What's changed in the Matrix…ehm I mean Algos?

Whilst at SMX London last week I attended the session;Whats new with the Algorithm?,now, I had quite high expectations for this session as the panel included: Mikkel deMib Svendsen, Dave Naylor, Dixon Jones and my favourite Icelander Krisijan Mar Hauksson. Not so surprisingly this session was dominated by talking about the new Google PageRank and what is thought to be a change in the linking algorithms with regards to paid links. Not necessarily because the panel wanted to talk about it but the audience brought it up, again and again and again. Yawn

Now I love these guys on a panel together, its so entertaining, a weird mix between Scandinavian irony and Northern English sarcasm = comedy. But, saying that, I was quite disappointed they didnt go further into the different aspects of the algorithm. Maybe the session should have been called Whats old and now more important in the alogorithms??? Now, that might have been more relevant, basically what Im saying is Im bored of the Google PageRank discussion. A few of my clients websites got a decrease in PageRank BUT it hasnt affected their rankings whatsoever. Has anyone else had any change in rankings and traffic since the PageRank update? If so please shout!

Let’s compare the search engine algorithms to the Matrix (why the fuck not?), do you remember this scene from the movie:

Neo sees a black cat walk by them, and then a similar black cat walk by them just like the first one

Neo: Whoa. Dj vu. [Everyone freezes right in their tracks]

Me,ehm I mean Trinity: What did you just say?

Neo: Nothing. Just had a little dj vu.
Trinity: What did you see?
Cypher: What happened?
Neo: A black cat went past us, and then another that looked just like it.
Trinity: How much like it? Was it the same cat?
Neo: It might have been. I’m not sure.
Morpheus: Switch! Apoc!
Neo: What is it?
Trinity: A dj vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.


When one part of the algorithm changes, is adjusted or added to, its likely that the old stuff will change as well, right? Now, I have no doubt that something changed in the algorithms with regards to the PageRank and quite possibly related to paid links. BUT my point is WHY is everyone looking at just the obvious that changed, the more interesting bit is what other things did they change to accommodate this? See where I’m going?

I have a few theories, ok maybe more lose random thoughts, about what has ACTUALLY changed in the Matrix, god damn it, I mean algorithms. And I would love to hear your thoughts on this, let’s get a real discussion about this.

1. IS CTR back in the Algorithms? Once upon a time you had people franticly clicking on their own website in the SERPs to get it higher in the results. As CTR was a quite natural way of measure relevance, ok slightly naive of the SE thinking no one would take advantage of this. We all know that CTR is a significant part of the Quality Score in Google’s paid listings, now isn’t there a chance that this vaild measurment of relevancy is back in the algos, obviously more sophisticated than before, including bounce back measurement etc etc?

2. Content for pity sake! I am such a big believer that it all starts and ends with your content. If you don’t have flipping keyword rich content it does not matter how many links you have. I really don’t think SEO is about sodding links, if you don’t have a keyword strategy and optimise your content properly (without keyword canablizing it to death) you are on your way. But what is the more important part of the content? Here’s my order, and please feel to disagree. I might punch you, but please go ahead icon_wink-2309720

– Title tag (this tag has always been important but I think it’s become even more important in the last 12 months, so don’t fucking ignore it!)
– H1 tag
– Internal links & anchor text
– Main content (now I get a lot of stick for this but I still work on keyword density, not to get an ultimate keyword density or anything like that but to make sure one page will get ranked in-front of the other for targeting as quite often it’s difficult to not keyword canabalize a little, some relevant keywords you just have to use throughout the site.

3. Technical SEO aspects. Now I will gladly admit this is where I know the least. At one of the last sessions at SMX “Website Tuneup” Rob Kerry (evilgreendonkey) did a cracking job at evaluating some really shocking websites. But I must admit I found myself thinking “whatthefuckniwho?” most of the time. Some of these sites were not getting any results simply because of the ridiculous mess their code was in, loads of re-directs going to pages that didn’t exist and loops of endless error messages. This is where we need to start thinking clever, or maybe just basic. I think if a website is built with accessibility in mind it’s quite often SE code friendly as well. Rob can you share some knowledge with us here? What were the tools you used to find out how messy the code was?

So what’s it going to be? The blue or the red pill????

Ha! Google is the “system” and to be able to figure out the system you have to be “in it”. Taking the blue pill is what an SEO will do when all he cares about is earning shit loads of money and spamming the fuck out of Google. Now taking the red pill is always questioning and sharing your knowledge with other SEOs and together achieve greater understanding of the system!


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