Gangster Profit

Business and Marketing Web Radio Show featuring Robert MacDonald and Kevin Bombino

Episode 017: What Caused That Ranking Change?

Filed Under: Myth-Busting, Length: 7:57
The guys rip on people who naively attribute ranking changes to some random factor that they think is the cause.


K: Another thing that is very frequently bothersome to us that comes up which is when people will falsely misattribute a ranking change to a random factor without any proof that that is the factor that actually caused the change.

R: Yes. This makes me more angry than anything, because when people, you’ll go to some meet ups somewhere and somebody will be like “oh well, I know that google doesn’t like .info domains because when I 301 redirected my website to the .com version of my website to the .info version that I was formerly running, I jumped in the ranking”, or something like that. But that’s one website. You don’t know what other backlinks were going on at the same time. You don’t know if the timing was just right and you were getting ready for a jump. You don’t know anything like that. If you don’t have a set of at least ten, preferably like a hundred instances of your sites all being co-related in a ranking change due to the similar factors, then you don’t have any kind of real information. So, it’s just _________ you just test things first fully.

K: Yeah absolutely. I mean, I think what needs to be really understood by everyone who listens to this is that google is filled with randomness. I mean, we have no idea what goes on and around with them. I mean, we have some ideas because we have tested a number of things but we could be way wrong on a number of things because I mean, for as far as we know, there could literally be just a straight up random factor in there. Or there could be other factors that we have just never even considered that are in there, that for all intense in purposes, we can just treat as random because we don’t know what they are.

R: For instance, just the other day, we have a network of sites that’s a little bit, slightly over a hundred websites in this network, and they all have different google analytics set up on each website, but it’s all basically the same type of site with the same type of link building going on to all the different internal pages. Hundreds and thousands of pages al across these different sites, but they’re grouped into three groups in our analytics accounts. So, I was looking at it the other day. The one group which has about 33 sites and about 1/3 of, you know, what the total group is. Its traffic for the last month had dropped 20% and I was like “shit, that is not good” like it’s all dropping, there must be a problem here or something right? We must have been hit by, like, the google slap or something that I don’t sense. But then I looked at the other two analytics accounts which the other two of them each have 33 other sites in it, and they were both up about 8 – 10%. So I was like “what the hell is going on here”? You know, obviously nothing, completely nothing. It’s just randomness like it happens. If you know anything about statistics, you need a large sample size in order to gleam any kind of real information there or something. So if I’m looking at an average of 33 sites that moved 20% in complete opposite directions, then how are you gonna possibly try and say anything about one website doing nothing? I mean literally nothing. It’s just really aggravating.

K: Yeah, and furthermore, you may be surprised of what seasonality exists in your niches that were, maybe otherwise you didn’t think there was seasonality. You know, I mean we’ve seen people miss obvious ones. One of our good buddies runs a dating related website and he was totally oblivious to the fact that Valentine’s Day is in the middle of February. He couldn’t come up with an explanation for this spike. You know, a little bit of hard thinking revealed the real reason.

R: Yeah, I mean, I feel like, anytime you think that google has slapped you, please like, slap yourself in the face and think about a hundred different reasons why you might possibly have been just moved around in google. Do a little split test or anything else because google is constantly split testing all of their keywords to try and get the best content. So even if you are ranked number 1 for a long time, then you moved down to number 8, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not gonna jump back up to number 1 after a little while, after they’ve tested out some other sites in that position too. You’ll never know. Link building is only one piece of what google is, you know, trying to manage out there.

K: Right. And you know, we’ve already involved another factor which is that, it’s not always about what you do, it maybe what your competitors are doing. You know, like, maybe the reason you fell from number 1 to number 2 is not because google devalue your link, but maybe that other guy has been out there link-building more than you have.

R: Yeah, you always got a luckier competition. I mean you are not a microcosm onto yourself. Google is managing a whole ton if different factors out there. So, yeah, and the next time you say you’ve been slapped, I beg to differ.

K: Yeah. Make sure you really know why you got slapped.

R: Yeah. It’d better be really serious like, we have gotten sites slapped, and when they’re slapped, they go from over a hundred hits a day or something like that, to 0 or maybe a max of like 3. It’s like, it is a massive massive drop and it just happens one day and then it doesn’t change for weeks. That’s when you get slapped.

K: If you go from 300 hits a day to 150, that is not a slap. I mean, in my feel intense, but that is just, that is just a slight change in their eyes.

R: Yeah, it just happens, and the only way to diversify out of that is really to have more and more websites. You need to have multiple online businesses going on, multiple websites, multiple link-building strategies, all different things. I mean, if you’re gonna have a real gangster-profit kind of business, you need to have really multiple businesses. And also, by having multiple businesses, it enables you to play around with your sites. You know, you’re not deathly afraid of changing your one website that’s your only source of income. If you got 10 websites that are all making you pretty solid income, then you can tweak and change different things and you’re much more free to learn about what google is really doing.

K: Yeah, or let’s say you get actually google slapped, you know, let’s say you really do lose 100% of one entire site, or if that’s the only site you got, you’re screwed. That’s why you know, we at Gangster Profit recommend that you run dozens of sites. You know, if you literally own 25 different independent online businesses that are all killing it, and one goes from 100 to 0, you’re gonna barely feel that. You know…

R: Yeah.

K: You’re gonna grow more, your other sites are gonna grow more in the week than the entire site that you lost.

R: Exactly. And it’s a great feeling when you can lose an entire website and it doesn’t even really make that much of a difference. That’s when you know that you’re way more free as far as your income is concerned.