Google Updates – Wait!

by Jim May 1, 2017

Welcome back Rankers! Back from Bali. Thank you to everyone that said I looked really hot on last week’s video. Good to know I’ve still got it.

I wanted to talk to you a little bit more today about the updates we’re seeing this year, about the quality stuff, and more importantly how you go about doing it. So, for instance, we know that by removing phrases or keywords essentially, from certain posts or pages, they seem to be ranking higher. We think this is because it’s an easier read, it’s better language, it doesn’t look as spammy, a whole range of things.

One of the sites I was working on was for Dr Bill Sukala. Not a client, I was just curious as he was hit by it quite significantly. So he went and did the same thing, removed a bunch of keywords from a particular page for ‘It Works.’ One of the search terms he had dropped for was for ‘it works reviews.’ After we made those initial changes a few weeks ago, you saw that he came back to threes and fours. Since he’s removed those keywords, he has returned to number one for that phrase. But, he is still not ranking very well at all for the short tail phrase, and certainly he’s not getting that international traffic back. Especially on the short tail phrases.

Transition Rank

There is something I noticed while doing these changes and that is to be aware of the transition rank. Now I touched on this last week about a post written in 2012 by Bill Slawski where he touched on a thing called transition rank. The idea is that Google messes with people doing changes specifically for SEO reasons in that you might make a change, you don’t get that result that you were expecting, and so you go and reverse that change. What might be happening (and is the subject of the patent) is that Google is saying that they are going to hold off giving you the real rank of that page for a little while before giving you the real rank. Hence, this state of transition rank.
Quite often, we’ll say to a client that when we make changes, rankings will often go down before they climb. We’ve seen that time and again. Part of the reason I’ve thought about that over the years is because maybe the bot has to re-crawl every page and maybe it only picked up the page with the changes, maybe it drops because it doesn’t understand the relationship with other pages now and those sorts of things. But it could just be this thing called transition rank.

Hold Your Horses

Now Google said a few years back that even though they have a patent, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in the algorithm. What I can tell you is that when you make a change, wait. Depending on the level of competitiveness for that key phrase, you may see a drop initially, but just wait. Hold firm and then check again in a couple of days. That’s certainly been the case with this particular phrase in that Bill made those changes on the 23rd March, and I’ve been checking them intermittently. If I look to see where it came back in Australia for that phrase, you can see that Google says it was number five around the 29th March and has since then climbed to number one.

On the 23rd, when he made the changes, they dropped through the floor. That’s the transition rank right there. I can’t see it being anything else. Then it was left for a week and then Boom! Up it comes.

Transition Rank defined
Transition Rank

So whether you want to call it transition rank, or something else like ‘Google Pondering,’ when you are making these changes and they are significant changes to a page, wait! That’s the mistake I made last week with one of our pages. I didn’t wait as I watched it going up and up. Then I made another change and crash! Out of the top 500 we fell for that particular page. It’s since come back to around 25 at the moment. I’m just going to leave it. I don’t care. It doesn’t generate a lot of traffic for us anyway. I’m going to leave it for a little bit longer. I probably won’t even touch it as we are moving sites, domains, and all sorts of things. So I’m not even going to worry about it as I just want to see what happens, and I’m quite frankly too scared to touch it!
So when you are making these changes, just be aware that if the phrase is quite competitive you may drop before you go up. It’s important to wait. Hopefully that’s helpful and we’ll see you all next week. Bye.

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