit. And as most of us know, EzineArticles is a site that is relied on heavily by many internet marketers for traffic. So hitting EzineArticles also hits a lot of the smaller guys who are just trying to make a buck.
The flow on effect can be devastating resulting in businesses crashing, people out of work and families struggling to make ends meet. And it might sound like I am over-exaggerating things just a little here but you only have to look at EzineArticles who have lost over 130,000 rankings (according to some sources) to see the massive loss of income that would result from that. Lost income means they may have to cut back and I can’t speak for EzineArticles but generally one of the first things to go in any cutback is staff.
On a personal level, I can see why Google has done this. I know that when I go searching for anything in Google I will ignore sites like EzineArticles, eHow, About.com and Suite101 and similar because I know that it will be rare to find a good quality article from any of those sites. More often than not, my search results come back with short poorly written articles or articles that really only provide the absolute basics so I don’t even bother clicking on those sites anymore.
Sometimes these sorts of shake-ups can be a good thing, despite the impact it can have. In this case, I think it has been a positive move because it is forcing site owners to clean up their act. There are too many poorly created sites with little valuable content…hey we still have a few of those ourselves but we realized sometime back that they don’t work and we are working to revamp those sites so that they have more value and quality content.
In these sorts of situations, survival of the fittest comes into play. Those who have been hit the hardest will be making the big decisions now whether they need to adjust to meet the changes or whether it is all too hard and give up. EzineArticles has already gone into overdrive by making changes to their submission guidelines . I can only think that it may take some time for them to bounce back.
What Can We Learn from This?
I think the main thing to take from all of this is that Google is trying to focus on providing high quality search results. That means that as website owners we have a responsibility to our readers and we need to focus on providing high quality content.
This is something we have been harping on about for months now. We keep trying to instill the importance of providing quality and value to your readers and with these Google changes now in place it is now more important than ever.
It also reinforces why you shouldn’t focus on just one source for backlinks. For those that relied only on EzineArticles for traffic they may be suffering right now. This is why guest blogging is one of the best forms of backlinking. You are not relying on only one website – your links are spread out over many different websites and blogs. Just throw in some commenting, social bookmarking/networking, a press release here and there and you have a nice varied mix of backlinks that Google would be happy with.
Were You Affected by the Google Changes?
Were you affected by the latest Google changes? Please let us know in the comments below.