October 16, 2006

Google assures Christmas not cancelled

by Brian Turner


Google has confirmed that it has no plans to apply a major change to how it ranks websites in its search results before this Christmas.

This comes after the past two years have seen major changes implemented before the Christmas shopping season.

In both previous instances, online retailers – especially small businesses often labelled “mom & pop” stores – found themselves losing huge revenues through loss of lucrative search engine positions.

Having strong search engine positions has become a key marketing industry in itself, as internet surfers will often turn to search engines not simply to find general information, but also to search for products and service they are interested in buying.

This makes having high search engine placement an important source of revenue for ecommerce retailers – which is all the more reason why their loss can have such a huge impact on revenues when they change.

However, despite the assurance from Google, recent changes have seen newer websites especially lose placement in Google.

Referred to as the “30 filter” or “-30 penalty”, this feature of Google’s search results drops a website down 30 ranking positions when a threshold is crossed – often from gaining too many links too quickly.

While this filter has been in operation for some time, it appears that the threshold for triggering the penalty has been lowered so that more websites may fall victim to it.

However, small businesses that find this occurs may find comfort – traditionally the 30 Filter is only temporary, and is automatically reviewed every 30 days.

Those websites that can take action to reduce link purchases and similar actions Google frowns on may therefore find their ranking positions returned after 30 days.

Overall, Google may be acutely concerned about negative publicity from such moves – which it previously would spin as “combating spammers”.

However, it’s nice for Google to communicate no major changes before this Christmas, and can only be a relief for those small businesses who are still holding strong rankings on Google into the Christmas season.

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