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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Lately we have been talking on the phones quite
a bit about the Jagger Update. We have found some great interesting information
regarding the update that we will be posting over the next several days to
assist our readers in fully understanding the impact the Jagger Update has had
on Reciprocal Linking.

At the bottom of this particular article it
states things to do for your SEO. If you have had your site redesigned by us,
you are using the proper Site Map for Google. If you have not used our services
as of yet and would like to update your Site Map, you can purchase our service
for 69.95.

The BIGGEST thing you can do for your website
is to add more content! It is very difficult to fake good content and we will
see the search engines basing your placement more and more on the content of
your site.

Google’s Jagger Update Completing Cycles
By Jim Hedger

Ever since Google introduced its latest
algorithm update in September, a fair amount of column space has been dedicated
to telling webmasters and small business owners to wait until the update is
complete. In so much as it can be said that the Jagger Update will ever be
complete, the final cycle of the immediate update appears to be playing out.

Jagger was a different sort of algorithm update
for Google. Its infamous predecessors, Florida and Hilltop were generally
limited shifts in the values Google assigned domains based on content and links.
After the immediate punch of previous updates, the search engine results pages (SERPs)
would generally return to a stable and predictable state. SERPS generated by
Jagger are expected to constantly update themselves with a greater degree of
flux and change.

So, what exactly happened during the Jagger
Update and what might it mean to your website? Quite a bit as it turns out.

The Jagger Update was introduced for three main
reasons. The first was to deal with manipulative link-network schemes, sites
generated with scraped content and other forms of SE-Spam. The second was to
allow and account for the inclusion a greater number of spiderable documents and
file types. The third was to allow and account for new methods of site
acquisition beyond the use of the spider Googlebot.

The update made its first public appearance in
late September but had its greatest impact in early October. At that time,
hundreds of thousands of websites that enjoyed previously strong listings were
suddenly struck and sent to the relative oblivion found beyond the second page
of results.

Most of those sites lost position due to
participation in what Google obviously considers inappropriate linking schemes.
This was actually one of the first conclusions we came to in late September
based on the experience of a few clients who joined link-networks that had not
been recommended or vetted by our link-experts. This is now backed up by
discussion in various search engine forums. While most of those hurt by this
part of the update are good people running honest businesses, Google put out
notice that irrelevant link-networks, no matter how simple or complex, are
unhealthy additions to what might otherwise be a good website.

The problem Google faced was some webmasters
misunderstood what links are for and how Google uses them to rank documents. For
some unknown reason, many webmasters or site administrators participated in
wholesale link mongering, bulking up on as many inbound links as possible
without consideration of the most important factor (in Google’s estimation), the
relevance of inbound links.

Now, Google appears to be applying filters
based on

historic data
it has collected about all sites in its index over time. In
other words, Google likely knows a lot more about documents linking to a
particular website than the person who placed or requested the link in the first
place. SEOs and webmasters should brush up on the “Information
retrieval based on historical data
” patent application Google filed on March
31, 2005 for highly detailed information.

Google is judging sites on who they link to
along with who links to them. Before the update, a link from your site to an
irrelevant site was more a waste of time than a waste of opportunity. Today
irrelevant links seem to be both. Google’s desire to offer stable and highly
relevant SERPS while preventing outright manipulation of those SERPS was the
biggest cause of the shift.

The second and third reasons for updating the
algorithm at this time is the allowance for indexing documents or information
obtained through alternative sources such as Google Base, Froogle, and blogs and
other social networking tools. Google’s stated goal is to grow to include
reference to all the world’s information. That information is being expressed in
multiple places using several unique file formats, some of which are difficult
to weigh against others. By checking the file or document in question against
the long-term history of documents linking to it, Google is better able to
establish its theme and intent.

Mass adoption of blogs, while promoted by
Google gave the search engine a number of problems. Webmasters and search
marketers will take almost any opportunity to promote their sites, by any means
available. Blogs provided ample opportunities and soon issues ranging from
comment spam to scraped content Splogs started to gum up the SERPS. By comparing
document content with the history of other related documents in its index,
Google has become much better at spotting blog-enabled spam.

Google faced problems with forms of search
engine spam such as fake directories and on-page spamming techniques such as
hiding information in CSS files. The Jagger Update seems designed to deal with
these issues by applying Google’s vast knowledge about items in its index
against every document or file it ranks. A site that scrapes content, for
example, might be weighed against the documents that content was originally
published on and the intent of the republisher. One that hides information in
the CSS file will similarly trip Google’s memory of how the same domain looked
and operated before the spam-content was inserted.

The third reason for the algo update comes from
the expansion of Google itself. Google is now much larger than it was when the
Bourbon update was introduced in the early summer. Audio and video content is
spiderable and searchable. Google’s comparison shopping tool Froogle is starting
to integrate itself in with Google Local, just as Google Local and Google Maps
are beginning to merge. There is some speculation in the SEO community that
Google is preparing to integrate personalized data into the search results
served to specific individuals. A strong assumption is that Jagger is part of
Google’s movement towards personalization though there is little to firmly point
at to support this idea.

If your website is still suffering the lagging
effects of the Jagger Update, your SEO or SEM vendor should be able to offer
good advice. Chances are, the first thing he or she will do is a point by point
inspection of your inbound and outbound links associated with your website.
Next, they will likely suggest making it easier for Google to spider various
document file types in your site by providing an XML sitemap to instruct
Google’s spider cycle. Lastly, they will likely suggest a look at how website
visitors behave when visiting your site. Site visitor behaviors will play a part
in Google’s view of the importance and relevance of sites in its index. The
introduction of Google Analytics provides webmasters with a lot of free
information regarding site visitors, along with other information on how the
site fares on Google’s search engine. It also provides Google with a lot of
information about sites running it. More on the effect of Google Analytics on
the SERPS next week.


Jim Hedger, Search Engine News Writer -
Jim Hedger is a writer, speaker and search engine marketing expert working for
StepForth Search Engine
in Victoria BC. He has worked as an SEO for over 5 years and
welcomes the opportunity to share his experience through interviews, articles
and speaking engagements.

by: Shawna Seigel

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