Google is the largest search engine in the world with 300 million people a day using it to look for products and services online. So it’s no surprise that being ranked high for phrases relating to your business can mean a large wave of potential customers arriving at your cyber doorstep.
Google uses over 120 signals (each differently weighted) as part of their algorithm that decides where a website should appear in its rankings for various keywords. Some of the more important factors include:
- page title and meta description tag
- page headings and content
- domain name and URL wording
- number and quality of inbound links
- internal linking and site structure
- bounce rate and time spent on website
Changes in the Air
At the end of April 2012, Google Penguin was released, which is their latest algorithm update. And it has resulted in some BIG changes to the ranking results across a number of industries. Hundreds of thousands of websites have been effected by the Penguin update, with many of them going from the top page of Google to relative obscurity, in a matter of seconds!
Websites that have been over-optimised, have low quality content or have lots of low quality inbound links have been hardest hit, as Google tries to generate search results that provide the best “user experience”.
This is a good thing for the web, as it aims to weed out dodgy sites that have wormed their way into top rankings and don’t deserve to be there. However it is also effecting high quality websites. Google now seems to be penalising sites for “too much SEO” such as title tags with too many key phrases, and incoming links with over-optimised anchor text (the words in links back to your site).
Up until a few weeks ago, these were seen across the SEO industry as good accepted techniques, used by the very best and and most reputable SEO companies. Which is why some popular and trusted websites have all but dropped off the map in terms of their rankings.
Despite a lot of negative feedback to Google, it seems people will simply need to accept the Penguin changes (and subsequent algorithm adjustments) as Google strives to provide the best user experience and most natural search results.
Some factors that need strong assessment following the Google Penguin update include:
- The title tags on each web page should not contain multiple variations of the same phrases, which is now considered spammy
- The headings should not be stuffed with lots of keywords and should be an accurate reflection of the copy that follows
- A website should be structured in a way that flows well, with internal linking to other related pages within the copy
- The website should contain useful information to the visitor, that makes them stay on the website, and click around to numerous pages.
- Links from other websites back to your pages should NOT all contain the same keywords in the anchor text, and should contain a mixture of various keywords and also your business name.
Temerity have begun assessing all their SEO clients’ websites and have already begun implementing changes. While most seem to have been fairly unaffected in their rankings, (due to our use of ethical SEO practices over the years), continued tweaks to the Google Penguin update could mean it’s only a matter of time before a website is penalised for “over optimisation” and takes a hit.
If you don’t already have SEO with us then contact us for a free website assessment or view our revamped SEO packages and look to make your site “Penguin-Proof”. For exisiting SEO customers, we will be using the next couple of months to ensure your website is optimised well in Google’s eyes, adjusting to these big changes and helping your ranking success.