2013-02-11 11:22:11 - It sounds like the start of a children’s book - two cuddly black and white animal friends setting off on an epic adventure to tidy up the internet - but in reality the story isn't all sunshine and rainbows.
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO as it’s more commonly abbreviated to, is the process of positioning and tailoring a website so that the content of the site appeals to search engines. The aim is to appeal to Google, Bing and other search engines so that your site appears above your competition in the search engine rankings pages for a range of relevant search terms with the goal of obtaining a greater number of enquiries and/or sales for your products/services.
If you own a website you’ve no doubt had some experience with SEO, be it you’ve given it a try yourself or been approached by an SEO company who have done some work for you- probably with varying degrees of success.
is an industry quite unlike any other. The main goal for all SEO specialists is to appeal to Google- Google’s search market share is 85%+ and as such is an incredible resource of potential business. The difficulty with trying to appeal to Google however is that they are incredibly secretive about the rapidly evolving beast that is their Google algorithm.
The Google algorithm uses hundreds of different factors, all weighted to different degrees to determine who gets the top spots in the Google search engine rankings. The algorithm takes into account an incredible array of factors which are simply too numerous to list here in this article- everything from the content of your website to the links which point to it are taken into account along with a 101 other factors which you may never even have considered.
In order to ensure people don’t copy or exploit the algorithm to their own benefit, Google plays their cards very close to their chest- never revealing precisely which factors appear in the algorithm or which are the most important to ensure positive rankings. There are two incredibly important things which are at the forefront of any SEO campaign though- quality, original content and high quality, varied back links to your website. These are the two main things which Google looks for to determine where your site should appear in the Search Engine Results Page. This is where the story returns to the Panda and the Penguin:
Google has always tweaked and altered their algorithm slightly in order to improve the quality of the results which make it onto the front-page of their search results. Over time the algorithm has become more and more complicated in order to tackle spammy or dishonest individuals who have exploited loop-holes in the algorithm to boost their own sites rankings. For many years this has been a relatively low-key affair with minor changes only affecting the poorest quality sites. The changes in 2012 however were far more wide reaching- affecting thousands of sites across the globe- many of whom had never done anything untoward or malicious.
The Google Penguin Update
The Google Penguin Update is targeted towards what Google deems to be poor quality back-links to your website. In the past many people were led to believe the more links the better- volume was key and people spent a great deal of time, money and effort in sourcing links from wherever they could. Often people were (and unfortunately still are) duped into believing they were paying for a good SEO service which was simply building loads of links pointing to their websites- often from poor quality directories with the same link anchor text which caused a very negative impact on their overall search ranking positions- especially when Google Penguin came into play.
Penguin largely changed things for the better- stopping dishonest SEO companies from taking advantage of website owners by simply building loads of poor quality links in order to rank more highly. Unfortunately however, for many honest business owners, it was already too late. Individuals who thought they were doing the right thing for their company by building links soon found their websites were penalised and their search rankings had fallen away.
The Google Panda Update
The Google Panda Update is a bit more of a tricky concept to get your head around. The update itself has come in at least 24 individual parts- the most recent of which, conveniently known as Panda #24, happened on January the 22nd 2013.
These updates don’t directly target sites which Google thinks are explicitly violating their webmaster guidelines, instead they target “thin content” or content which isn’t particularly engaging. Because there are no specific guidelines from Google on what they deem as quality engaging content it can be tricky to know if your site appeals to the Panda update- especially after so many tweaks and revisions have happened and will no doubt continue over the coming months. Things to look out for in your site include: content which is similar or the same as content elsewhere on your site or anywhere else on the net (check for similar indexed content using www.copyscape.com/
which trawls the web for similar copy), and keyword stuffed content where the same few words are repeated over and over again across the content.
Google’s updates seem to be happening more and more regularly, without notice and with very little information on what has changed when it does. If your site seems to suddenly fall away in the rankings then check whether there has been an update to the algorithm which has affected your site.
SEO is as we say, quite unlike any other industry. With so many hundreds of factors which are constantly updating you need to be incredibly dedicated and well informed to ensure you see the very best results in your campaign.
Here at SEO 24/7 we have many years’ experience in providing only the very best quality solutions to our clients to ensure they see the very best results. If you suspect you’ve been effected by any of the algorithm updates, or want to secure your websites future by utilising an honest and ethical SEO company, contact us today.
SEO 24/7 specialise in providing measurable ROI for clients using performance based marketing and Conversion Rate Optimisation methods ( www.seo247.co.uk/services/conversion-rate-optimisation.html
) to track results. Visit www.seo247.co.uk
for more information or to arrange a free consultation.