Each time Google does a big algorithm update, people with Internet businesses start freaking out, and with good reason too! Some marketers suddenly find their sales dropping by 90% (0r more) overnight, because their once highly placed website is suddenly nowhere to be found!
The problem is that Google doesn’t like people “artificially” boosting their sites, and unfortunately, most SEO revolves around working out how the search engines rank sites and optimizing sites to suit. However, Google is clever and keeps finding new ways to outwit SEO companies, meaning we always have to keep on our toes!
The most recent algorithm change was rolled out on April 24th, and has been called the “Penguin Update”. One of the biggest changes to the new algorithm was targeting sites that are over-optimized (in other words, sites that have had a lot of SEO work!). The biggest focus of penguin was penalizing sites that utilized so-called “link spam”. It’s been known for a long time that Google favors websites that have lots of links from other sites. Of course, people took advantage of this by creating as many links on as many other sites as possible, all linking to their site (and these links were also keyword optimized, to really show Google what the site should be ranked for).
Google naturally got wise to the number of artificially created links, and decided to come down pretty hard on sites that had too much “unnatural linking” which led to the fall of many once highly placed sites, and the decimation of several online businesses. Essentially, penguin targeted pretty much everything that most SEO practitioners have been doing for years!
Basically, this means that businesses and those who do SEO have to come up with new practices and methods for ranking sites. Google wants to see if the link structure looks natural, which means that SEO companies who have only used a limited number of keywords to create backlinks, are now having to work hard to fix the problem. This means creating new and varied ways of backlinking, as well as working on other means of promoting the website, that may not revolve so much around search engine marketing.
Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses have been struck very hard by the changes. Firstly, many don’t have the immediate funds to hire SEO companies to fix the damage, and many had no idea how SEO worked in the first place, so don’t understand what’s happened.
The first thing businesses need to do is to focus their online strategy on creating quality content. No matter what else is done to improve their site, content will always be key. Sites with regularly added, fresh content are always seen as more relevant than sites which are thrown up and never updated. Sites with well written and informative articles are also well regarded by the search engines.
Finally, it’s important not to panic because your website has lost its ranking in the most recent update. Look at the strategies being used to optimize the site, and then change them to suit. Add more quality content on a regular basis, and ensure any linking strategies are done very naturally and slowly. Use a variety of sources for backlinks, and also focus on promotion using social media. As long as you keep on top of your business, and focus on quality over quantity, your website will eventually weather the storm.