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Is Google Playing Mind Games With You?

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Google uses mind games to make sure that our sites are natural and clean. How does Google do this? Well, it plays on our reactions to fluctuations and puts time delays, strange results, and other things into the mix.

Check this patent pending from Google to get some insight into the games it plays to figure out if the webmaster is trying to manipulate the results or if the site is a genuine high-quality website.

Some webmasters go on the principle that you add a few keywords, tidy the site up, and everything will be OK. In some cases, that is fine and works, but when you get into competitive market places or look at websites impacted by previous Google updates, that type of webmaster will not succeed.

How do you work with these algorithms when they are set out to play with your mind?

  1. Keep everything natural.

  2. Don’t react to every movement in the search engine results.

  3. Keep your site 100% clean.

  4. Only gain natural links and ensure your link profile is natural (for example, not crammed with just directories or just blog posts).

  5. Think about what you are doing with your website and make sure it is to improve the users' experience on your website.

  6. Do not try to trick the search engine in any way.

  7. Make sure your content reads naturally; don’t try to cram in keywords and variations.

The principle to some of these movements is to see how you react. Here's an example.

  1. You update all your title tags on your website.

  2. Google fluctuates your rankings (not how you would expect, to see how you react).

  3. You do react and change them again.

  4. Google the fluctuates your rankings again.

  5. The cycle continues and, until you let it settle, you won’t see your natural ranking positions.

Due to the random results you seem to get, it's hard to put rules around this. I don’t know the algorithm code, but I appreciate what Google is trying to do. If you are a spammer then you will react and Google will just keep mixing it up. If you’re a natural webmaster that does this correctly then you won’t get caught in this loop.

That does not catch every scenario though, as per all the algorithms there are scenarios that fall through the cracks. For example, a spammer may launch 100 websites. Then Google will play games, and 25 might rank well and 75 may not. The spammer will have no intention of ever changing the sites, so will not hit the loop and get caught out.

In conclusion, if you want good search engine rankings then don’t try to trick Google as it will win. Google’s primary objective is to sell advertising and to do that it needs the best search platform possible. So, it will do what it needs to strip out the guff, even if some innocent websites get hurt along the way.

Is Google doing the correct thing?

This is a question I hear all the time! Yes is the answer. Google survives as it is a profitable business; if these profits dip then things change just like any business. Google offers a free service that millions of users interactive with daily, but what a lot of us forget is that Google is not obliged to do this. Google does it as a platform to sell advertising. That means Google will do whatever it needs to do to increase profits, and to do that, Google needs to up user experience. If you reduce spam by 2% and lose 0.15% of good websites then Google will see that as a positive thing for the end user and thus help with its profits. The problem is it’s very frustrating for the 0.15% of sites that have spend a lot of money on their website and have nothing left to show for it in Google.

So, when you think about SEO, Google, and marketing keep in mind that Google is a business like any other and the only way to get sustainable rankings is to play ball. Do what Google wants, and do it well. Give your users the best and in return you will see results, try to try the search engines and watch your website fall. If you want good long term rankings them use an ethical SEO company, like Edinburgh-based Infaweb. They will give you good advice, a solid strategy, and a marketing plan you can work with. This is what you need to ask for when you approach an SEO company.

Keep it natural, high-quality, user-friendly, and accessible. And above all, do not try any funny games or you will always lose to Google!

Jon Harrison is an SEO consultant at Infaweb providing high-quality and tailored services. He also publishes tips on the Infaweb blog.
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Jon Harrison is an SEO consultant at Infaweb ( providing high quality and tailored services. He also publishes tips on the Infaweb Blog (

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  • by Jim Stephens Tue Oct 23, 2012 via blog

    Reading this reassures me that as long as I stick to producing quality content then I don't need to worry about the up and down fluctuations that can drive you crazy sometimes!

  • by Jon Harrison Tue Oct 23, 2012 via blog

    Yes, and your not the only one that is being driven crazy! The key is to have a strategy that works and stick to it. If you are doing something dodgy then chances are you will get stung at some point so why risk your business? Good content and media on your website coupled with good design and quality links. Works a treat and is sustainable. Just expect Google to move things about randomly from time to time :-)

  • by Muzzammil Bambot - Convonix Thu Oct 25, 2012 via blog

    It's an interesting theory about Google and Mind-Games Jon.

    Bottom line is that Google advertising campaign and SEO go hand in hand. If there were no organic search results, where would Google get so many users to click on its Ads. SEOMoz and Hubspot had done an interesting study once that said that 78 % of all search clicks, still were on organic searches.

    SEO till some time ago was probably about adding keywords, METAS directory links etc. which today I would say are probably hygiene factors that need to be followed. The real value today comes from the content and the message all that content together provides the users. This to some extent can compensate for not state-of-the-art user experience. Directories are also good for link building, provided your site is listed in good niche directories.

    The Google updates will keep on happening; it's like a control mechanism to prevent it's own business from going out of business. To think of it, if organic searches give all the desired information every single time to a user, who would click on it's ads; there would be a massive loss to Google and that is something Google cannot afford

  • by Edinburgh SEO Services Wed Nov 21, 2012 via blog

    All the new crazes of certain types of links or certain strategies really irritate me. Why do some people insist on building only one type of link?! Provide good content, a user-friendly website and a variety of links and I always find things end up well however much Google is trying to screw you or throw out everything that isnt a brand or an Ad.

  • by freekeygensrelease Wed Nov 28, 2012 via blog

    All the new crazes of certain types of links or certain strategies really irritate me. Why do some people insist on building only one type of link?!

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