Changes to Google Algorithm

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Article by @sophie_smpr

Changes to Google Algorithm

Google algorithms and updates are a constant topic of conversation in the SEO world, and when updates to Panda & Penguin happen you are likely to know about it! With the latest Google Panda update launched around mid-March, and a BIG Google Penguin Update on the horizon let’s explore what they actually are, what happens and how these updates can actually be beneficial to you…

Google Panda

The Panda algorithm is essentially a quality filter which is applied to websites. By measuring the quality of content on each page of your website, Google Panda will give your overall website a quality score and thus Google will rank you in the search engines accordingly.

Rumour has it that the latest Google Panda update has recently launched (March 15th) and from now on these updates are going to be integrated into the main algorithm, and not manually released. So if you have noticed a drop in your web traffic and a decrease in your search engine rankings for keywords there could be a number of possibilities. Check to make sure that your website doesn’t contain duplicate content, or if there is a high number of advertisements, even over-optimising a web page – these can all decrease your quality score through Google Panda and therefore lower your rankings.

Remember: if you score negatively on just ONE of these things, Panda will drop the ENTIRE website and NOT just individual pages.

Why is it beneficial? Well, the algorithm allows Google to crack down on spammers, and means that Google should provide higher quality results.

You can avoid being penalised by Google Panda by following these steps:

  • Make sure your content is unique & relevant
  • Quality inbound links to your website will help you maintain authority
  • Limit your advertisements
  • Make your content sharable – social influence now plays a part in your search rankings!

Google Penguin

The Penguin algorithm differs to the Panda algorithm. Penguin is designed to crack down on companies that use black hat (unethical) SEO tactics to increase their search engine rankings and visibility. Unethical SEO tactics include; key word stuffing, cloaking, unnatural links and content spinning. Simply, it tries to stop web spammers – so if you’re playing by the rules you shouldn’t be penalised.

The last major update happened back in October, 2012; and there has been speculation that the next major update is on the horizon but Google are refusing to say an exact date but have said that it will be “very significant”.  Let’s look a little further into Penguin…

The main aim of the Penguin algorithm is to reduce web spam as well as picking up websites that have unnatural link profiles. Google want companies to EARN back-links by engaging, contributing and adding valuable content.

If you don’t want to be significantly affected by the upcoming update then not only should your website be full of quality, original, relevant content but also the backlinks leading to it are coming from these types of sites too. As well as this, your social authority will also play a significant role.

As the latest update hasn’t been released yet, anything could happen – but Search Engine Watch offer a great list of what they think could play a part, and give you some valuable points to think about:

  • Understand where your back links are coming from in more detail
  • Create relationships and partnerships with sites with strong social authority
  • Vary your anchor text links – too many of the same kind will seem spammy to Google you should aim to increase the use of branded links with “white noise” anchor texts as these seem more natural to Google (e.g. “click here” or “website”)

Conclusion

Whilst this information is a lot to take in and get your head around; I can’t stress enough how important it is to act upon these algorithms and coincide changes to your website accordingly. Failure to do so may result in a significant drop in your search engine results positioning’s and thus a drop in traffic to your site.

Have you been affected by the latest Panda update? Are you worried about the next Penguin update? We would love to hear your thoughts, comment below: 

 

References:

9Dot Strategies
Sitefinity
Business2Community
Search Engine Watch

 

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