I may be just a lowly writer, but even my clients have been running to me–filled with fear!–asking, “What’s going on with Google?!” And though I be but a lowly writer, thanks to my own experiences in SEO (and generally staying on top of things!), I’ve been able to give them the gist of things. So, if you’re looking for an explanation “in layman’s terms” of the recent Google algorithm changes (Panda & Penguin), you’ve come to the right place…
Google Algorithm Changes: Panda & Penguin
Changing the Face of Internet Marketing: The Good, the Bad, and the In-Between
- Website owners are now encouraged to write for the readers, not for the robots. As a writer, I cheered. Quality written content is now valued above all else. The days of keyword stuffing and bloated content may soon come to an end!
- Most of the “White Hat” SEO techniques are still valid. Woo!
- Google really has cracked down on spam/scam sites quite well!
- It’s brought a lot of focus & stability to honest websites. Now that the content creators are back to focusing on the human visitors rather than the robot visitors, overall website quality is going up! Writers/podcasters/artists can get back to just saying what they want to say. Google’s new stance is “Pretend we don’t exist.” (Good luck with that, Google…)
- Ranking on Google is now slower than ever!! This is the one that has me screaming. Everyone wants to be ranked “NOW!” but that’s just not going to happen. There’s no longer a “quick fix.” And any links that Google deems “unnatural” (i.e. Links you paid for–even if they were from an ethical/legit source) can get you the stink eye.
- Page Rank matters more than ever. Google previously determined site “authority” by the amount of links leading to a website. Each website that linked to your website was like getting a “vote” that your website was worthwhile. With the new “quality first” stance of the recent algorithm changes, Google is looking at each of the links and then judging their web “authority” to determine your Page Rank. In other words, a quality website linking to your website will boost your Page Rank more than a new or poor quality website linking to your website would. It’s crazy-making. And it’s leading to a new era of web-marketing where people are feeling afraid to link to others for fear of getting sued (i.e. “I’d love to link to my favorite website in this article, but my website isn’t well-respected on Google and could bring their website Rank down…”). I really hope they change this with their next update, but, for now, everyone has to live with it. UGH.
- Heavier emphasis on social media outlets. Since social media is, by definition, social, the “new” Google has been favoring websites with more social interaction. Fortunately, “social media” covers a lot of ground–in addition to Facebook and Twitter, Blogs are also considered to be “social” as long as they’re frequently updated with real content. Writing guest posts for relevant websites (and getting legit reviews from others) are also being taken into consideration.
- Ad Placement rules have gotten a little wacky. In addition to cracking down on websites with “excessive” ads, Google is also messing around with how the ads are placed. It’s a little weird, but, to my understanding, ads for your own products can be fully visible “above the fold” of your website (what you first see on your site without having to scroll down), but sponsored ads or pay-per-click ads are now having to be placed “below the fold” (as in, you’d have to scroll down to see them) in order to not be considered “spam-like.”
- Google is still in love with Google. So anyone with a Google+ account or a YouTube account is feeling the love. Even with all their “quality first” moral chest thumping, they still put their own websites above all others. Haha! In the end, they’re just another business.
Where Do We Go from Here…?
Many of you are probably asking, “Where do we go from here?”
For me, the process looks something like this:
- Write quality content–or hire someone else to write it for you.
- Don’t participate in skeevy SEO techniques.
Good, honest, hard work is being rewarded. Slowly. But, in the end, your website will come out on top.