Today’s Search Insider on MediaPost reinforces the fact that search engine optimization is not an amateur sport. The piece describes the “dark magicians??? of SEO who are “masterful in their manipulation of algorithmic loopholes.??? They are a rare breed because SEO is so complex. Just considering the number of people dedicated to cracking the code of search engine rankings should be enough to discourage website owners from trying to improve their rankings on their own. But knowing that even experts are often stumped by the forces underlying search engine results makes it clear that websites must consult someone steeped in SEO in order to stay relevant.
Google has been baffling SEO experts since it started. Back in 2003 it stirred things up with the notorious “Florida Update??? which drastically altered its search results. A keyword that produced one set of results before the update was now producing different results, and SEO aficionados set out to figure out what had changed and how exactly Google was now ranking results.
WebWorkshop summarized the many theories that sprang up to explain the update. Among them were that Google had started filtering search results, that they were treating some keywords differently than others, or that they were favoring informational sites over commercial sites. The rampant speculation didn’t necessarily explain the process involved in producing search results but it proved that SEO is a tricky task. While we now know that things like the number of links to a page boosts its search ranking, website owners who leave their search engine rankings to chance, or who try to take it into their own hands, are probably not doing their website justice.