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.
I can easily spot a site that’s too lean and meagre on the content. Many businesses, feel that this is not an important component of their website, well how wrong they have been! If your website or blogs are slight on the copy, then don’t 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 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.
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, uninventive, poorly worded and under 500 words; then from what the quality control team at Google are saying, you are violating the Panda updates.
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 and article. This is SO 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 Pengiun algorithm, which focuses on spammy sites and shifty link building 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 condemned 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.
Pre 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.