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Why Google is not happy with its results

Google's recent Jagger update has caused a lot of trouble for many webmasters. Although Google tried to eliminate spam pages from its search results, many spam-free web sites have also been hit by this ranking algorithm update.

During Google's update, MSN.com temporarily had a PageRank of 2. Even the spam-free blogs of some Google employees were removed from Google's index (they have been restored in the meantime).

It's obvious that Google had some problems with this ranking algorithm update and that not everything went the way it should.

Why did Google run such a big ranking algorithm update?

Google's founders are not satisfied with the quality of Google's search results. In a new book, Google founder Larry Page told the author what he thinks about the results:

"Well, Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google, is not very satisfied with the results of Google searches.

On a scale of 1 to 10, he thinks that Google delivers about a 3. They want to do everything they can to improve the quality of search."

Given that statement, we can expect quite a lot of Jagger style ranking algorithm updates in the future.

How to survive future Google updates

If you want your website to survive future Google updates, you must find out what Google is trying to achieve with its updates. Google wants to present high quality web sites that are interesting to web surfers in its search results. Whenever Google updates the ranking algorithm, they try to give those sites more relevancy.

If you want to survive future Google updates, you must make sure that your web site looks attractive to Google:

  1. Your web site should have a certain age

    The older a website is, the less dramatic are the fluctuations with each algorithm change. If your website has a certain age and if the content of your website has regular updates then search engines know that it's worth to list your web site because you'll probably still be around tomorrow.

  2. Your web site should have good content

    Search engines want to redirect web surfers to web sites on which they can find useful information. The more content your website has, the better you'll be listed. It's very difficult to get good search engine rankings with a website that has only a few pages.

  3. Links from other sites are still important

    The more websites link to you, the more important is your website. Of course, you shouldn't link to every Tom, Dick and Harry and the other sites that link to you should also be related to your site.

    Consider how the link popularity principle was originally meant: you think that another website is a great resource and then you link to it. If you get links like that, you'll get solid search engine rankings.

  4. Make it easy for search engines to index your site

    Many websites have great content but it is nearly impossible for search engines to index them. If you want high search engine rankings, you should make it as easy as possible for search engines to index your site

We can expect many more ranking algorithm updates from Google and the other search engines. If you prepare your web pages as described above, you don't have to be afraid of upcoming changes.

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December 2005 search engine articles