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November 19, 2009

The Ebb and Flow of The Search Engines And How This Affects Ranking

A lot of businesses employing an SEO consultant or link building company will often spend countless hours checking their Google ranking to make sure they are seeing progress but is this really necessary and are they focussing on the right aspects of the marketing campaign.

Equally they may insist or the consultant may offer monthly report to show that rankings have moved up (and sometimes down) but feedback shows that many business owners do not really understand the report they are getting, as they are expecting a definitive (the search engines are anything but) report, so when they check their rankings they are different but they don’t understand why.

This can lead to a level of distrust on occasion between parties but in reality it is merely a misunderstanding of the natural ebb and flow of the web from the business owners perspective, or perhaps a failure by the SEO consultant or link building company to fully explain the natural state of things to their client before the start of the campaign.

The purpose of this article is to provide business owners with a generic non technical third party perspective on the natural noise of the net,as well as highlighting a number of questions that they should be asking themselves before placing too much emphasis on a simple snapshot of time as the measure of success of the SEO campaign.

Variations in Google (and other search engines) happen on a constant basis which all affect ranking to one degree or another, for example these variations could include: which data center is serving your results (Google relies on a number of different data centres not just one), or what is today’s or even this hours Google algorithm variation that is being used to shuffle and sift the billions of pages in the index to give you your results.

Equally the discovery of a new page on a site or even a link pointing to a site can make a difference as can variations in your page content, and (simplistically) based on this Google does its shuffle and produces the search results that you see.

Are the results the same hour by hour or minute by minute? Well the answer is a definite no and due to these factors two people conducting the exactly the same search could see a different result at exactly the same time, a situation that is further clouded as more localised results are presented in the search engines. Additionally even if you were to conduct exactly the same search an hour (and sometimes minutes later) the search result can vary.

So does this make a ranking report a wasted piece of paper? This will depend on your perspective and understanding of what you are getting so the answer is yes and no.

A ranking report in whatever form you receive it (generally the more you pay the more elaborate it is) is merely a snapshot of time which is subject to a huge amount of variation. In my opinion it should be used merely as a yard stick of performance over time and at best should be used to monitor the trend of the SEO campaign (which could last from a few months to over a year depending on the competitiveness of the clients market) not be seen as a definitive performance metric.

The other interesting fact is that many ranking reports are produced using software that actually violates Google’s terms and conditions by automatically querying the search engines, so to get round this often the report is produced by querying the search engines anonymously from behind something known as a proxy server.

This fact alone can equally skew the reports findings depending on the proxy servers worldwide location.

Instead of watching for potential website ranking changes try to spend the time adding or organising more pages or relevant content to your site, as this will be much more beneficial both in the short and long term.

Author: Dave Talbot: Correct search engine optimisation and link building services are vital ingredients for any websites success in todays online world. Without them most websites will simply not be found and as a result will never be successful visit =>> SEO Southampton for information on effective website marketing strategies