Esmeralda: A Shift in Google Search Infrastructure

After a series of regular monthly updates for 2003, Esmeralda marked a shift in Google Search infrastructure that would be the start of the demise of more significant, dramatic changes, also known as the Google Dance, for the search engine. Instead, it was replaced with Everflux. The June update was not considered as a direct change in algorithm, but an adjustment of the entire system.

What’s It For

The Google Dance was anxiety-inducing for several webmasters and SEO specialists since it came every month. While the updates may be regular, a lot can happen within 30 days. This means that there were dramatic changes with a lot of variables influencing how a page ranks, so it was difficult for site operators to pinpoint the exact cause of their wins or losses in the SERPs.

Esmeralda is considered to have brought about a significant infrastructure shift that allowed the search engine to have daily minor changes instead of making a huge splash every month.

What Were Its Effects

There wasn’t an official announcement on Esmeralda’s exact effects. However, it was replaced with the Everflux update which pertains to the constant shift in the position of sites in the SERPs. There were times when new websites quickly climbed up the ranks in the index but are listed lower after some time.

The Everflux is influenced by Google’s particular method in updating its index through:

  • Fresh Crawl – Fresh crawl occurs continuously. Its bots scour the web regularly for new content and incorporates it as quickly as possible into a secondary index. This is why newly-created pages sometimes rank high in the search engine during the first few hours.
  • Deep Crawl – Deep crawl, however, determines the more permanent ranking of a page. This one is carried out each month to update the data set. It’s described as a data update or refresh. In this process, data from the primary and secondary indexes are evaluated. Time-related content that has lost relevance such as news, sports matches scores, and other events will be listed down in the index.

What It Means for You

The primary benefit of Google Everflux was that new websites did not have to wait for a long time to be integrated into the search index. However, there was a considerable risk of a drop in ranking.

Google has updated this type of search infrastructure which led to volatile SERPs. Now, the index has continuous updates with incremental search where various crawlers look for new content while updating the index simultaneously.

While the search engine’s infrastructure is more stable now, you should still monitor your website’s ranking using these tools:

  • Google’s Webmaster Tools – Google provides free tools for webmasters that are excellent for website analysis. Fetch, one of Google’s tools, allows you to view a specific URL as how the search engine sees it. This can help improve your SEO performance. There’s also PageSpeed Insights which measures your site speed for both computer and mobile versions.
  • Ahrefs – Ahrefs is more for keyword research to help you make better content for your readers. Tools like Site Explorer, Content Explorer, and Keywords Explorer give you a holistic view of your web pages and the elements that generate traffic. Their Lite subscription plan costs 99 USD per month.
  • Website Grader – This one by HubSpot is another free website analysis tool that produces personalized reports on your site’s performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security; all of which affect how your pages rank on Google.
  • Check My Links – Check My Links is a free broken-link checker to ensure that you don’t publish a post with a dead hyperlink which can harm user experience.
  • BuzzStream – For your link building efforts, Buzzstream can help you handle your outreach campaigns to potential partners. The tool makes it more manageable to find the right people in relevant niches to connect with, create effective emails, and track who has confirmed to work with you. It has a free 14-day trial with paid plans that begin at 24 USD per month.
  • SEO Report Card – This software by UpCity allows you to analyze how your website’s performance compares with your competitors. The report includes rank analysis, link building, website accessibility, trust metrics, and current indexing.
  • Woorank – Another in-depth site analysis tool that categorizes the reports into eight sections: marketing checklist, SEO, mobile, usability, technologies, social, local, and visitors.
  • Pro Tools – Pro Tools by Moz include various research programs that give you data to determine SEO opportunities, track your traffic growth, generate reports, and evaluate your strategies to pinpoint room for improvements.