November 26, 2010
A problem many SEO companies are faced with is a fluctuation in page rankings and positioning for their clients websites. People hire you to get their site good rankings and when those rankings slip it falls on you to figure out why. While one week a client’s website will be ranking high on Page 2, even looking to break onto Page 1, the next week it can drop to Page 3. This immediately causes panic to not only the clients but SEO companies too.
Recently one of my clients’ pages dropped off of Page 2 onto Page 4 for only a slight period of time. Not knowing what could have happened I asked a colleague of mine what he thought could have been the culprit. He told me that it could be because of the Google Dance. I was not familiar with this term and so I immediately pictured the Google logo performing the choreography to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and then breaking into the worm across my computer screen. Obviously this is not the case.
So what is the Google Dance?
It’s the period of time when Google is rebuilding its rankings, and so as a result page rankings will fluctuate widely for a small period of time. Since Google, like any other business, depends on their customers believing they deliver reliable results all day every day they can’t simply shut down or take the weekend off to make updates. Instead they will perform updates while still functioning.
In 2003 the Google Dance was all but eliminated however it still exists. However, now instead of Google doing major updates 36 times per year they perform minor index updates on a weekly basis.
Why does the Google Dance happen?
Google is a search engine that depends on searchers believing it is an authoritative site that will deliver the best results when searching the web. With that said Google’s spider is always on the go: searching for new material, detecting sites that no longer exist and finding sites that are more applicable to the search that was just made. In order to give the best results, Google needs to update its own index and so during the dance it revisits every website, figures out how many sites link to it and how many it links out to in order to decide how valuable the links are. Because Google is constantly crawling and updating selected pages, their search results will vary slightly over the course of the month.
So if Pagerankings fluctuate a bit there is no need to panic just yet, Google could just be dancing.