Google Algorithm Changes
Google has recently introduced two very important updates called Penguin and Panda, in order to produce the best, cleanest searches based on keywords. Websites that comply with the new updates have risen in rankings whereas others that haven’t are penalised and as a result dropped in rankings. If you have seen your websites rankings on Google improve or fall in the last few months it could be because of either Penguin or Panda updates.
What is Google’s Panda update?
Panda updates aim to make sure high quality sites are ranking within the top spots on Google, and as a result, pushes down websites it deems to be low quality. Google introduced this new update in 2011 to target content farms. Content farms are used for search engine optimisation purposes, they create a huge amount of articles for websites, with content that is identical to others and provides little use for its readers.
Low quality content within a website can be a number of things. Basically, it means the content has been duplicated, contains spelling or factual mistakes, overproduced and the topic is of no use to any of its users.
What is Google Penguin?
Penguin is the newest of Google’s updates and targets all the spam on the web which has the intention of manipulating search engine rankings. Penguin will only affect your website if it is involved in keyword stuffing and anchor links that are irrelevant to the content.
Keyword stuffing means inserting links on sites that are used as link farms. Link farms are sites that provides hyperlinks from your site to others, in order to boost your companies Google rankings quickly. Anchor links are much different, they are clickable links embedded within a text or image.
How will this affect my website?
Google are penalising websites that do not comply with its specific guidelines and basic principles. For example, if your website is involved in web spamming tactics or has low quality content, there is a chance that your site will be penalised. Websites that are penalised will drop in rankings and this will result in less enquiries and conversions for your company.
Google penalise websites every time it executes an update. Updates can occur at any time, but normally it is monthly. If you want up to date news of when Google are refreshing a Panda or Penguin update, follow them on their twitter page @google.
How to avoid being penalised by Panda
To avoid being penalised by Panda, your website needs to be very high quality. Ensure pages are user friendly by producing content for your visitors that will be informative to them, contains an easy navigation system and articles are unique with your own text. When making your website or updating it, have in mind what your users would want from your website and forget everything about SEO. With this mentality your website is likely to rise in rankings at the next update.
To see a full list of what Google deems to be a high quality website visit http://www.google.com/webmasters/
How to avoid being penalised by Penguin
To avoid being penalised by Penguin, you need to build natural links. Building links naturally means anchor links are related to the content, placing links on related directories and links directing users to a variety of different pages on your website rather than just the homepage. More importantly avoid link farms and other sites that are considered as spam. Again have your viewers in mind, will they find these links useful, or will they see them as spam?
Avoiding these spam tactics will push up your rankings.
What should I do if my rankings have dropped?
- Get familiar with Google’s guidelines and principles, so you know exactly what your website needs to be. Visit support.google.com for a full list of the guidelines.
- Research where your links are coming from. Google Webmaster tools will provide you a list of websites that contains your links, so you will be able to see the low quality sites to remove them later. Majestic SEO tool will give you a list of your anchor text links and will show you if a certain term has been overused, in order to change or remove them.
- Analyse your website from a visitor perspective. Is the content useful and informative? Are the links relevant? Is it easy to navigate throughout the site? Does it comply with Google’s rules?
- Make the necessary changes to your website.
- Submit a request to Google for reconsideration on Webmasters tools.
If you are unsure why your website has dropped in rankings, enlist the help of professionals in SEO who will help you get back on track.