Coming off of the heels of the latest update to their search algorithm, Google has noted that they will not be making announcements as to when the future algorithm updates take place. In particular, they will not be making announcements related to the Panda series of updates. To this point there’s been well over 20 Panda updates, and there looks to be more.
With all the changes that have taken place related to search engine optimization over the past year it is beneficial to monitor the SERPS to see which properties are still ranking. A surefire way to do this is to find search results in highly competitive niches. You can be sure that within these highly competitive niches, there are site owners who are utilizing search engine optimization practices to boost their rankings.
1 Follow the Marketplace
A good place to target for these niches are commercial marketplaces that offer affiliate programs, such as Amazon.com, ClickBank or Commission Junction. Doing searches related to products names or product name plus the word “review” often leads to affiliate promoted sites and Web properties. Here we can get a really good sense of what is still working in SEO.
2 Look For Patterns
While observing these searches, look for patterns. Look to see which web properties keep appearing. The reason we’re looking for this is because during Google algorithm updates there are often large networks and social sites that are impacted either favorably or unfavorably. Doing this type of research will uncover which of these sites are still going strong.
3 Example Sites
The sites that have matured and are highly utilized tend to maintain strong search results. A few sites that I can give away right now and tell you that are still ranking well would be YouTube, Blogspot, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Wikipedia. We’ve seen a popular site that was very popular for popular for SEO purposes years ago and then faced a Google slap. Yes, Squidoo was devalued overall as a network by Google, and their search results fell off the top pages. Well it’s nice to see that Squidoo is back. A number of test searches result in Squidoo lenses on the first page of search.
4 Follow the Trends
Recording results from these test searches and marking the strong properties is a good way to understand where to build back links from and where to develop standalone properties to promote your sites your products and services.
Going through this exercise every quarter is a good idea. Analyzing them to follow the trends and patterns that Google is providing you with see you can stay on top when changes occur.