SEO News: Google Changes Method of Link Analysis
As many of you know, I like to keep abreast of the various algorithmic changes that Google imposes from time to time. I say abreast, all we can really do here in the SEO industry is take the tid bits of information that Google has only recently begun providing us, and theorise wildly about the real world application of these tweaks.
So, true to form, I wanted to have a little think about the latest revelation from Google. Yesterday, the inside search blog published a list of changes that Google had made to its algorithm in the month of February, and tucked in inconspicuously at the bottom of the page was an item that could potentially affect our precious and hard earned rankings in the future.
“Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.”
So while there are no specifics regarding the change, I feel that the interesting thing to note is that Google is deactivating a method of link analysis which has been working for 7 years. What could bring about such a decisive change? And why has this seemingly monumental change been announced in a small bullet point in a minor blog post?
Well, it’s clear that Google wants to play down this change, probably to stop people like me deliberating for hours on end regarding the specifics! Perhaps the method of link analysis was no longer relevant on the modern web, or perhaps more worryingly it was resulting in SERPs which Google itself wasn’t happy with.
For us in SEO, this is a concern because very often we’ve worked hard on our white hat, ethical link building campaigns to ensure that those SERPs look the way they do. As yet, I’ve not heard reports of rankings taking a nose dive, and my campaigns remain as they did yesterday.
What I think we can say for sure is that this change isn’t going to change the overall importance of links as votes for your site on the web. If that was the case, I think that much more would have been made of the issue by Google, as they would have been keen to point out to less scrupulous webmasters that link spamming was no longer an effective method of SEO.
However it’s clear that something has changed, and so to get the best out of our link building we in SEO need to change something too – only time and experimentation will reveal what that something is.