Search engines are constantly updating their search algorithms to combat web spam and provide better results for users. It is therefore very important to adjust web marketing strategies to reflect current algorithm changes. Google is the industry leader in search technology and is the search engine to follow.
Google made two huge algorithm changes in 2012: Panda Update and Penguin Update. Below are the five major outcomes of these two changes.
#1 Link Broker Penalty
Link building has always been an important part of SEO. A website’s link profile indicates popularity and relevancy. Google has always frowned upon buying links because it is a blatant ploy to manipulate search engine results. In 2012 Google enacted algorithm changes that penalize link broker websites as well as the websites that purchase links. The major take away point: don’t buy links; build links naturally. Quality links are more valuable than volumes of garbage links.
#2 Over Optimization
2012 is the first year that SEO experts have become concerned with over optimization. Google’s primary business goal is to provide users with quality websites for a given search query. Websites that optimize only for search engines and not for the end user are ultimately the victims of the over optimization penalty. Great SEO is about creating great websites that rank well in the search engine and convert web traffic into paying customers. This particular penalty means it is more important than ever to hire web marketing experts that employ complete internet visibility strategies.
#3 Web Spam
Nobody likes web spam, especially Google. This is why Google and other search engines are constantly updating and changing their algorithms to keep web spam out of the search results page. The Penguin update in early 2012 focused on eliminating web spam by adding new factors, including keyword stuffing and page-layout, to help classify a site as spam. Keyword stuffing is the practice of adding keywords phrases all over a website to hopefully trick Google. The page-layout algorithm penalizes websites that have too many ads above the fold of their website.
#4 Content Quality
“Content is king”, is a popular phrase used by Internet professionals. Google has made a number of changes over the past few years that make this even more true. Recent algorithm changes, specifically Farmer Update, targeted content farms. Content farms are article sites that have a large number of low quality articles written for the purpose of link building. End users get very little value from reading articles on content farms. Google now uses a variety of factors to measure the quality of a piece of content and can better detect auto-generated article content. The bottom line, take the time to write content that is valuable to your customers. Make sure you check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Avoid using article farms for link building. Instead look for guest posting opportunities, and take the time to build a following on reputable article websites.
#5 Social Media Integration
Since 2010 Google has taken steps to personalize search results by incorporating social media results in search queries. Google is also now including social media cues to rank websites. The number of followers, fans, and shares all affect a website’s position in the SERP. Google+ has the most direct impact on search results. When a user is logged into his or her Google account and enters a search query into Google, any content shared by the user’s circles relevant to the search query will show up in the universal search results. What does this mean for you? The more Google+’s your content has, the more likely it is to show up in relevant search queries.
Search engine technology changes rapidly; therefore, the search engine optimization techniques that increased your rankings last year may be outdated this year. The key to continuing online success is interpreting algorithm changes and identifying how they directly impact your search position.