Calm Before The Storm


Before jumping on to the issue of my observations about google search engine ranking, let me just say that today is my son’s 11th birthday. I woke up early in the morning so that me and my wife could wrap his gifts before he awakes. Should have done it last night. One of the gifts he asked for was a recorder, a musical instrument more commonly known as a flute. I have scoured around for it a week ago and found one in a little old music store. Made in Germany. Happy birthday son! 🙂

Now, on with the article. I have written about 3 articles around my first personal experience with some basic SEO activities that I undertook in accordance with some guidelines I learned from my lurking at WF. I found The Power of the Keyword-In-The-Domain-Name to be indeed true and I have seen proof of it in my work and those of others. In Basic Manual Keyword Research Methods I Learned So Far, I elaborated on some basic techniques of keyword research that I learned from a lot of sources. And I have also documented the google dance of my first ever business site in Update to Keyword-In-Domain-Name Experiment .

What I noticed is a certain pattern to the SERP ranking of my business site that happens especially prior to a major change in its position in the SERP. I remember the first time it appeared within the first page of the google serps. It was at #7. It stayed there for a few days while I did some backlinking and other SEO work for it. Then suddenly it tanked down to nowhere and stayed nowhere for 8 days. Being such a newbie, I doubted the efficiency of this google search engine ranking algorithm thingy and began suspecting that there’s a conspiracy to discourage all newbies from entering this money field. After this short hibernation however, it suddenly re-surfaced at number 3! Had its position just climbed up a step, I would have considered it a minor serp change. But this one is major. I learned also that there is a huge difference in terms of a site’s earnings if it’s within the top 5 in the serp. Seems like a lot of google searchers tend to ignore the lower half of the top 10 on google’s first page.

After that first major change, it then swayed along at the mercy of the google dance but it stayed within the first page, moving down sometimes to #4, #5, back to #3, etc. Finally, after some considerable backlinking work, it stayed stable at #2. To my confusion, it stayed stuck at #2 for more than 3 months inspite of my continuous backlinking work. I wondered what’s with the page at #1 that google find so enchanting. It’s a forum page that seem to have been stagnant for years and it was not even optimized for the particular keyword I was gunning for. In terms of backlinks, it has thousands linking to its main forum page but only 1 that’s linking back to this particular page. And its page rank was 0. Last October, it got PR1, but my site also jumped up to PR2 (on its 3rd month). Yet, the serp never changed.

Well, at #2, the site was earning some amount that at least covers for its maintenance and thus I began to accept that probably it’s place is fixed there at #2. Then suddenly, last January 9, it disappeared from the first page of google like a bubble that just got popped. I gave up searching for it after the fifth page. I had become comfortable with the additional income (though little) I got from it that I now worry at the prospect of losing that few extra money. The big question that bugged me no end was “What have I done?”. I checked for some probable violations and found none. Had google again changed some of its rules? Probably not, because a lot of blogs would have released a flurry of reactions. I began to loose some confidence in the SEO techniques I learned and used and again scoffed silently at this google search engine ranking comedy. But my business site climbed up a notch from PR2 to PR3 last January, making its serp disappearance even more baffling.Then I remembered to check the results of the few other sites I maintained. They were all okay in their current positions. The tanking of my pet site was, no doubt, a site-specific issue. Imagine living through these unanswered questions for 11 days.

Well, to make this post short (which I observed had dragged on quiet longer than I expected), I got the surprise of my life when I checked on the serps yesterday and found my site back and where? — at number 1 for its main keyword! Now that’s a position I want my site to get stucked with. As if that was not enough, I found that it also grabbed the number 1 spot for another related key phrase. Lately, I’ve found that Yahoo had changed its mind and gave it up for me so that effective January 20, 2010, my business site got to be number 1 for its key phrase in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Yuhoooo!

So, what’s with the ‘calm before the storm’ title? Well, let’s just say that the pattern I noticed is that before every major promotion of serp position (storm because I get a storm of a high when this happens) for my site, there’s always this ‘disappearing act’ (calm, because it’s nowhere to be found, although I couldn’t ever remain calm when this occurs). I don’t know if this pattern happens to others, but it does happen to me.

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