I was doing a Google search on “make money online” today, as part of research for this blog (you never know what you’ll find through search engines), and was surprised to see that JohnChow.com was not in the top 2. Paging down, I finally found John’s site on page 4.

Considering the success of John’s review scheme to spread links to his site with the “make money online” anchor text around the Internet like dandelion seeds in a stiff wind, this is an interesting development. I can only assume that something fairly recent changed in John’s site to cause it to drop in the Google rankings.

This brings up a couple of great points for everyone involved in search engine optimization.

First, don’t be afraid to go for competitive keywords. Google’s algorithm changes all the time, and sites change all the time. Sometimes there’s a conflict between those that knocks the top positions down or moves lower positions up.

Second, search engine optimization is an ongoing effort. You can’t simply optimize a site for keywords and then leave it alone. You need to keep track of your positioning and react to changes to maintain your position. Pages get dropped from the index or put into the supplemental index and you’ll need to fix it. Keeping on top of SEO is a moving target.

I have no doubt that John will figure out what happened and fix it soon. Hopefully he’ll blog about it to let the rest of us know.

Edit: John just posted in his blog (see link above) about this, and is blaming a change in Google’s algorithm. Since Google has been talking about their plan to discount paid links, John’s review scheme probably falls under that category, so he’s discontinued it. My contest is still on, however. I’ll be adjusting how I do the backlinks to make it appear more natural to search engines.

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