Google’s 2012 SEO Review
2012 has been an interesting year for website SEO. If you’re a web design company, a business owner or an SEO service provider, it’s a full time job trying to keep up with all the algorithm changes. Google wants to cut back on the number of people gaming the system and also improve search results and quality for the Internet user but Panda and Penguin plus all of their subsequent updates have made the World Wide Web a difficult place to reside. It’s time to look at SEO in a new light and focus not on what you have to do to get ranking but on what you should be offering to be considered a valuable resource, which is ultimately what the search engines and everyone really wants, right?
The impact of Penguin and Panda is still being felt but there are some things you can do to prevent your site from being devalued and even to improve a site that has been previously downranked due to these updates. Google has changed their search algorithm between 300-500 times over the past year and while most of them were very minor, some of the big changes have website owners across the globe scrambling to comply.
So let’s take a look at some of the major changes to the search algorithms that happened this year:
- Too many ads above the fold can get your site devalued
- Low quality content or “thin” content was filtered out as a follow-up to the original Panda update
- April brought us Penguin- which focused on “over optimization penalty” or “Webspam update”
- Linkspam was targeted- warnings were sent out to many website owners with what Google read as unnatural backlinks
- Penalty for sites that abuse copyright infringement (especially repeatedly)- remember folks, just because you “find it on Google”, doesn’t mean you can copy it to your own site
- (EMD) Exact Match Domain Penalty – copying a well known domain and posting thin content to try to piggyback off the popularity of the original domain. These sites are now filtered out or down severly.
- 21st update to Panda came in November with a focus on penalizing low quality sites
Who knows what December and then the New Year will bring (besides a lot of champagne). If you’re worried about your website or unsure of how to get back in the good graces of Google, it’s all fairly simple: deliver excellent content.
Forget about the tricks and the “secrets” you hear about online and avoid black hat tactics like the plague. Focus on giving your website visitors something of true value so they appreciate it and want to come back again, as well as recommend you to friends. Being that the search engines are looking more at social factors every day, things that people just naturally want to share is the name of the game….finally.
Make sure all content on your site is unique and well written. Mix it up with some multimedia- do podcasts and video marketing. Have some fun with it or whatever if your style.
In addition, get into social media and if you’re already there, get more involved in a genuine way. Don’t try to ‘game’ the system but instead, try to connect with users on a real level. If you don’t have the time and energy to do this for your company, consider hiring a community manager to take on that role. It’s a better investment than dropping a bunch of cash on purchased backlinks that will get you flagged for link spam.
Speaking of links, consider participating in quality guest blogging. Create excellent content on your chosen topic and try to get it published on some of your favorite industry blogs and sites. And don’t be afraid to link out to high quality, authority websites as well in your content.
Remember to update your web content regularly and continue to contribute something useful and worthwhile to the Internet. Search engine optimization is still very important but far too often, website owners get caught up in all the current “tricks of the trade” and they forget the purpose of it all. Even if you do weasel your way to the top of search with the right techniques, you won’t keep human readers around or convert anyone to customers when you don’t have something of value to offer.
If you need help with your website SEO as we head into 2013, contact us for a quote on a website SEO assessment.