Now the little guys have a chance in Google too. Let me explain why.
Up until the recent algorithmic change, SEOs have been complaining about the power of big brands. Big brands dominated the search index because of the power of their domains. (reputation, links, trust, etc) It was as if they could post anything they want and almost instantly rank #1 for that term. Google was paying attention.
The algorithm change that was launched in May has been dubbed the “Mayday” update because many folks are convinced that it’s a mistake and that Google will roll it back. I doubt it. I think they are right on the money with this one. Instead of relying on powerful domains and solid internal linking structures for ranking pages, the individual pages are now standing on their own. It makes sense – just because you’re a big brand doesn’t mean that you have a document that’s more important than another sites’ document. For example: A document on a less important site (compared to a big brand) may be more useful to a searcher (and have the same number of links) compared to a page with less useful information ranked solely upon the power of a big brand root URL. Now it seems that those two documents are being compared as equally viable competitors instead of one document being from Beverly Hills and one from Starkville Mississippi. (sorry Rob, best hillbilly town I could think of)
Some people are honestly freaking out about “massive losses of traffic” on their “authority sites.” Well, they’ve been turning out crap for content and getting it ranked based solely on the power of their domains. This change in Google might root out some in-house SEOs that over-sold their experience and qualifications and have been coasting by based on the power of their big brand. They’d better get with the program and get back to basics fast or they might find themselves on the street.
Has this affected me or my clients? You bet. We’re getting more traffic! Why? Because I believe in a solid SEO campaign based on what I call the Keyphrase Pyramid. My Pyramid starts with the very long-tail of search. We start building content and links for that long-tail and then as time goes on we keep building upon that wide, deep base with higher and higher value keywords until we reach the top one or two big performers. As the content and links grow and we capture more popular phrases, traffic expands exponentially. This little update has just compressed the timeline it takes to increase traffic. If you take the time to build a strong base of content and links, you won’t go wrong. If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my 13 years as an SEO it’s that content is king, links are queen, and slow-and-steady wins the race every time.