Has Your Website Been Hit By the Latest Google Updates

The latest Google algorithmic changes, Panda and Penguin, according to Matt Cutts. head of Googles search quality team, focuses on 2 areas; web content and spam. Both great topics in themselves, but I thought I would outline why some websites suffer and consistently never rank whilst other seem to be at the top of the search results ( SERP’s) all the time. Sites that rank adhere to the principles outlined by Cutts, whilst those that get penalised, clearly flout and dismiss what Google considers compliant.

In many cases, websites have lost ranking due to these two Google’ must haves’ and have, in some serious instances, lost all their rankings. That is a Google penalty.

Following is a brief explanation of how to avoid being in the cross hairs of the latest Penguin and Panda updates, as well as a video of Matt Cutts explaining what you need and your SEO company must do to be doing to be totally compliant.

The first major update was the Panda update and recently as far as I am aware the Panda 4.0 ( released on June 2014) targeted those websites that were thin on content.

So what does thin on content really mean? It’s those web pages or blog articles that have nothing to say. The overall quality of the content is poor and there maybe only a few sentences or paragraphs. This is not industry specific and will apply to all websites on the net.

I can easily spot a site that’s too lean on the content. Many businesses, feel that this is not an important component of their website, well how wrong they have been! If your websites landing pages or blogs are slight on the copy, then don’t expect Google to reward these pages.

Panda’s intention is to deliver quality content to users and it’s algorithmic filters being as sophisticated as they are designed to weed out the rubbish.

How Can You Tell If Your Website Is Too Thin? This is a great question, but I always look at the nature and length of the content. I like all of my posts to be around the 750 – 1000 word mark and I ensure that everything published is unique. That is, I haven’t scraped the content from other sites or reposted other peoples content. It’s all mine and I spend many man hours actually writing these. On top of this (like I am doing now over 2 years later) is revisiting old blog posts and refreshing them with more relevant and up to date content. In this case the topic is content and it has since originally posting this, become so much more important. If your copy is not engaging it’s readers then your going to suffer online. This means the whole use experience has to be fantastic. Think about adding more videos to keep your readers on your site longer. Also, refresh old copy all the time and perhaps add to it with more up to date news.

So, if you have a look at your website or blog and can see that most of the pages are somewhat, well let’s just say, boring, unexciting, poorly worded and under 500 words; then from what the quality control team at Google are saying, you are violating the Panda updates. Better get cracking and start auditing every page of your website. It may seem like a hassle but in it’s worth it.

How Does One Fix This Problem? It’s easy and it’s also not so easy. You can either get in there yourself and start editing all your circulated content, or you can get a professional on board to do the job for you. Either way, it’s a task that needs to be addressed immediately if you are ever going to have a chance or getting a better online ranking. There are dozens if not hundred of web copywriters that can do the job, but like anything in business be prepared to pay for this.

Whatever, you do, however, don’t go down the path of outsourcing this to India where they can write copy for a couple of dollars an article. This is against what Google is looking for and this will further add fuel to the fire and exacerbate your bad online standings. Keep it real, make sure it is authentic and the most important point that you should take from this post is that it must be original.

The second and perhaps the update that hit most businesses is the Penguin algorithm, which focuses on spammy sites and shifty link building ‘black hat’ techniques.

In a nutshell, spammy sites are those that implement a myriad of both ‘on page’ and ‘off page’ tactics, designed specifically to improve rankings. Such sites use what is termed ‘black hat’ methods, all devised to cheat the system.

There are just so many things that one can do to cheat and defraud Google, but the Penguin filters have again, like the Panda, filtered out these sites and have punished them in the rankings. The Penguin was a killer update and it’s intention was to put an end to some search engine optimisation companies ways of doing business and those DIY SEO fanatics.

googleupdatePre Penguin it was pretty open slather on what could be done in terms of boosting ones chances of higher SERP results. It was the wild west online and anything was allowed. Basically, I could buy links online for a few bucks and rank a new website within a couple of weeks. Such bad practices have been outlawed and luckily for us, Google now treat such processes as illegal ( in their world).

In the video Cutt’s will explain what Google’s quality team are looking out for in the future and ways in which you can put your SEO company on notice if they are doing anything shifty. It’s a bit lengthy but well worth the watch, especially if you feel that your SEO team in the past has been treading on thin ice and skirting the fringes of what Google recognizes as authentic.

So how do you go about finding an SEO agency that will comply with both Penguin and Panda updates?

This is not easy but you have to do your research online to find the right agencies. I suggest go with an all rounder. One that has the ability to design sites, optimsie them and also an agency that has some good copywriters on baord – or at least they are able to find good ones they have worked with inn the past.

