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Did Google Just Get More Picky…or More Stupid?

Recent Google algorithm updates beg the question: Do ‘lesser’ search query variables now matter more and why?

Its no secret in the SEO field that Google’s recent algorithm changes have dramatically affected many facets of the search industry. We know that content farms (low quality article “recycling” websites) have been affected. We know too, that larger Search Engine Optimization firms have been outed & penalized for black hat link-building. We also know that Google is diving head-first into Social Media. But something our Orange County SEO experts discovered almost completely on accident has us asking: Does Google now care a lot more about how their users are searching and are they using indexation and ranking changes to influence or indicate this?

Consider the two searches we conducted, as documented in the attached screen-shots, below:

orange county seo Example 1

Orange County SEO Example 2

We recently created a secondary page on our own website that contains the phrase “Orange County SEO“, where we did our best job to randomly apply that phrase and relevant variations of the keyword on each page. We let some time pass and used these pages for testing some of our own SEO practices in the meantime. We then played the waiting game to see how Google and the other major search engines would react to 2 pages on a site targeting nearly the identical keyword and group of synonyms.

The first thing our Southern California SEO specialists noticed was that in one browser session, how the search query was entered influenced which of our 2 pages shows up. Its interesting too, to note how ranking changed (albeit not drastically) in the two examples as well.

Now we can’t help but wonder…

Does this anomaly mean that Google cares about how users search? Is Google’s Panda update less adept at detecting spelling, punctuation and syntax variations for (near-)identical search queries? Does a user’s capitalization of certain words in more broad or vague search queries influence the prevalence of results focusing on proper versus improper nouns? Is this all just the product of our own random SEO testing efforts throwing Google for a loop? What does all of this mean for the business owner’s rankings and overall internet marketing campaigns?

In any event, it makes for interesting discussion in Orange County SEO agencies that care enough to closely study even the most subtle of actions the search engines take in response to the SEO industry. And ultimately, adaptive and forward thinking SEO analysts will note that with so many different ranking and now user variables in play, that most frequently, increasing conversions and growing a client base in natural and manageable ways now matters more than who’s ranking at #1, given that can apparently change depending on which way the wind blows.

If you’re the type of business owner that maybe has suffered set-backs as a result of a one-dimensional marketing campaign, but sees the greater value in long term conversion growth as opposed to just rankings alone, this information can provide some serious food for thought with regard to your own marketing strategies and who you employ for your company’s SEO efforts.

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