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Google Kills SEO Ranking Analysis Tools

Anyone in SEO worth their pay may have, this week, noticed that Google has been changing the code used to display their search results. Unfortunately these changes, and repeated tweaks to the SERPS code over the past few days, have had the knock on effect of wiping out a good portion of the web-based search ranking analysis tools, as well as some locally run ranking software.

SEOBook are one of the first to report that they have recently updated their online rank checking tools SEO for Firefox and Rank Checker and according to Aaron Wall of "Both should work as of now, and if any more SERP changes happen we will try to update the extensions as soon as possible."

The changes however do beg the question. Are the SEO community, and their tools, responsible for so many requests on Google’s servers that they need to take action or are we looking at a simple backend HTML layout update?

The very act of querying Google with automated software is wrong, and according to Google’s webmaster guidelines…

"The sending of automated queries of any sort to our system without express permission in advance from Google. Sending automated queries absorbs resources and includes using any software (such as WebPosition Gold) to send automated queries to Google to determine how a website or webpage ranks in Google search results for various queries."

So, was it a simple backend update that caused a blip or a deliberate attempt to slow down the SEO community. Lets hear your thoughts?