A couple of things have happened this week that I want to touch on. First, if you’ve searched online in the last day or so, you’ll have noticed Google has removed their ads on the right side of the page. I think this can only be bad news for Google AdWords users. Less real estate for ads means your cost-per-click will be going up, in my opinion. The cost of using AdWords is going up.
The second thing I’ve noticed just happened this weekend. I’m not sure if it’s exactly a Penguin rollout, but it looks like a test of a Penguin-like entity, at least. Back in January, I said the best way to follow this story was to follow searches of the same keywords from day to day and week to week. This past weekend, I’ve seen some surprising movement on all the keywords I’ve been watching. Certain sites dropped in rank by up to 10 spots, while others rose in the listing just as much. Later in the day on Saturday they moved back to their original place. Another check this morning shows the rankings have been rearranged yet again. For the most part, the sites that are losing rank are those that have, frankly, some very spammy backlinks. The sites with more relevant links are winning the Google ranking wars, at least right now.
So, there’s a lot of churning going on right now, both up and down in the rankings. It looks to me as if Google may be testing things prior to a permanent rollout. Keep in mind that I’m only seeing this on Google AUS right now and haven’t noticed any significant changes in the US market, but that could be next in line. If you’re watching keywords in the US and are seeing similar changes, send me a message and let me know what you’re seeing.
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Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.