Blogs a bad influence on Google?

osCommerce Search Engine Optimization

We recently had a customer whose ranking for their primary keyword dropped – fast.  Their home page copy had changed but their strategy in writing it had not.  So what was the problem?
The business is dominant in its industry. It gets press mentions from papers like the New York Times.  Naturally the owner harnessed this free publicity to add to the “confidence” factor on their site.  How?  A link to the press article from the home page of course! And what’s wrong with that? Originally nothing.  However,  how Google treated those links changed. 
Problem? The links had a date in them.  For example, the link anchor text went something like  “ozEworks reveals Google blunder, New York Times March 21, 2009“.  In a blog-like approach to all things, Google saw the date and said to itself “A date! That must be important” and then it prefixed that date to the SERP description it built for that page.
The home page SERP entry for the primary keyword went from being the carefully crafted page meta-description to being  ‘Date + “…” + page meta-description’.  Not only did it read poorly, it made the entry look old while it was at it.  Ranking dropped due to the shift in keyword position. Click-thru dropped due to both the rank drop and the “dated” copy.

Lessons learnt?

  • When doing SEO links, not only is the link text for your site’s backlinks important, but the link text for your site’s external links are too. 
  • Always monitor the impact your home page content changes have on your home page keyword ranking after every change.
  • Don’t use dates in your content unless it is truly relevant because nothing dates a site like a date …