Do not make the mistake and work with SEO companies that promise:

  • fast rankings when your in a competitive niche
  • 90 day ranking guarantees
  • money back guarantees
  • if they outsource their SEO because they want to do it as cheaply as possible
  • Is not able to rank their own website on page 1 of Google for the keyword SEO in their capital city – so for us it would be SEO Sydney and as of today 16 Nov 17 we are on page 1, which just goes to show you how good we are and our ability to rank sites in seriously competitive niches.
  • SEO without any copy or website audit


SEO: The Danger Of Using Cheap Agencies.

Watch out for cheap SEO agencies

One out of every two phone calls we receive about SEO has a price component attached to it. We get it and understand that people are watching closely where they spend their marketing dollar, but when it comes to SEO, you need to have realistic expectations and budgets.

The either say that they are on a very limited budget or they say that they have been paying next to nothing with their previous SEO company and was hoping that we could match or do better on their price.

These are really the most common 2 ‘strings attached’ questions I get and there is a massive amount of inherent danger in going down these paths of using an agency that has basically bought your business.

I will explore these 2 individually.

seoagencyFirstly, if I was to negotiate heavily on price then I would be compromising on our ability to deliver great SEO results. Many companies and I am actually talking about the bulk of SEO companies that can be found on Google, will be happy to negotiate and even better a very low price so they can get you to sign on the dotted line.

These SEO players are running ‘boiler room’ sales divisions and these guys are on heavy sales targets. They will say and do almost anything to secure your business without any regard for the SEO process. They do not care about your business, your goals, your website or about your online rankings. All they want to do is lock you into a 6 to 12 month contract and do as little as possible for this money.

I am not writing this for the fun of it or just to compile a blog. I am writing this, because I am privy to this as I speak to businesses in Sydney and throughout Australia who have believed this cheap SEO sales talk.

I never tell business owners: ‘you get what you pay for’ nor do I say things like ‘if it sounds to good to be true then it probably isn’t’. I still  can’t understand why they then want to go ahead say things like ‘we really want to do a proper SEO campaign and be # 1 on Google but we are on a very tight budget’. Also many people still do not understand the SEO process and that ranking on Google takes loads of time, strategy and effort.

It’s these statements and beliefs that is common amongst the business community that SEO can be done on the cheap that leaves me bewildered.

SEO takes time. It really does and if you think for 1 minute that we as a company don’t spend hours upon hours on your SEO then you are mistaken – this is why we are more expensive than the other ‘so called’ SEO companies. The reason is we do our job and we do it effectively. Plus you are also paying for our intellectual property. That is, what we have fine tuned over the years and what we know works. This IP is gold and if you want it, then it costs. That’s all there is to it. Let’s say for example your a chiropractor in Sydney CBD and you want to rank for: ‘chiropractors Sydney CBD’. If you do the ring around and are quoted less than $800 per month for this , then they are basically buying your business. Watch out for agencies that promote cheap and quick SEO as it’s all done offshore with absolutely zero strategy involved.

So if you are on a very tight budget and are looking to dominate the online space for your business it’s probably best you forget about SEO and try other avenues like social media posts or Adwords.

If you are happy to pay next to nothing for your SEO and are prepared to believe that you can get a great ranking in 90 days for very competitive keywords then we are the wrong company for you.

However, if you are prepared to sit down and  go over a SEO plan  and work out a proper campaign at realistic prices then we are the right company for you. We are not into bargaining over the phone, but prefer to sit down with you and discuss budget options and work out a suitable price that you are comfortable to pay. We will also talk about timings and manage your expectations about what’s achievable.

The second question I would like to address is when businesses ask me if I can match the price that the other company was charging. When they tell me that:

– they paid next to nothing for the SEO and they can’t understand why their rankings haven’t budged
– never achieved any results as promised
– they were never able to be contacted
– customer service was appalling and rude
– rankings in fact declined and you feel that your website is under a penalty due to over spamming the back links.
– the owner of the business was never around
– you dealt with a different person every time and each person had no clue who you were on what was happening with your campaign

and then they expect us to match the price. In this case, Im afraid you get what you pay for.

Working with SEO Sydney Experts and partnering with us for your SEO means that you are going to be getting a premium customer experience, combined with the best SEO guys working for you. There are so many things that can go wrong with your online marketing and we make sure that we dress everything to do with your ‘on and off page’ SEO. Just have a look at what Matt Cutts from Google has to say about things that can go wrong with your website and SEO.

We study what Matt has to say and make sure that we are always on top of our game in this space. We make sure we look at your websites:

  • structure
  • user experience
  • titles and descriptions
  • copy – which is now one of the most important criteria for ranking a website
  • speed
  • images
  • is your site able to be crawled easily

the list goes on and we have tool at our disposal to make sure your website is working at its very best.
In conclusion – if you are serious and I mean very serious about achieving extraordinary SEO results – why not give us a call on 02 9360 8514. Sure you can shop around for the cheapest price  and yes there are agencies out there that will be able to sweet talk you into signing up but remember one thing: SEO is not cheap and if you respect our job and pay us the right price we will be able to perform miracles for you.