Nearly anyone and everyone involved with search engine optimization and Internet marketing is aware of the famous "Florida" update by Google that caused many commercial sites to lose their Google ranking and position.
Industry experts speculated as to why Google made such radical changes to their algorithm. Those sites that no longer ranked well for popular search terms had to take drastic steps in order to salvage the holiday purchasing season. Many noted the timing and thought perhaps Google was attempting to capitalize on the Google Adwords Pay-Per-Click advertising program. Others simply whined that though their site contained commercial material, it also contains valuable content and was unfairly penalized.
What many failed to acknowledge is that Google has every right to make algorithm changes and if they choose to drop sites that lack relevance, it is their business. Listings in Google's main search directory are free. Many have profited from Google's ability to send traffic for years. Google doesn't owe anyone, anything, least of all an explanation of their algorithm changes. Businesses that rely on Google's free listings as their sole source of web traffic lack good sense. Google, being an independent company, reserves the right to run their business as their management sees fit. If you are unhappy with Google stop using them for searches.
If the results that Google serve lack relevant listings, then find another engine to use! It has happened before and it will happen again. It is the law of supply and demand. If Google is unable to provide relevant content that searchers demand, Google will become irrelevant. Look at the how the search engine landscape has changed over the past few years: AltaVista is no longer the leader, Infoseek no longer exists and others are barely resemble what they once were.
As for the commercial sites who have been battered by the Florida update here are some suggestions:
- make your site relevant!
- submit to other search engines (MSN, Inktomi, Lycos etc..)
- pay for traffic (pay-per-click and pay-for-inclusion)
- develop traffic from alternative sites
- rely on traditional methods of advertising
- promote your website in your signature line in newsgroups
- promote your website on your business cards or on mailings
- participate in industry specific directories
- participate in vertical market pay-per-click the return on investment tends to be *much* higher though the traffic is significantly less
The bottom line is become proactive rather than reactive, stop whining about Google and find alternate sources of web traffic.
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net a company specializing in alphanumeric paging, SMS and wireless messaging software solutions. Other sites by Sharon can be found at http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com , and http://www.small-business-software.net