What is the Google Dance?

Panda Google DanceDancing to music can take the form of many different sets of movements. It can range from delicate, and rhythmic swinging to abrupt, and harsh thrashing. This symbolism fits nicely with how Google compiles rankings for any given search term. Rankings are in a constant state of flux with any number of listings moving up or down in their position. This movement is what is called the “Google Dance”.

A common misconception with those unfamiliar with SEO is that an optimization campaign will only hold or improve the position of a website. In reality, rankings can experience both small and large movements up and down. The key is to see an upward trendline. Some campaigns can feel like they are stuck over long periods of time even though they are inching their way up.

One case that I have seen more than once is where a campaign may experience slight improvements before dipping lower than the starting position. In these instances, it can be like water filling up behind a dam. The SEO work slowly builds up against the dam and once the dam overflows, ranking position improvements can come very quickly. These situations frequently frustrate business owners and amateur SEOers who are unfamiliar with this type of dance. In these cases, patience and perseverance are the keys to success.

In the SEO industry, clients are frequently looking for quick ranking improvements and pressuring SEOers to push the limits of sound strategies. During an aggressive campaign, Google may completely remove a page or website from ranking for a specific keyword or set of keywords. The website will still be indexed and there is no manual penalty applied. This is essentially Google’s way of saying, “Something is going on and I’m not quite sure what it is so let me put you aside while I figure it out.” This is the most difficult dance maneuvers Google has as it can be very difficult to discern whether it’s a dance or a penalty. I experienced this situation several months ago while working with a new SEOer from an Australian based marketing company. The campaign at the beginning was too aggressive and the site disappeared for about 6 weeks before coming back to a stronger position. Sadly my colleague lost the client just before the rankings recovered.

When performing SEO work on a website it’s important to stay patient when rankings fluctuate. Implementing the techniques that work will eventually prove fruitful. As long as you don’t step on Google’s toes too badly, positive results will come.