The Jagger update would appear to have been implemented in three phases, the first phase of Jagger starting on the 16 th October, the second phase starting, we think, on the 27th October and the third phase of the Jagger update, starting the 4th November, 2005. Opinions vary widely as to when the third stage of the Jagger update was completed, but we couldn't find any active traces of Jagger in the Google Data Centres, by the beginning of December, so we feel that the update was completed at some stage towards the end of November.
Christmas boost to the Google coffers?
Major changes, like Update Jagger, have occurred in October and November in the past three years, although last year's update didn't cause too many problems for web site owners or SEOs, but the Florida update in 2003 saw sites dropping from the front pages on Google to find themselves outside the top 100 positions in the SERPs.
Sceptics are suggesting that Google have massive update, like Florida and Jagger, just before Christmas, to force top sites that lose their positions to use Google Adwords, thus creating an extra revenue stream to help boost the Google Christmas bonuses.
I believe, however, that if Google want to teach spammers and black hat sites a lesson, the best time to have an update is just before Christmas, which is, in my humble opinion, why they choose this time of year for these major updates. If the byproduct of slapping down a few rule breakers is that Google make more money on adwords, good luck to them!
Update Jagger rewarding ethical sites?
I wish it was as simple as the Jagger Update being introduced to get rid of the spammers and leave the worthwhile, ethical sites to fight for the top spots on their merit, but unfortunately, there are often more losers than winners in Google updates, and the Google index can see some highly relevant sites, that have a few SEO grey areas, replaced by sites that while clean, are frankly dull and a waste of space on the index, as a result of Google algorithm updates. This could lead to even more users jumping ship to MSN, a trend that has been growing steadily in the UK over the past six months.
The Jagger Changes in the Google Algorythm
Like all SEOs, these are only opinions, formed by studying the affect that the Jagger update has had on my own sites, my clients' sites and sites that I follow on a regular basis.
To be honest, as regards our own sites and my clients' sites, the Jagger update has seen very little change on terms that are firing on the index page a site, but several terms that are firing on internal pages have lost a few positions - but nothing too drastic. This tells me that the Jagger update was more about punishing sites using wholly unethical techniques, rather than wholesale changes in the algorithm for the sake of it.
The SEO experts all over the web have been battering their gums about the massive effects that Update Jagger has made to rankings and pointing to all sorts of dramatic changes that they feel have been made to the algorithm, including that reciprocal linking no longer works, anchor text on links in no longer important, directory links are being ignored now, outbound links are leaking more PageRank than before, some have even said that links no are no longer important! Most of this is, in my humble opinion, overstated nonsense, written by a group of forum sitters, that have a vested interest in making these kind of scaremongering claims. Incidentally, The same people have been making the same sort of claims since Update Florida, so it was expected that they would roll our the "same old, same old", after the Jagger update.
From what I can see, the sites that are being badly affected have been using techniques such as:
- Doorway pages
- Hidden text
- Multiple domains / sub domains
- Buying sitewide links
- Accepting off-focus reciprocal links from other sites
- Working with link farms and link exchange schemes
- Using various cloaking techniques
- Using CSS to deliver different content to the search engines
- Using duplicate content on different domain names
- Using multi mini-site automatic redirects
- Mapping domain names
- Using automatic redirects
If you were guilty of any of the above, prior to Update Jagger, and you lost positions, stop doing it, apologise to Google and ask them to have another look at your site, once all the black hat techniques have been removed from your site.
I'm convinced that longevity and the sandbox filter has been strengthened, for both sites and links in Google's Jagger update, meaning that new sites, looking for competitive terms will take much longer to fire on Google. To be fair, longevity has always been a factor in the Google algorithm (I still don't believe that there is a new automatic aging filter), however I do think that age will play a more important part in the future.
Affiliate sites and instant online business opportunity sites will, I feel, have a hard time breaking into the top places, unless longevity is on their side.
I also feel that links to internal pages will be more important in months to come. Most external links point to the index page of a site, but it's now important to link to internal pages of the site. At the very least, website owners should ensure that every important page on their site is linked to every other page on the site.
So that's it! Despite all the opinions that are being offered on the SEO forums, I can find no real evidence that Update Jagger did no more than punish sites using unethical search engine optimisation techniques and ensured that even ethical sites will have to work harder to retain their positions in the SERPS.