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Google Misconceptions Part I: Viral Propaganda, Indexing Behaviour & Search Changes

Here’s something every website owner needs to know: for every keyword query, more than 90 per cent of search results won’t get any clicks. SEO gurus and web experts may advocate for 1st-page ranking for your target keywords, but getting first place in the SERPs does not guarantee a steady stream of clicks. At all.

There is definitely more to search engine marketing than meets the eye. It’s a growing science that is yet to reach a set of clear-cut standards. This also means that retrieving or searching for information online is hardly an exact science. It has been 20 years since the world wide web first came into being. But researchers behind search engines have yet to find the most ideal information search and retrieval system.

Viral Propaganda Theory

So how come all these erroneous beliefs about web rankings are popping up everywhere? This brings us to a discussion on viral propaganda theory, which stipulates that frequent repetition of a wrong idea will turn it into a belief that other people will support and spread.

Just about any kind of information is out there – thanks to the Internet. Posers, scammers, sensationalists and rumour-mongers are keen to spread wrong information to serve their own ends. In the guise of pseudoscientific theories, they use jargon to appear legit and professional.

As a website owner, SEO blogger or digital marketer, you are essentially responsible for what you read. Don’t just take in everything you’ve read. Get second or third opinions. Check the author’s background or the background of the company they’re associated with.

If you really want to understand how Google works, don’t just accept any article decorated with charts and pictures. This hardly proves anything. An authoritative source would provide real references and tried-and-tested facts. Furthermore, be careful about sources declaring a new Google algorithm update. Unless it comes straight from the horse’s mouth (meaning Google itself), you should not take such news seriously.

Google Indexing Behaviour

An SEO expert analysed that algorithms use up to 4 charts from analytics. Thus far, Google has indexed around a billion websites. Meaning, the search engine deals with billions of queries on a daily basis. But just because some SERP-conscious techie unearthed some analytics reports that seem to your own website’s SERPs performance, you suddenly think there’s a Google update. And your belief surges when kindred souls share their own experience of traffic loss or surge in the same way you did.

But Google updates false alarms are still few and far between. Technically, Google search engines are updated up to 5 times a day. Google already verified this but crawling frequency may not consistent. Weekend crawls tend to be slower than weekdays (where more people use the Internet).

What do we really know about Google’s indexing schedules? Some online marketers think that updates roll out on weekends and holidays. One reason for this schedule could be to avoid a rabid backlash from the passionate SEO community.

It seems that a handful of SEO specialists and digital marketers are losing faith in Google. They express their fury and frustration on digital forums and comment sections. But how big are these irate marketers? Perhaps a small percentage of the affected population? If such responses are large enough to actually create a proper case, then and only then should we start a discussion.

4 Reasons Why Search Results Change

Briefly, we discuss the Theorem of Four Search Influences, which remain the same to this day. There’s actually little difference between web search then and now. Below are 4 main reasons why search results are not constant:

  1. Changes on a website you own (and updates belatedly kick in)

  2. Changes made to other websites

  3. Changes to a search engine’s algorithms

  4. Search engine users change their queries every now and then

If there were any changes to your website’s backlink profiles, then it can definitely affect your search results.

All these changes all boil down to two things: content and links.

As a digital marketer, you should be aware that the changes Google makes in relation to your backlinks and content may have started days, weeks, or months. So basically, the effects you see in your search referral traffic are not real-time.


Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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