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Google's ranking algorithm update continues

As mentioned two weeks ago, Google is currently updating its ranking algorithm. Webmasters have given this ranking algorithm update the name 'Jagger'.

The Jagger update is currently in its third stage which means that it will soon be over. If your rankings on Google fell over the last month, you website has probably been affected by this ranking algorithm change.

What has Google changed in the ranking algorithm update?

Google wants to make its search engine results pages more relevant by removing some of the spam. It seems that the following elements are the most common reasons if your Google rankings dropped:

  • hidden text on your web pages (especially text that is hidden in invisible CSS layers)
  • paid links or other links that are considered outside of Google's quality guidelines
  • overuse of internal links or anchor text as the sole source of optimization

What can you do if your website rankings have dropped?

First of all, check if your web page use elements that might be considered spam. Your web pages might contain spam elements that you're not aware of.

  1. If you use CSS on your web pages, search for style sheets that might be interpreted as spam attempts. Style sheets that contain visibility: hidden; might cause problems.

  2. Make sure that you have links from the right web sites. While it is not important if a link is a reciprocal link or not, it is very important that the links are from related sites.

    Links from or to unrelated web sites probably won't negatively affect your rankings (if they did, your competitors could easily harm your rankings) but they also have no positive effect. Make sure that your incoming links come from related web sites.

  3. Do not overuse the same keyword in links to your web site. Better use different but related link texts for links to your site so that the links to your website look natural.

After having removed the spam elements from your pages, continue by optimizing and diversifying. Details can be found in our first article about this Google algorithm update.

If your web site rankings on Google have dropped, don't panic and follow the tips above. Chances are good that you'll get your high rankings back.

If you haven't done it yet, take a look at our free SEO book to learn more about ethical search engine optimization.

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November 2005 search engine articles