In order to remain the #1 search engine in the world, Google regularly updates the algorithms it uses to deliver relevant search results. These minor updates happen all the time, but a few times each year Google rolls out a major update.
The two most recent updates have caused some controversy and confusion amongst SEO professionals and business owners alike. They were both targeted at weeding out and punishing websites which were attempting to ‘trick’ Google into giving them better search rankings.
So, what do these updates mean for business owners? Will they affect you? Should you change the way you approach your SEO and online marketing?
Let’s have a look.
The ‘Panda’ Update
The first of the two updates was called ‘Panda’. This update was focused on changing the way Google looks at your website. Specifically, it was designed to penalise those sites which had a lot of duplicate content and ‘suspicious’ outbound links.
Google’s main aim with this update was to penalise ‘low quality’ sites by identifying some of the most common ‘tricks’ some webmasters would use to climb the search rankings. It stands to reason that if a site was copying content from elsewhere on the web and linking to other low quality sites, it probably wouldn’t hold much value for visitors.
Then Came ‘Penguin’
The Penguin update, which followed a few months after the main Panda update, was much more focused on the links coming into a website. Now, in the past it has been assumed that the more links coming into a site the better. Well, now it’s not so straightforward.
This most recent update penalises sites which have low quality or suspicious links coming into their web site. Google have also chosen to penalise sites which have an ‘unnatural link profile’.
What this means is that if all the links coming into your site use the same anchor text, or are from low quality sites, Google will probably assume that these links have been placed, bought or built for the purposes of SEO.
What Does This Mean For Businesses?
Though Google’s latest updates do seem a little harsh, they didn’t come as a surprise. After last year’s ‘Freshness’ updates and Google’s prolonged effort to reward websites that regularly publish high quality content, these changes make perfect sense.
Any company wanting to rank well for their key search terms should always be looking at building a solid online profile which is built on natural, human factors. Google wants you to build a website which provides real value to its community. If you focus on providing original, valuable content for your visitors, Google’s future updates will only improve your search rankings.
Do you want to improve your SEO and online marketing? Not sure how to go about it?
We offer a number of content marketing and SEO services which are designed to deliver immediate and long lasting results in this changing online landscape.
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By Angus Findlay
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