We haven’t even seen 2014 out yet, but so far this year has been filled with a range of updates from Google Headquarters that have introduced some scary SEO developments that have affected the SERPs of countless businesses around the world.
Making your site secure will improve your SERPs
Back in August and after months of speculation, Google announced that it would be giving preference to secure sites – and businesses that choose to switch to ‘https’ from the usual ‘http’ could see a slight increase in rankings.
Installing a SSL certificate and creating the ‘https’ prefix ensures that your online data is encoded. This means that all the information transferred online from this domain is safe, secure and will not be accessible to hackers.
If you don’t install the SSL correctly, will your positions suffer? Well, when asked, Google confirmed that as long as you take the necessary steps, inform Google of your site move and track your migration to a secure https site carefully in your analytics software and in Google Webmaster Tools, your search rankings (and your traffic!) shouldn’t suffer.
Changing the playing field in paid search
September saw the introduction of Google’s new Adwords policy. Over a number of weeks, this update was designed to give us more insight into what can and cannot be seen online, settling years of misunderstandings and confusion among business owners.
Unless your site advertises products that breach the new update’s rules and regulations, your site should not have been affected by the new AdWords policy. However, if you were unprepared for the update, you could have seen great disruption to your advertising strategy, which may have had a disastrous impact on your business.
Panda 4.1 – said to have affected 3% – 5% of search queries
The Panda update was brought in to penalise sites with poor quality content, meaning that it’s more important than ever that webmasters put their time and attention into concentrating on regularly producing quality content for their pages.
The update was good news for those who found they had suffered traffic and ranking drops when the last Panda update rolled out back in May (as long as they took the necessary steps to amend your site, of course!) On the other hand, it was a true nightmare for those who did not heed Google’s previous warnings and actively make changes to their sites. Those who may have narrowly escaped being ‘hit’ back at the start of the year finally got their comeuppance!
To prevent your site from being negatively affected when the next update comes around, you should ensure that the content on your website is unique and offers real value to your readers.
October saw the roll out of Penguin
The Penguin 3.0 update, brought in at the start of this month, was not just a refresh – in fact, it was an entirely new re-run algorithm, so it’s no wonder it took Google 10 months to perfect it! The aim of the update was to penalise sites that had a particularly ‘spammy’ back link profile, but it wasn’t all bad news – those who found they had been affected by the last update may have seen a significant improvement in their search engine ranking positions, as long as previous poor links had been cancelled or disavowed.
The Pirate Update
Pirate, released on October 21st, is the most recent update brought in by Google.
The latest Pirate update is a re-run of the original that was launched back in 2012 with the aim of preventing websites that went against Google’s Copyright regulations from ranking well. Those who are new to the piracy market since the last update 2 years ago can expect to get caught out by this one, so really ought to watch out!
The updates brought in so far this year have got us wondering what new developments are lurking around the corner! We’re sure we’ll see more shocking moves from Google before we see in the New Year!