Do you think you might be suffering due to the “Google Dance”? It could simply be an instance of keyword maturity (or a keyword not yet being mature). This particular term is not one that you will see written about in Google’s official documentation. In fact, we have not yet seen anyone else use the term “keyword maturity“.

Still, this is a term we use because it describes some of the patterns that we regularly see when we are doing SEO and you’ll see these same patterns in your own SEO work. What matters even more that this term or its meaning is that it will affect you and the work you are doing for SEO linkbuilding. Let’s take a closer look.

PLEASE NOTE: People use the terms “Google Dance” or “Google Bounce” to describe several different situations and not everyone means the same thing when they use these terms. The reason there’s no official definition is because it is not itself “official”, but rather a phenomenon that occurs. Another type of Google dance takes place when several of your site’s keywords, or even all of them, plummet overnight.

Keyword maturity

In order to understand what I mean when I reference keyword maturity, let’s describe a situation that you might be familiar with. For the sake of example, let’s say that your site is about “dog training” (we know this is a very, very over-used example in the world of SEO) and let’s pretend that “dog training” is your primary keyword.

To take this further, let’s say the site itself is now two years old and that since you started it, you have been doing SEO for that keyword. Finally, let’s say that you are now ready to expand a bit and get into “obedience schools” as a keyword you intend to target in your latest SEO campaigns.

What keyword maturity refers to is how well established a given keyword is for your particular site. In our “dog training” example we would consider this to be an extremely mature keyword. You already have quite a history with it and the site itself so it is probably going to have rankings that remain stable (whether high, low or medium they are more than likely going to be consistent). However, the “obedience schools” keyword is totally the opposite. This keyword is very new and, as such, considered to be immature for your site so its rankings are going to rise and fall in a very different way.

Google bounce

Google bounce

KEEP IN MIND: When it comes to SEO there are no “typical” results. Those of you who have been reading this blog will note that we say this repeatedly. Your results for any given niche are going to be different and the same is true for any particular site. While trends and patterns may reoccur, and you need to identify and know how to handle them to be good at SEO, you still have to plan for those trends and patterns in order to use them to your advantage. With this in mind, please don’t send us emails about your rankings chart and how it looks nothing like this, etc. The example provided above is for one keyword in a single niche. Some keywords go through a longer “immature” era and others mature quickly – this varies, period. This concludes our disclaimer.

google-bounce-keyword-maturity-300x182In the chart, what you are seeing in the yellow region is that while a keyword is still immature it is going to bounce all over in terms of its rankings. Not only is this completely normal, if you take a moment to think it over you’ll see that it is logical, too. You’ve brought in a new keyword that you are now using to build links to your site for. Since Google has not made up its mind about those efforts yet, your site is going to dance around a while first. Stay calm because we WANT this to happen.

If this wasn’t something Google did then it would not be possible to get on to page #1 at all. We want Google to re-assess things in this way and notice your efforts. While it may make you nervous about how your SEO is working because the rankings bob up and down, go with it. You might see a site drop from #16 to #134 from one night to the next and then shoot back up to #31 within a few days. You might even see that keyword drop right off the rankings altogether. Darinka and I have seen a lot of different versions of the timeline we’ve just mentioned so do not consider this to be the only way things can go. However, this is a fairly close approximation of how “immature” keywords fluctuate in the first 45 or 90 days of you using them.

Oh, No – My Site is Bouncing All Over the Rankings


During this period what should you do? Mainly, stop obsessing. Keep your efforts simple and stay consistent with them, knowing that you have no control over how Google operates. It is important to just “ride it out” for a while. The main thing is to not start making crazy changes to the linkbuilding profile you are creating while these changes take place. Perhaps I am slightly paranoid because I do understand that rankings are determined by an algorithm (ie, no human is actually checking them) but I do believe that Google performs a series of “tests” for you to pass.

What do I think?

