In the last few years Google has been updating its algorithms a lot and has honed in on semantic search rather than just keyword data – which means that quality content rises higher in the rankings than the spam.
A whole webpage is looked at in context and so irrelevant content and links of low quality can be penalised by Google and the website can be demoted in the rankings.
The processes of SEO are not so much about manipulation and ‘cheating’ up the ranks, as practised by many companies in the past as a short cut to high rankings, but about producing quality websites with quality links, content and overall credibility. Google like that, and so do we! But attaining that quality is not as simple as it sounds.
Less Cheating, More Strategy
It may sound on the surface like anyone can achieve good SEO just by trying to keep in mind high quality when they present their websites. By starting with the premise you are going for quality you are without doubt on the right tracks for better SEO but there is and always will be room for a strategist, who understands how search engines index websites, to give your website a push up the ranks. The ‘quality’ that Google looks for has very specific and defined criteria and that is what needs understanding if your business if to make the most of SEO.
How Changing SEO Rules Can Impact On Business
Google are always tinkering with their rules for SEO, partly to make sure no one is ‘getting the better of them’ but mainly so the person searching gets the best result. Over the last few years Google has added animal named algorithms updates to define search – Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon. These innocent sounding, cute terms of endearment for code are in fact industry changing in their gravity and turned the world of internet marketing into a storm of upheaval. For instance, take the year 2011, when Panda was introduced – a year where many business directors were no doubt reduced to tears with the prospect of having to remove hundreds of pages they had created. Prior to the Panda algorithm, some businesses that were trying to dupe Google would produce content ‘farms’ where they would write pages and pages of low quality content to make sure they ranked high – therefore appearing in search results higher than sites with higher quality information. Google is trying to deliver relevant and quality information to searchers so has always frowned on this and advised against it but only in the last 12 – 24 months has the algorithm been able to analyse and remove sites using these ‘spammy’ techniques.
There were a lot of other ‘black-hat’ techniques from creating multiple duplicate pages, link pyramids and buying site wide links – or just placing lots of keywords in the copy, blatantly just there to drive rankings.
These techniques were – no question – effecting the search engines in a way that degraded the results. With a billion searches a day, Google rightly reacted to these tricks to protect its service.
However, the change caught out a lot of businesses to the point where money was lost and the business landscape was impacted.
It also meant that websites for businesses that had higher quality content rose above company websites that relied on the well-known ‘cheat’ of bombarding the web with low quality, keyword rich content. To some degree, the new Panda algorithm levelled the playing field in business. It was no longer about the big-boys having resources to create hundreds of pages of rubbish, it was about presenting information that was genuine and useful – something smaller websites and businesses could do as well as anyone.
Fine Tune Your Strategy With Expert Advice
Whilst today it’s crucial to go through the 200+ criteria Google tell us are factors for higher ranking – it is important to keep an eye on the changes Google and other search engines are implementing as the changes happen at a relatively fast pace. The latest clue to Google’s thinking was the suggestion that website security will be a new signal for ranking so Varn is monitoring developments and testing out websites to see if added security makes a difference.
If your strategy is sound and sensible from the beginning, your website will never be in grave danger of being taken down but it helps to stay aware of the new signals that are created. It is the ability to keep pace with and to understand the constantly changing landscape for SEO that is important if your business website is to remain relevant and competitive for searches. Contact the team at Varn if you want some sound advice on SEO signals and a strategy for your website.