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Position 6 Penalty (Error) Confirmed by Matt Cutts of Google

Many Web masters have been noticing lately that their heretofore #1 or #2 listings had dropped to the #6 spot. This was reported consistently lately on blogs and forums by many Web masters. It’s always hard to tell which so called “penalties” or observations reported on these kinds of sites should be taken seriously or believed. Although when the level of outcry rises to what it has recently, it’s hard to not start investigating. Still, it took a lot of people a long time to understand that there was a Google sandbox…lol.

Anyway, Google came out this week and admitted that they had made a mistake with the Position 6 Penalty. I applaud Google for taking the time to communicate this kind of information to Web masters to save them from chasing their tail trying to figure out what they did wrong. I have been there…lol. I think it illustrates one of the hardest rules of SEO to learn. Don’t immediately fix what you don’t know is broken. Often times changes in rankings are temporary and even more often, vary by data center and personalization.

Personally I think your analytics is a better gauge of your SEO campaign then your rankings report, but I understand the value of measuring that data as well. I just think that as we move forward, it will be harder and harder to say that a site has a top ten listing for a given keyword phrase. Especially as personalization of search continues to evolve.

But more to the point, I see situations all the time where clients are concerned about a temporary shift in rankings and are quick to want to take action. But often times the best action is no action. Imagine the collective man hours that people who lost their rankings spent making changes to their site, only to find out today that they should have just stayed the course. Patience in SEO is more than a virtue. It’s a way of life.

Have a great day.