This isn’t the first nail in the SEO coffin, nor will it be the last. But it’s a blow that’s hard to ignore: Google just announced an upgrade to its search algorithm that they say will impact 35% of all searches. That’s not a bad thing, either. According to the blog post, the update will produce results that are more up-to-date. For example, if you search for Olympics without specifying which year, the results will automatically assume you mean the 2012 games, rather than older ones. Of course if you really want to read up on the “miracle on ice”, you can still search for 1980 Olympics and read about ice hockey at Lake Placid.
While this is generally good for us as consumers of search results, it doesn’t bode well for certain sites, like the sports desk at the Reuters news service, which doesn’t show up until page 8 of the results. My point is that if you’re creating a new site or updating an existing one, don’t waste your time or money on SEO services. Most of them seem to be hucksters anyway, but even if they can get your site up in the rankings, there’s little chance you’ll stay there. What should you do, instead? Spend time on your social network connections and — gasp! — interact with your customers.