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Scott Smith
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So what is Google's "random algo" or "rank modifier" that it also goes by? well in the video at the end of this page (HIGHLY recommend viewing on this subject, if you prefer to watch than read, scroll down now) we go into depth on what it is and I highly recommend watching the video, but in essence, its designed to try and fool / worry the unknowing SEO provider and / or SEO client. Basically, if Google spots anything that could be SEO, they roll a dice on three metrics...

positive or negative
time frame
position adjustment

Here's some examples based on different scenarios...

An SEO gains a brilliant backlink to the site, the anchor text is natural, the content of the site and theme related to the target site, high quality original content on the page that links to the target site, etc. Google spots this, and this new link gives the target page a boost in trust, authority and power to take the target keyword from position 8 on page 1, to position 5, but the random algo kicks in, and rolls the dice on the three metrics and picks...

positive or negative = negative
time frame = 3 weeks
position adjustment = 10

So instead of jumping to position 5, which this backlink has really given, the random algo pushes their 8 position down to position 18 for 3 weeks. If the link is still there in 3 weeks, this random algo is removed and they gain what they should of, and jump to position 5. If you didn't know about the random algo, you may panic that this link has sunk the ranking from position 8 to 18 and remove it and never wait out the random algo and now that position 5 is lost, AND, you may of just tipped off Google you're doing SEO because if this link wasn't for SEO gain, why was it removed soon after a dip in rankings.

Here's another example....

An unknowing SEO sees a great gig on fiverr where they can get 100,000 backlinks to their site for just $5, they've read that backlinks are powerful for SEO so they order 10 of these for $50, so 500,000 backlinks. These are made and point links to the target site all using the same anchor text, and all the links are from spammy websites. At the moment they're ranking position 27 for their target keyword and they fire the 500,000 links to the target page, Google spots this and these link reduce trust and should take their position 27 to position 90 BUT, the random algo fires up yet again...

positive or negative = positive
time frame = 2 months
position adjustment = 7

So their position 27 moves up to 20, the SEO thinks "wow this is brilliant" and buys even more so now there's another 500,000 spammy links (upon seeing this Google would fire off another random algo layered on top of the first). After 2 months the random algo falls off, and the page drops to position 90. Google fooled the SEO into thinking they were good links so they would do more.

Now this is where it gets "fun". Backlinks are not the only thing to fire off a random algo, other metrics such as: social signals, page / html / site changes, different user metrics, etc and to make it even more complex, every one of these gets its own random algo. For example, lets take just one metric, backlinks, and take the situation where a backlink is added daily to link to a target site, so every day a random algo fires, then daily the random algos could be something like...

day 1 = positive / 8 days / 3 positions

day 2 = positive / 32 days / 1 position

day 3 = negative / 2 days / 76 positions

.... etc - so when this is happening on every backlink found and processed, every social signal, every site change, the somewhat "simple" idea Google has come up with here is just beautiful (from their side at least lol) in making SEO testing take a lot longer (as you need to stop SEO tests and then wait it out for the random algos to "fall off") and makes it easier for SEO to panic and shoot themselves in the foot, and finally it makes it harder for clients buying SEO services to see what is working / isn't. For example, a client may rank at position 20 for a keyword, start with a great SEO provider who does amazing work and out of "bad luck" with the random algos, actually see things get worse for a time. If the SEO and client aren't a) aware of the random algo and b) able to test and verify rank drops aren't due to other reasons (as you can't and shouldnt just write off a rank drop as "probably the random algo" as there could be other reasons such as site issues, page issues, content issue, negative seo etc) then the client may think the SEO service isn't working and stop (which is what Google wants).

For more information or help with your own SEO, PPC please visit us at: or check out the latest marketing news at

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As an independent SEO consultant since the 90’s I have seen a lot of changes over the years. Back in the days when SEO was considered putting your keywords 100s or 1000s of times at the bottom of your page to todays complex world of the multi algo google with their penguin, panda, hummingbird and many more algos working together to decide which site should rank where.

According to google there’s over 200+ metrics in their algo with each being fine tuned and weightings altered all the time. So, with this new age of SEO, how can you ensure you pick the right SEO provider for your business ? Here’s some handy tips to help you pick the right provider.

1. My favourite, ask them what SEO they do for their own businesses. Surely if a business was amazing at getting traffic to any site, they would have some of their own sites to use their own skills

2. Learn a little about google, seo, algo updates so you’re able to gauge if they know enough – for example, you could ask them how to plan to ensure your SEO is google penguin safe. They should come back with something along the lines of high quality links with original engaging content, natural anchor text distribution and a plan of attack.

3. Ask them how they will report on progress. Yes, many quality SEO’s will not sure you their own networks or “secret sauce” however there should be some form of reporting. For example, it could be a rank tracker following the positions of your keywords such as serpbook, or reports from semrush as well as good old google analytics showing an increase in traffic and conversions

4. Find out about their tie in requirements. Most SEO’s will want to tie you into 1-2 years (here at Scott D Smith we don’t believe we need to tie anyone into anything, our results “tie” people in) but if you’re going with a provider that does tie you in, make sure you know when and how you can get out of it if you need and also, ensure you find out what happens to the work they have done if you do stop. For example, often SEO providers will remove the work, links, etc (we never do this, we see this as theft as our clients have already paid for this work) and so if you stop, not only will you not receive any further SEO benefits but you could lose everything you’ve paid for already.

5. Find out how they help, report and analysis onpage SEO, for example will they use tools such as yoast SEO, reporting systems to look at onpage, will they benchmark your site using googles testmysite and their mobile friendly checker

6. Ask them if they specialise in any niche of SEO, for example maybe they are a technical SEO consultant, only do backlinks, or a wordpress SEO consultant for example

7. Finally ask to see some of their results and speak to some of their clients and make sure you check out at least a few different SEO consultancy companies to compare them.

We hope you found these tips useful and if you would like a free, no obligation SEO review pack which looks indepth at your site, full keyword analysis and research, competitor data and more then please head over to and you can also find us on our google+ profile.

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Starting new content on google+ yay :)
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