2012 – The Year Of The Updates
I think anyone with any knowledge of SEO or the industry itself will be more than aware that the introduction of the Penguin update in April this year really did send shock waves through the natural listings. It saw numerous sites that were previously ranking in the top positions for some of the most competitive keywords suddenly lose these positions overnight without warning. The financial impact to these businesses was obviously substantial.
Why Has It Happened?
This was the question I found many new potential clients asking me when they inquired about how I could help them get their positions back. The fact is as a result of the Penguin Update the phrase “over optimisation” has been coined. Basically Google is intent on cleaning up its natural listings and is determined to return the most relevant results in relation to the keyword that is being searched. With this in mind Google is penalizing or dropping the positions of any sites that (in the eyes of the algorithm) have been trying to manipulate the rankings. Isn’t this the whole point of SEO? Now for some time Google has made many steps to stop people “spamming” their sites to hit the top positions and it seems that Penguin is just another update targeted at doing just that.
But You Haven’t Been Spamming Your Site?!
Many people I spoke to who had been effected by the Penguin update were adamant that they had been doing no such thing. In fact some were adamant they had been following the guidelines set by Google themselves. The issue is that as soon as Google gives a tip or trick regarding SEO or its algorithm people go out and take it to the extreme. A great example of this was the keyword section of your meta data which Google has now devalued completely because as soon as people knew what it was they spammed it and repeated the same keyword over and over. One of the big things that Penguin has picked up is that people have been (for want of a better word) spamming the anchor text in their links. Now its no surprise that some time ago Google said anchor text was a good way of letting the algorithm know what keywords you would like to target. Once again many people took this to the extreme and used their keywords in the anchor text of most, if not all, of their links. I have seen numerous sites that have been penalized for this exact purpose. There was also the issue of people purchasing strong links from sites with the sole purpose of improving their positions.
So Whats The Way Forward?
The key is Google is looking for natural listings to contain sites that have (what appears to be) natural links going into them. The job of the SEO company or anyone carrying out their own SEO is to appear as if they are not there and not doing it. This may sound like a tough ask but it isn’t as hard as it sounds. The facts are the days of buying poor quality links from the other side of world are gone. Google wants to promote sites that have good relevant content related to the keywords you are targeting. It wants to promote sites that are seen to be sharing good relevant content with the rest of the web and generally being proactive. It really wants to see good contextual links coming from a range of relevant sources, sites and blogs along with variations in anchor text as natural links simply wouldn’t have the same keywords mentioned. They would be more branded and varied. It means that any SEO company worth its salt really has to up their game otherwise their clients sites are going to suffer.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss this update in more detail or to see how we can help your site recover from or remain unaffected by the update.
Next time I’ll be writing about everyone’s other favourite update – the Panda!!