Business owners, marketing professionals, bloggers, and even regular Internet users have mostly all heard of the changes Google implemented into their search algorithm. Dubbed "Panda," Google announced plans way back in 2011 and have been tweaking, fine-tuning, and changing the algorithm since then in order to make sure that their search only provides high quality results and penalizes people who try to game the system with black hat SEO or other bad practices.
Now that we have been in 2012 for awhile now (time flies, doesn't it?), there have been even more updates--one of them now called Penguin--that businesses and internet marketing specialist should be aware of in order to stay on Google's good side and provide the best impressions for your content.
What is Google Panda & Penguin?
To give you a brief explanation if you haven't been watching the news like a hawk, Google Panda was put into motion in order to get rid of "spam" or "bad" content, like the articles found at "content mills" where writers will publish thousands of articles and share the ad revenue with the website. While most of these websites do have legitimate writers, a lot of them also had bad information that was, in Google's eyes, making their search irrelevant. Panda did quite a bit of damage and a lot of those content mills haven't recovered since or even went out of business. Then, Google rolled out yet another major algorithm change: Penguin.
While Panda penalized bad content, Penguin was out to get the content with low quality links, keyword stuffing, and over-optimized anchor text and "above the fold" advertisements. Both of them work together to ensure that websites are creating only the best of the best when it comes to content for users. However, that also means a lot of people have felt the hurt simply because they don't know much about SEO or didn't bother to change any of their tactics to better suit the changes.
Why does this matter to you?
Google updates are constantly changing the battlefield and it's your mission to stay ahead in order to stay profitable and in business. That's the simple answer, of course. To make it a bit more complicated, Google is looking out for the users in the end. People who are searching for answers and happen across your websites to find those answers. They don't want to be bombarded with keyword stuffing or bad content, they just want to find what they're looking for! And it's your job to provide that.
In order to make sure your content writing or website doesn't get the boot, use these tips to determine which algorithm updated affected you and how to fix it right now. Here are some highlights from the article:
If you found your content was hit the most by Google updates from Panda, then it's time to update your keywords and content. Google has a great little tool to find out what your organic keywords are, called Google Organic. Compare your traffic before and after Panda to determine your new keywords bringing in those views.
However, if your website was hit by Penguin, it's time to scrap all of those bad links and over optimization tactics (and fast). Unfortunately, Google has been rather vague on what they consider "over optimized" websites and simply give the advice of creating valuable user interactions, very relevant and engaging content, and leaving the super-SEO tactics at the door.
The year 2012 and beyond
Google updates will continue to tweak the search engine and make the web better, however, like we have said you need to keep on your toes and make sure that you are practicing only the best tactics to appease Google (since we all know they more or less own the Internet). Now that you know the scoop on Penguin and Panda and how to handle current issues with your content and website, what about for the rest of 2012 and beyond? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
As Entrepreneur reported: Over-optimized sites will continue to be hit, engagement on your website should always be a high priority, and content marketing will continue to grow into a very stable source of marketing for your business because of the high importance of quality content from Google. Let's break these down.
If you continue to over-optimize by keyword stuffing, using the "quantity over quality" method with backlinks, and stuff your anchor text with questionable SEO, then your website is going to continue to fail. If you think your website will need a complete make-over, then do it! There are tons of inexpensive ways to rework your website in order to be in Google's good graces. It just simply means that you care about your business and want to see it flourish.
If you're feeling the hurt from Google updates when it comes to user engagement, then it's time to make your website a worth-while trip for Internet surfers. This means providing only the best content that helps them answer questions, or can be shared with their social networks (both is even better!). Don't just try to sell, sell, sell. It's more than that, now. As most marketers will tell you, "tell a story with your content." Let users be a part of your business's culture, like sharing their brand loyalty on your website through pictures or stories.
Content. It's a big thing. If you aren't using content yet, then it's about time you did! Articles, blog posts, infographics, videos--whatever your preference, it's time to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. However, Panda focuses on the written content of your business and website. In order to keep it fresh, remember to keep it relevant to the times (articles from 5 years ago need to be thrown out or updated), give the user actual substance in the content, and make it interactive for the user. Encourage them to comment and ignite a conversation.
Whether it's Panda or Penguin, Google's best practices are always the ones that are one step ahead of the game. And if you continue to follow these tips, your business won't have to worry about a thing when it comes to impressions and views. But, how can your business keep tabs on all of the changes? A really simple way is to create a Google Alerts specifically for the keywords "Google Panda" and "Google Penguin." That way, you will have news articles and blog posts about the Google changes sent straight to your email everyday.
All of this sounds simple enough, right? Google updates don't have to be a thing to cower or be confused about, it simply means keeping your online marketing tactics updated and at their best. While it may seem like more work for you, it certainly doesn't have to be with so many people out there who do this for a living.
Web content developers, online marketers, and SEO experts are all out there and know all of these Google updates like the back of their hands. If you don't want to keep tabs on all of the algorithm changes, they will for you and help you out (and you don't have to go bankrupt). Google shouldn't be the one taking you out of business simply because of their algorithm changes, no one should be forcing you out of business!
What changes have you made in order to appease the all mighty Google? Or, are you still unsure what changes you need to make? Let us know in the comments about your experiences with the algorithm changes!