Search's Social Tie To Reputation And Rankings


Google last week made a significant change to its ranking algorithm, a move required before continuing to layer social signals of traditional search engine results. The company will need to rid results of less relevant content to serve up the important stuff based on personal preferences. The change will become more important to a company's reputation and page placement in query rankings. 

Take a look at how Google's tweaks have begun to influence search rankings, especially on Yahoo's Associated Content, and Demand Media's It turns out that Associated Content and Mahalo lost out, but Demand Media improved.

Aaron Wall at SEOBook took numbers generated by Sistrix to create a list of sites (not in the original) that demonstrate traffic gains or losses based on the change. The sites are similar to, which many believe to be a "content farm."

Fionn Downhill, vice president of strategy at SEO house SyCara and CEO at Elixir Interactive, agrees that the change will produce positive results, but says "more needs to be done algorithmically to control link spam that influences ranking."

The change levels the playing field, so those searching on the engine get access to better, more relevant content faster, rather than being bombarded by useless pages designed to con people into clicking on ads, according to Joshua Bixby, co-founder and president of Strangeloop. "I think it is true that some good sites might get caught in the net amongst the bad, but the true goal is to weed out the worst 'content farm' offenders who have been trying to fix the field for some time," he says. "Although there is a chance Google's efforts will catch the big guys first, allowing new offenders to spring up in the midst, I feel this is a tremendous strategic move forward for the industry."

As marketers tweak the content on sites and strategy, it will become interesting to watch how the move alters the outcome of search results. Bixby suggests that marketers focus on refining the quality of their sites to ensure that content is fresh and poignant so their domains continue to rise to the top of the rankings. In the end, it's a positive move for marketers looking for targeted leads and consumers who want to quickly find content online.

Reputation will become increasingly important to search engine rankings as the landscape begins to integrate social signals. While Google must rid search query results of spam and irrelevant content, companies will need to invest in building links -- not buying them -- and focus on treating the brand and the site as long-term investments to build on.

1 comment about "Search's Social Tie To Reputation And Rankings".
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  1. Jerry Johnson from Brodeur, February 28, 2011 at 8:04 p.m.

    Weeding out spam is a good thing. Over-dependence on search, and specifically a single search engine, is not. This is a reminder of the need to (a) understand and play by search rules; and (b) not be totally dependent on them.

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