Gerrymandering The Google Search Results
Every few months, you will see posts by many people declaring
that Google has it in for their website. Often, you see threats
about how the webmaster plans to sue Google for hurting their
business' profits. On and on it goes... Every webmaster who was
dropped from Google's top search result pages wants to believe
that Google singled out their website and their business for
punishment and extinction.
How The Google Search Results Is Related To Gerrymandering
According to Wikipedia.com, "Gerrymandering is a form of
redistricting in which electoral district or constituency
boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage."
Most states in the US redraw their electoral districts at least
every decade. In 36 of the states, the state legislature is
responsible for drawing the new districts -- in principle to
account for shifts in population -- and the governor is required
to approve those changes.
With nearly every redistricting, the party who is out-of-power
generally screams foul. The argument is always that the political
party in power adjusted the lines to improve their ability to win
elections and control the electoral power structure.
The entire process of redistricting is a good analogy for the
Google algorithm changes. The people in power (Google) redraw the
lines, and the party out-of-power (the webmasters who dropped in
ranking) cry foul, threatening lawsuits and other actions.
Something Right And Something Wrong
Of course, the same webmasters screaming about having dropped in
Google's search results did not have a problem when Google
allowed them to climb in the search results previously.
People only moan about things when they are on the way down. When
they were on the way up, they danced on the coffins of their
competitors without a care in the world.
The truly funny thing about it is that when people were on their
way up in the Google search results, they told all of their
friends that "they" did something right. When they are on their
way down, "Google" did something wrong.
Shaky Foundations For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
PROBLEM: If the website dropped out of Google's top 1000
results, then I am willing to bet that in nearly every situation
of this type, the webmaster had done something wrong in the last
few years, and Google has just now caught on to this infraction.
For example, in years past, link farms were utilized by
webmasters and accepted by Google. Then Google began to consider
link farms to be "bad neighborhoods."
Link farms are the kind of thing that can be easily recognized by
human and search engine alike. So, the link farms were tagged as
"bad neighborhoods" and their values were discounted to zero,
and the websites linked from link farms got a minus points for
their participation in the link farms.
It was a bad practice that the webmaster had participated, and
Google finally got around to penalizing the websites whose
rankings were supported by these shaky foundations.
SOLUTION: If you try to put yourself into the shoes of the
experts at Google, and you wanted to improve the Google search
results, what would YOU do? Before you answer this question,
remember that you work for Google and not for yourself. What
would you do? What would you do different?
"White hat" and "black hat" SEO methods are an analogy of
Search Engine Optimization techniques that refers back to the old
cowboy classics, where the "good guy" always wore a "white
hat" and the 'bad guy" always wore a "black hat".
While you are working for Google, take a look at the SEO
technique you are thinking about using for your own website.
Chances are that if you deem a SEO technique to be "gray hat"
(something in between ethical SEO and unethical SEO), then
chances are that someday that technique will be deemed "black
hat" by the Google engineers. And if the SEO technique is
"black hat," it will likely be targeted for discount by Google
at some time in the future.
If you delve into "gray hat" or "black hat" SEO, you may be
able to rocket to the top of the Google search results quickly,
but you will not be able to hold that position for long. Google
will eventually get wise to your gimmick.
If you can "white hat" your website to the top of the search
results, your future ranking will likely hold its ground for many
years to come.
Your Competition Out-Played You
PROBLEM: If a website dropped a few positions in the Google
search results, I am willing to bet that in nearly every
situation, one of the website's major competitors out-performed
them in the search results.
There are certain things that you can do correctly, to elevate
your own listings in the search engine results. Because you have
the capability to do these things, your competitors also have the
capability to do these things.
Well guess what? Your competitor did what you should have done.
They set up marketing systems to ensure that they could climb in
the search results, and they climbed enough to pass you by.
SOLUTION: Do those things that you know you should be doing. And
more importantly, do them consistently. Your competitor wants
your placement in the search results, and they are going to do
what it takes for them to get there.
So, it is imperative for you to keep moving forward in the
process of building your ranking in the search engines. When you
stand still, resting in the comfort zone of where you reside
today, then you are bound to be overtaken by someone who wants to
be where you are, a little bit more than you do.
Stir That Pot
PROBLEM: If a website dropped a few pages in the search results,
the cause for the drop may have been caused by a combination of
the two above-mentioned problems: shaky SEO foundations, and
SOLUTION: Keep your eye on the big picture. You know what you
have done to strengthen your website in the past. Keep learning
and keep growing.
If you find that something you had done in the past may affect
your website negatively in the future, implement "white hat"
SEO techniques to strengthen your position, and make plans to
eliminate your reliance on "black hat" SEO systems before
Google does it for you.
Don't Make The Mess And You Won't Have To Clean It Up
Some may think my approach to housecleaning is an indication of
laziness. I consider it to be an indication of good time
management. I prefer to reserve my time for things that are more
My theory towards housework -- and I try to teach this to my kids
often -- is that if you don't want to clean up the mess, don't
make the mess in the first place. If the house is not messy, you
don't have to clean it. So, don't make the house messy.
I utilize the same approach to my websites. If I do it "white
hat" and above-reproach the first time, then I won't have to go
in and fix my rankings everytime Google changes their
Stop Standing Still
Do remember that for most every search term you compete to rank
for, there are probably another one million web pages competing
to rank for the same keyword phrase. Getting to the top of the
search engine results is a process, not a destination. You must
keep competing to maintain your spot at the top of the search
If you want to get to the top of the search results, you will
have to take positive steps to get there. And, if you want to
maintain your top position in the search engines, you need to
keep doing the things that put you in that top spot in the first
Bill Platt is President of Platt Services, Inc. and owner of
LinksAndTraffic.com . He has been involved in article marketing
and link building since 1999. If you are looking to have someone
build keyworded anchor text links to your website, using targeted
and interesting content as the foundation, then Bill's team can
help you: www.LinksAndTraffic.com - If you would prefer to
talk to Bill by phone, he can be reached at 405-780-7745 between
9am-6pm CST, Monday thru Friday. www.PlattServicesInc.com