We’ve been getting calls from advertisers (non-clients) in the past 60 days asking why their website rankings have changed. I shouldn’t have to tell you that we don’t receive these calls when advertisers’ rankings are doing well. So why the big change?
ANSWER: BAD ONSITE OPTIMIZATION AND LINK BUILDING STRATEGIES
The big talk of the town is PANDA. For those of you not in the know, Google’s Panda update is the latest change in search engine algorithm launched early last year. Google has committed to releasing new versions of Panda every 30 to 60 days which we expect to see continue until late 2013.
Times change, people change and so do search engine algorithms. Matt Cutts, Google’s Chief Search Quality Engineer, has been talking about Google’s commitment to eliminate spammy website content and inbound link practices. The recent Google Panda update was a direct attack on sites with bad, duplicate, weak, and thin content along with sub-par link building practices.
Private Link Networks
This February and March, Google took a massive stab toward these advertisers. One massive thing they did was manually demote the link power of Private Link Networks (PLNs). These are networks of blogs and websites who’s sole purpose is to pass link juice and page rank. A noteworthy PLN, BuildMyRank.com, made the biggest story this quarter as Google de-indexed their websites and associated links. The same week Google announced their move and that they would also be releasing an update to the algorithm focusing on 40 different new factors for ranking.
With every change made, each site in the search engine’s index is subject to be scored to the new algorithm in place. Thus, any of those changes can easily change your website ranking with the ultimate purpose of the update is to improve the overall quality of search results.
Rand from SEOmoz, did a Whiteboard Friday describing what’s most problematic for websites right now. A lot of the information given coincided with what we we’re finding though our evaluations, so make sure you avoid these:
- Authenticate spammy titles
- Manipulative internal links
- Cruddy Link-filled footers
- Text content blocks
- Backlinks from penalty-likely sources
- Large amounts of pages targeting similar keyword intents w. slight variations
Track Your Post-Panda Website Progress
Google’s Panda update has forced many changes when it comes to SEO strategy and practices. This is overall a good thing because it stresses the importance of quality over anything else. If you are in the process of adapting your website to accommodate these changes, remember to closely track your site’s traffic and results page rank. A good analytics service can help you keep track of how your website is doing post-Panda. Soon we will post some real reports that were taken weeks after this update. It is just as important to know when you are doing the right stuff as it is to know the wrong things.