Do I Hear Butterfly Wings Flapping or Sense a Google Algorithm Update?

The organic search marketer works in an environment where the rules can change at almost any time. Since change can come at any moment, search marketers must constantly be alert and listening for that first flap of a butterfly's wing that will cause the next hurricane. We are always looking for signals of impending changes (or doom, depending on your view), constantly watching for search engine weather reports or blog posts that signal change. Our methods are almost as arcane as those who used to forecast economic change based on Alan Greenspan's briefcase.

Then, changes happen like the recent PageRank update, and the industry watchers gather to inspect the auguries. Well, Google has confirmed one thing -- we can expect the spankings to continue. But, how how many will get slapped, how often and how hard? Will it be, just slaps on wrists for those who have been buying and selling non-Google links (unfortunately, no one will ever convince me that contextual ads are not paid links) or will the changes be broader and far-reaching.

Last week on a weekly podcast The Weekly Insight, I stated my belief that this change is but a signal of broader changes to come. Like many SEOs, including Mike Grehan, I do not put a lot of emphasis on PageRank as reported by little green bars. I do believe though that the changes being reported are a signal that more is yet to come, and I don't just mean selective spankings or tweakings of green bars. So much for my hyper-acute listening for the flap of butterfly wings.

About the author

Amanda Watlington is the owner of Searching for Profit, a search marketing consultancy focusing on the interaction of the consumer with businesses using search engines, RSS, blogs, podcasting or other new media to deliver their message. She is a frequent speaker at Search Engine Strategies, WebmasterWorld and other industry conferences. She's the author of three books and has written feature articles for over thirty magazines and journals. She has twenty years of experience as a communications, sales and business strategy consultant, and over ten years as a search marketer.