The first thing they do is bounce your site around the rankings to see if your site deserve its rankings and “observe” what happens. Then again, Google tells us that they are alert for signs of obvious rankings manipulation so Darinka and I advise that you simply ignore the Google dance and stay consistent with your linkbuilding. If, to theorize here, you see your site drop 100 spots and then freak out and quit building links then, I would say that appears “weird” and sends Google a message that what was happening was not genuine.

The same would be true if you made some wild changes to build ten times the number of links – it just looks strange. What you want to do instead is keep things simple, stick with it and know this this part of things is going to be over soon if you ride it out.

After some time…

As time passes, you are going to see the “maturity” of your keyword increase and the rankings will begin to become more consistent, too. In the chart we’ve shown you, we did sustained and stable linkbuilding for the keyword used. Don’t get tricked into thinking you are going to be able to flood it using an article submitter you like and then just let it go – that is not how SEO works.

If you want to see that growth continue, you have to keep going in your efforts – it really is as simple as that. If you do not see the results from your SEO work that you are hoping for, then you need to either do more (or you might need to raise the quality of the SEO efforts if it’s not performing well considering what you’ve paid for it).

Get Some Distance and Assess the Situation

Once the immature phase is over you need to allow your results to show you they have stabilized and then you need to take another look at what you are doing for SEO. If you feel that you have the ranking you wanted after things have settled, that’s fantastic. What is more often case, though, is that you will not be quite where you want to be and you will have to change how you are approaching things.

What it takes to go from page #10 up to page #2 is quite often much less than is required to go only from page #2 to page #1 and a great, great deal less effort than it would take you to get into the top 3 of page #1. The process involved here is not linear. At first you will see your site rise fast with a minimum of effort. This particular phenomenon is exactly what causes Do-It-Yourself folks and those in SEO without much experience because they do not feel they will be rewarded for the effort they have put in.

The thing is, as you get closer to the #1 ranking, the competition gets much more fierce. It is going to take a lot more effort for you to go from #9 to #4 than it took you to get from #121 to #9 – this is because the model is simply not linear.

Try something new out

Try something new out

Instead of letting that fact dissuade you, let it become a fact you embrace. The fact that the competition gets more fierce is good because it means those who aren’t serious about results will get weeded out. Those who remain committed and totally focused on their SEO work are going to get to their goals, given enough time.

While this is happening, after the keyword is finally mature and things are stable, think about changing things around a little bit. You should never let your SEO work become routine or too patterned, you have to mix it up and keep changing things so that your links are fresh, relevant and from a number of different domains that offer you different types of links, too.

Try something new out – anything that is not the usual and will spice things up a bit. This is important for you to do if you want to be able to create a link profile that looks natural as far as search engines are concerned.

In Conclusion

Once you come to an understanding about the patterns and trends we see in SEO – such as keyword maturity – then you can start to put together a far more intelligent strategy because your expectations will be closer to reality. One of the first things you want to observe is that SEO is a process that requires time to work. Darinka and I see it over and over again, the #1 cause of newcomers giving up in SEO: they think results can happen overnight. This is a pattern that occurs not only among those that do SEO for themselves, but with the clients we help, too.

This is why we don’t take on a lot of clients after evaluating their site – their expectations are idealistic, not realistic. Among those in the DIY crowd – the ones that buy tools and then use them for SEO on their own – the number of those who give up is even higher.

It is absolutely stunning to see how many times we get an email along the lines of “I purchased Such & Such Tool and I’ve used it for 2 weeks now and I am still not seeing any real results”. Let’s get honest here, if you are not going to be totally dedicated to trying a tool or a service for at least 90 days to evaluate it then don’t even bother spending money on it. SEO has to start with getting educated and gaining an understanding of how it works. Look at it like this: if it were so simple then everyone would be great at it. Would that even be a good thing?

I know we appreciate the fact that SEO is not easy – we would definitely not like to have everyone and their uncle being real competition for us overnight because SEO was super simple. So relax, get a little distance and try to stay calm before you get in deeper. SEO certainly is rewarding, but it is going to require your patience and during the phase where your keyword is immature, you have to let patience reign as you observe the progress.

keyword rearchservice 2


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