Google has been working hard to reward genuine websites and punish spam websites by way of improved ranking algorithms. However, while Google brings hopes to countless webmasters and web owners through updates such as Panda, Penguin, and now EMD, spammers too seem to be hard at work to circumvent Google’s efforts.Instead of completely eliminating spam from their results, which is anyway extremely difficult for any search engine, Google has managed to cut down the time that spam websites figure higher on their rankings. While earlier, such sites achieved high rankings for weeks, Google’s algorithm updates have managed to push them down within days or even within a matter of hours.
There are several factors taken into consideration by search engine bots of Google while trawling and indexing the internet. Revised algorithms now look for update frequency of each website where quicker updates mean improved ranking. In addition, Google algorithms are please with unique content without duplication across pages or sites, lower bounce rates along with traffic data that is combined with on-page and off-page, high quality of internal and external links, positive SEO techniques used to optimize the website, etc.
Off-page factors that affect rankings include type and quality of links. Google tries to determine if the links are natural, i.e. used in a genuine advertising campaign without trying to change SERPs, or whether they are unnatural, i.e. whether they have been placed merely to boost search engine ranking. Once Google perceives a high level of unnatural links then their bots will flag your website and this could result in lower rankings in the near future.
Google seems to be in a bind on whether to keep on improving their algorithms in a bid to stay ahead of spammers or to adopt a completely new approach to banish spam for good. However, in an ideal world, Google should provide rankings in a way that cannot be manipulated by spammers, should be able to instantly differentiate between genuine and spam websites, provide an opportunity for truly good new websites to appear near established websites, be able to instantly identify and reward a website that uses positive SEO, and other ideal parameters that have been clearly specified by the company.
However, in the real world, Google does not seem to have evolved to such a level while spammers have managed to thwart the company’s efforts to a great level. Other search engines such as Blekko have improved their algorithms to a level that it provides far better results in specific forms of content although the same has not yet been achieved on a large scale. Each search engine on the World Wide Web has its own pros and cons, and a lack of transparency compels webmasters and web owners to keep on trying to improve rankings using vague guidelines and educated guesses.
The only way for SEO experts to ensure improved rankings and prevent getting penalized at present is by continuous testing as well as benchmarking in a bid to please search engine bots. Hence, SEO teams need to continually evolve with each Google’s algorithm updates even as spammers do the same to stay ahead of the game.