Why Do My Rankings Jump Around?
March 15, 2019
March 15, 2019
I get asked this question quite a bit. I will answer it in the two different environments in which it is most often asked.
The first environment is one where a new client is in the middle of a rank building project. Our process places backlinks, or pointers, telling the world wide web that a site is relevant for a certain keyword term or phrase. We place the pointers at a rate of about 3-5 a day during the first month or so and then increase the drip rate during the next couple of months to get a term to rise in the search engines.
As the search engines see the pointers, they re-index the rankings for that term. Their job is to always provide the most relevant term for their customers and one of the main ways they do that calculation is by counting all the naturally placed pointers to a site that contain that word or phrase. The places that we set the pointers (article directories, blogs, web 2.0 sites) are constantly being checked by the search engines to have their content indexed and counted.
The search engines do their part by accumulating the counts and then they do us all a favor and double check to be sure that the links are for real and not just a setup to try to fool them. They begin this process after allowing the links to accumulate to a certain point (no one knows exactly what that point is) but then go through a sorting process that has the count changing constantly over a couple of month basis. They also read the page that the pointer is leading them to in order to be sure that the term really is relevant for that page and website – very cool.
The rankings are not changing every second (I will explain that below) but the rankings are being adjusted consistently through the process. That is why when you check your ranking for a keyword on a Monday and it is X, it could be X plus or minus 5-10 spots on Friday. This is natural as the search engines go through this process. Their process works well and almost always always delivers the most relevant results for their customers. It is rare that they totally miss the mark when you put in a term – kudos to them!
The second environment that I get asked this question is a little more frustrating for our customers. Many times when I sit in my office and tell a customer they are ranking X for a term they challenge me and tell me they are ranking Y for that term. The fact is that we are both right. In order to allow their customers to get a fast response to all the questions we are asking from the search engines, the search engines have broken the internet grid into a large network of servers that each carry a large portion of the questions and results on them . There are thousands of data centers in the United States alone managing their data.
They go through an update process that I understand takes between 17 and 23 days to get all of them refreshed and consistent. The issue we face is that, because the time frame is so long to get them updated, the rankings are different depending on what part of the country you are in, what time of day it is and what the current load of requests are for your area. Sometimes if a certain area is experiencing a heavy load they will run your query from a different data center and you will get a different result that you just asked for a few minutes ago!
Hope this helps to answer a question that many of you have asked. Do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns about your current rankings. Remember, this is a process.