Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon; It would seem that Google has unleashed almost every animal that it can think of in a bit to prevent the manipulation of its search results by keen webmasters and every time one of these new updates comes out there is always talk that SEO has come to an end and that it is no longer possible to manipulate the search engines.
If you sit back and think about it, the updates are just really Google’s way of responding to weaknesses in its own algorithms – sure each time one of those weaknesses is patched it can no longer be exploited but there will always be another weakness. It is the nature of computing that dictates the undying ability to reverse engineer any system that is put in place, google algorithms notwithstanding.
The latest update from Google dubbed Phantom 2 is a quality update that has had a wide spread effect on rankings across the board. To some this will once again signal the end of SEO but to me it just shows that Google are getting desperate and are clearly changing their tactics from the unleashing of wild beasts to scaremongering with mythical creatures.
The reality is that Google can only use machine learning to rank websites in the best way possible but all of their efforts have to be automated – sure they have some manual reviews in certain areas rife with manipulation such as the payday loans niche but in most areas they steer clear of this, seeing manual intervention as a weakness, so they are always using what is essentially a computer algorithm to determine how relevant any particular site is in regard to a search query. This algorithm can always be gamed because it has a set of ideal parameters that it will accept as being the best.
Whilst the job of a search engine optimisation expert may change from day to day in terms of the specific manipulations that need to take place the overall objective is always the same – to guess the ideal input that is required to satisfy that algorithm – and this can be achieved in only one way – experimentation.
As long as the SEO community keep changing tactics as often as Google keep changing their algorithms then SEO will never be dead and Google will never rain supreme.
Besides, the reality is that Google simply aren’t very good at effectively ordering search results and if they truly managed to gain 100% control over the SERPS then people would probably go elsewhere for Internet queries because it is often the enthusiastic webmasters that so desperately try to get their results to the number one spot on Google who actually have the best information to offer the people that are searching for the keyword or phrase in question.