The Impact of Google Dance – September, 2012

If you are in the SEO field for the last couple of years you should be able to remember that there was a well known term in the industry called “Google Dance”. The effect of the Google Dance encountered most in the year 2007 and 2008 and from late the 2009 onwards it was less frequent as far as I can remember. Starting from 2011 until September this year it was almost vanished or not noticeable like before.

What is Google Dance?

Google Dance is an experimental algorithm update to try to improve search results or drop-off web spam in search results. It generally happens without any official update from Google. As an effect, organic rank for some sites jump (up or down) even 3 to 5 pages. The live search results impacted for a period of 1 or 2 weeks approx and then again come back to the normal steady state. However for some victims the effect stays longer and appears permanent.
Google Dance is just an indication of a major permanent algorithm change which generally not happens at one go. As for example, the last “Panda” and “Penguin” updates were just the final stage performance of so many Google Dance rehearsals. Google generally announces about those dance factors officially much later – if they got satisfied with the results and decide to go for those algorithmic changes permanently.

What happened at the dance floor for the last rehearsal in September?

Here are the top 3 impacts according to our analysis –

  1. URL Devaluation – Domains and URLs which were getting advantage solely for having keywords in the URL are identified and devalued for lacking other offpage and onpage SEO friendly factors. Here is an official confirmation from the Google web spam team head Matt Cutts –
  2. Structural Devaluation – websites hosted in the same server (shared hosting) with very similar design/coding, navigation structure, pages and content are identified and kick-out from the floor.
  3. Authority Reward – website link found as ethical sponsor advertising such as banner and text ads across relevant network got rewarded in organic ranks.

The results now got steady and some sites negatively affected for that dance got back to the previous position automatically. But I believe websites who are true victims are still not on the dance floor as Google may retain a minor part of that algorithm change permanently or will soon apply it and they will be just out.

“Prevention is better than cure”, I encourage you to follow only ethical SEO and strongly avoid challenging Google with tricky techniques. Consider to go for periodical SEO audit and ensure everything is Google friendly.

Do let me know your views by commenting here, oh! wait, wait, 1 more thing – I hope you are still not using those old-school comment spam techniques?