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Google Algorithm Update

January 12th, 2012
Dilbert Google logo

Apparently yesterday while I was at a job interview or on the ferry or otherwise not online, Google made a major change to their search engine algorithm. They call it Search plus Your World which is a pretty lame name. People have already reduced it to an acronym SPYW or as I like to read it “Spy W”. This change was clearly in the works, something anyone who has been observing the evolution of search engines for even a few years, could have seen coming. Chicken Littles are once again out in full force. It certainly has generated a lot of Tweets and link sharing. Plus a lot of screen shots of Google search results.

I’ve actually been experimenting with search engines since my days as an undergrad computer science student. There was no Google back then, the first big search engine was AltaVista. Now there is mainly just Google. Microsoft recently became the number two search engine in North America further rendering Yahoo irrelevant. It isn’t the other search engines that are complaining, nope it is is the other social networks and social sharing servicesThey now see themselves at a big disadvantage and maybe they are. Google search results for keyword Nurgle

It could be because redirects me to or it could be because I hardly use Google+ or it could be because my go to keyword search term that I’ve been monitoring for over a decade is “Nurgle“, but I don’t see much to get upset about or indeed much of a change at all for a keyword I have monitored for an extended period of time.

Trending terms and stupid/cute/funny pictures will more likely see their results drastically change. SEO folks will try to game the new algorithm to get you to stay at their hotel in Bangkok. Travel and other recommendations is one of the areas people expect to see improvements in their personalized search results, that and apparently when looking for pictures of your dog.

I’m sorry if I want to find a picture of the family pet I don’t Google it.

Below are more links where people generally object to the changes Google has made. Apparently the big losers are Twitter and Yelp and probably other niche social networks.

More Changes to Google’s Algorithm

More news from the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog of yet another change to Google’s search results and algorithm. Will this result in more people using Bing or will people just shrug? Will anyone even notice with SOPA/PIPA protests, the US Election, NFL playoffs, pipeline disputes, and winter storms?

It is hard for me to get upset or excited about these minor changes to Google’s algorithm. I don’t have any advertisements on my website, let alone so many that the actual content gets pushed below the fold, requiring users to scroll to find the information they searched for. Google algorithm changes just don’t seem very important in the grand scheme of things, but I’m confident a bunch of people will leave nasty comments on Google’s blog none the less. Some people enjoy being nasty.

Microsoft Responds

Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, made available one of their top brains to respond to Google’s socializing of their search results. Plus the passage of time has allowed people like Andy Betts to write lengthy pieces on how search engine optimization has changed and what is in store for SEO types in 2012, complete with many triangle shaped diagrams.

The only constant is change

This blog has been online for over a decade. I’ve been searching the Internet for dubious content since before Google existed. I’ve lived in China and I assure you Bing and Baidu are both inferior to Google. My blog has actually gotten less popular, a trend I may reverse due to sheer effort but I still get about 60% of my traffic from Google. If you use social media obsessively you can get a lot of referrals that way but my self-promotion leaves a lot to be desired.

I’m currently looking for a new job so I have time to update old blog posts and try to improve my online reputation if not my blog’s search engine performance. These two things are not quite one and the same. I think I have more social media followers than blog subscribers. I never made an email list. I gave away too much content for free. But I’ve learned a lot. I learned enough to pass all three CFA® exams and now my willingness to edit and even delete old blog posts may affect my search engine performance more than Google’s latest algorithm change.

If you need to vent you can leave a comment below I don’t allow spam.

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