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Google's Algorithm is Shifting

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As many SEOs have speculated for years, the switch to a more logical algorithm based on user behavior is inevitable. Here are some of the factors that are starting to change search results.

  • Site Performance: This is a key factor for many highly competitive areas. High performance can be the difference between thriving or perishing.
  • Bounce Rate: Google is using a comprehensive measure of how bounce rate can affect your overall rankings. If you're bouncing over 80 percent of the time back to the search results, it's highly likely that the rankings will either be demoted or drop off completely. Between 50 and 60 percent seems to be the average that keeps a site ranked and consistent. However, if you can get the site to bounce less than 20 percent, you'll be performing in the top percentile and consistently rank well. These factors are also known to affect your paid search as well.
  • Links: We all know that links are one of the key factors to getting any page to rank well. The diversity of the links and where they come from can make or break your overall performance.

Here's a list of areas you should target.

  • Blogs
  • Social bookmarking sites, such as StumbleUpon
  • Social chat engines, such as Twitter
  • Facebook -- eventually things will be crawlable!

Other forms of measure that Google is looking at and is extremely important to target: RSS. This platform can have amazing implications in terms of how your articles rank.

Take a moment and look inside your Google Webmaster Tools. You'll notice that Google now tracks the number of your RSS feed subscribers. I've tested the reaction to how having a large subscription base can easily shoot your articles rankings up. The magic number seems to be at least 25 for most things; however, if you can get this number well over 50, it won't be very hard to get highly competitive article themes way up in the rankings.

Content is still very important, but don't expect to launch a new domain with a great set of articles and see any traction whatsoever without a strong and well thought through linking campaign. It may be said that content is no longer king, in a sense, due to the increased importance of a high-quality third-party source to lend credibility to your content.

Product sites are especially seeing this. The competition is getting much more difficult and becoming a large and hard battlefield. Make sure to have credible outside sources review your products and services if you wish to compete. Bloggers are a great source if you have a unique product or offering. Send some of them samples of your products and you may see a huge lift in sales, not to mention search engine rankings for your cool gizmo.

Video contests can be a great way to drive viral links. However, it can be years before you build up an audience large enough to send in video antics. But the effort will be worthwhile when all is said and done.

Thus, drive links, links, and more links if you expect to compete in this new market.

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