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Battle of ranking continues….

With so many updates in a short period time and Google slowly and gradually becoming an answer engine rather than a search engine, the battle of getting good organic rankings on a shrinking organic space is on a high note. This battle continues and has become stronger than before. Let’s see what changes Google did and how ranking has an effect on that.

Panda Update (Image source:- Fanpop)
The Panda Update

The very famous Panda update was done in Feb 23,2011 . This was done to improve the quality of search results and to eradicate content farms. This update used machine language scalability and quality ratings as factors for judging the importance of a web page.

The Result- It affected almost 12% of search queries and eradicated many smaller websites who were operating in little niches.

The Penguin Update

Penguin update was done to minimize the effects of web spam on search results. It happened on 24th Apr, 2012.Penguin penalized websites that had suspicious and spammy backlinks, lack of user friendly content and less social media presence. Now, more social media presence and good natural links were needed.

The Result- It affected almost 3% of search queries and removed many websites from the search results who used to enjoy good rankings for the past several years.

The Emanuel Update

This is the most recent update which Google did and still official statements are on waiting. With this update, Google has decided to lower the rankings of websites which receives enough DMCA notices for copyright infringement. Hence, if you are maintaining a website then you need to see there are no copyright violations. Continuous copyright violation request would result in lower rankings.

The Result- It would affect the smaller sites and many would loose Google rankings. Big brands would remain unaffected.

High weightage on domain authority

The authority of the domain has been given a high weightage and sites that are enjoying good reputation with Google would be benefitted more than before. Wikipedia and are some of the sites that enjoy high domain authority.

The Result- New sites have to wait for long periods of time to gain domain authority and gain search engine visibility. Content has little to do. High domain authority is one of the basic reasons that Google is displaying many results from the same site. The wealthier would grow wealthier and the poorer would remain poorer.

Other Changes in Google slowly becoming an Answer Engine
Answer Engine (Image source:- Wikispaces by dicovery education)

The Knowledge Graph

With the introduction of Knowledge Graph in May 16th  2012, the Big G, entered into its most desirable place of becoming an answer engine. Knowledge graph displayed information related to the search query and avoided the reason for the people to visit actual websites to have a glimpse of the content. It is a huge database of 500 million real-world people, places and things and is in the process of continuous updation. Knowledge graph provided answers to the people on the Google result page itself. This meant, people would spend more time on Google and the possibility of clicking on an ad would increase.

The Result- Knowledge graph avoided the need of visiting websites and instead provided the information user is looking for right on the Google result page itself. The list of Google suggestions would also make use of knowledge graph which means every suggested query would have a corresponding knowledge graph- a win win situation for Google. Surely it would hurt thousands of website in the coming years.

Showing data from Email

Now, Google would also use the data from emails to present relevant information along the right side of the search results. It would show results directly from the gmail if it thinks its related to the search query.

The Result- Gmail is a property of Google and it displays advertisements on Gmail. If the users are spending more time on Gmail, it means it gives Google a greater chance and more time to display ads infront of the audience.

Google would be able to answer back to your queries

Its in the process of making and soon you would be able to use Google as an answer engine responding to your queries. Amit Singhal , the Google fellow has suggested this sort of development in the official Google blog.

The Result- It is better from user point of view and people may use it with ease. Proper feedbacks can be given after its official launch.  

Who will win the battle?

The battle would be won by large brands. The power of money would work , brands that can invest huge sums of money in social media channels for promotion, brands that can employ secret link builders for doing so called natural link building would eventually survive.
The smaller businesses who have limited or no investment capacity would get buried deep under the search results. They simply cannot expect good search engine visibility.

What’s bad?

The entire focus has been shifted to publicity. Brands that can publicize themselves would emerge as winners. Content has little to do in this. Domain authority has been given a high importance and weightage. Brands with high domain authority can get good rankings even if they do not provide sufficient content on their sites. Google should look into this and must make changes in its present algorithm to judge the quality of content and give it a similar weightage. There are several websites that are having excellent content which are tremendously useful for the user but they lack publicity. The worst part is - in majority of cases, publicity comes to those that are having higher rankings on Google or to those that are paying money for the publicity but Google is a search engine. It's main purpose is to find valuable content on the web and present it before the user even if the content lacks publicity. Good content when presented before the user becomes popular but in the present scenario, Google is not allowing the small businesses to excel. Google should not become a puppet in the hands of bigger brands but instead give a more weightage on relevance.