Evolution of the Google Algorithm

The last two Google updates (especially Farmer/Panda) have pretty well shaken the whole web; and I can echo this with my own large-scale test sites.  I found this cool graphic over at SEOBook that gives a little history of past Google-dances.   I’d like to preface it with 3 points of my own minor critique:

  • rel=nofollow may not be treated exactly the same as dofollow, but it definitely passes value.  This can be tested simply and is echoed across the SEO world.
  • The concept of a link hurting a website is still one that I believe to be wildly misconstrued in SEO.  I’m as big an advocate as anyone of building high-value, relevant, white-hat links.  Not only do they show pretty obvious effects on the SERP’s, but these usually result in the most direct traffic as well (and isn’t traffic what we want at the end of the day?).  Various methods of bulk link building and affiliate links will become devalued (and THAT, will hurt, by association, but not directly), however.  This subtle but important approach is the only thing that keeps SEO’s from ejecting competitor sites from the rankings, and I have yet to see this ever done.  If it ever was possible for even a short time as this chart suggests, it is not possible anymore.
  • While even other Google-dances have made changes that aren’t in this chart, at the end of the day, nothing has completely revolutionized SEO.  As an SEO, it’s found to generally be easier to do something wrong and hit a penalty than it is to increase trust/relevance.  That said, SEO at it’s core, really has not changed much with Google, Yahoo!, or anybody.  The sky will not fall.  The concept at the end of the day is still this-  build a good site that gets good links.

Google's SEO Cat & Mouse.