How do the latest Google changes affect small business SEO marketing?
There are two new sets of Google Algorithmic changes.
The first is the Google "over optimisation" update
The most common violation is keyword stuffing/spamming etc. Companies will often resort to repeating keywords. Focus on proper keyword usage. Read your content out loud. You'll know if it sounds keyword stuffed, if so, edit it. You can avoid this by using different variations of your phrases and by using synonyms. This stops over usage of one phrase and creates more phrases for more traffic.
Avoid low quality links with the same or similar anchor text. This relates to link exchanges - "you link to me and I'll link to you and let's both have everyone link to us, use the same anchor text and all link to only the homepage". Not acceptable nowadays. You want quality links to different pages, with relevant anchor text to the page you are linking to. These links are hard to get but Google doesn't care.
Too little content on the page but lots of "optimisation"
Duplicate content taken from sites that rank well.
Link farms can hurt you in two ways.
Too many links per page, without any real text or purpose other than links
Having a link farm/network linking to your site
Over optimisation has always been a bad thing. It's been called spamming and black hat but Google continually increase their efforts to remove bad sites. When Google changes, a group of bad sites take a hit, everyone is surprised and wonders why. You should optimise but in a "natural" way.
The second Google algorithm change has SEO experts worried as Google expects it to impact about 3% of English search queries.
We need to wait before assessing the damage. However, there seems to be more questions than answers and forums report that the quality of the search results is worse now.
"We’ve launched an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google's quality guidelines. This algorithm represents another step in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content."
They refer to "webspam" - link schemes, keyword stuffing, redirects that are underhand, duplicate content etc.
Industry expert Danny Sullivan, at Search Engine Land, says it’s not just that Google is chasing them, but how they are chasing them. They are improving how they identify and clear these issues.
Matt Cutts from Google clarified "over-optimisation":
"I think 'over-optimization' wasn't the best description, because it blurred the distinction between white hat SEO and webspam. This second change is targeted at webspam, not SEO, and we tried to make that fact more clear in the blog post,"
So Google has no problem with SEO - it's spam they’re after. Another Google quote:
"Our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics....
Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings....
We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites. "
So optimise your site, but don’t participate in "black hat" or spam practices.
The biggest problem area is with link building and networks. Affordable link services are getting people into trouble. You get what you pay for and you should think before engaging these services. The same goes for inexpensive content generation and "mass submission" services.
Your website is your online presence; it's your office or shop. Would you open a shop with poor staff and an overall low quality presentation? Most people wouldn't dream of it. You know a poor window display or shop or service directly impacts results.
It's the same with your website. You need a quality site with quality optimisation.
Cheap tricks, spamming, manipulating and taking the "easy way" or "shortcuts" to "fast rankings" is not an option. If you thought it was - keep your eye on your site in the coming months and you'll see the results.
Be sure about the quality of your site by cleaning and properly optimising it now. It's cheaper and quicker to ensure you have a quality site rather than getting penalised and picking up the pieces later.
It's time to face reality and if you want to get more traffic, you need to take site quality and optimisation seriously.
This isn't new. A few months ago we had Panda aimed at the quality of sites.
Google is getting more aggressive about cleaning up search results. Sites that don’t participate in “problem areas” needn’t worry. If you have a quality site with "evergreen" optimisation, you won't need to worry when there is an algorithm change.
So if you want to handle your own SEO (and you have the time, knowledge and skills) then let us grade your site for you. Send me your URL and two competitor’s URLs and I’ll send you a report on your site and how it compares.
Or you can request a FREE consultation if you think you are ready for some professional help. Get some advice on your future strategy by clicking here.