Two Google Algorithm Updates That Changed SEO Forever
Perfect SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the Holy Grail of internet domination for websites. Get your SEO right, and you’re the king of the online world. But, here’s the thing – SEO isn’t a monolith, and like everything else that exists within the eco-system of digital technology, it changes.
Not too long ago, this is exactly what happened. The world’s most preferred search engine decided that it wasn’t too happy with current SEO practices and decided to launch two algorithms that would change SEO forever.
You see, SEO was pretty straightforward back then. You focused on content quality, keyword optimization, on-page optimization, and effective backlinking. This was enough to get your website indexed by search engines like Google.
But, this also allowed some SEO experts to leverage loopholes and game the system. That’s when Google realized that something needed to be done to give everybody a fair shot at becoming “the most popular website.”
Their solution – two new algorithms named Panda and Penguin.
The Winds Of Change
Released in 2011, Panda was fashioned to be a weapon against sites that offered little to no value. To put it simply, if your website was littered with advertisements, experienced minimal traffic, and contained almost no valuable information, Panda made sure you didn’t show up in the searches.
Spam blogs were the first to take a hit, and they took it the hardest. Content farms, long tail niche sites, and sites that depended on link exchanges were up next. Basically, Panda changed Google’s ranking approach in such a way that any website relying on low-quality backlinks or other “quick and easy” optimization tricks failed to qualify as a high-quality search result.
Of course, this move was too radical, So, Google came up with Penguin soon after. What Penguin did was it prioritized high-quality websites instead of running behind the low-quality ones. But, don’t be fooled. Penguin wasn’t created to play “good cop.” The algorithm went after sites that indulged in keyword stuffing, shifty link redirects, link cloaking, and link schemes.
Penguin also started looking at social media backlinks to determine a site’s PageRank. The algorithm made it difficult for sites to make use of tricks such as over-optimization via duplicate content or keyword anchor text.
A Shift In Priorities
To cut a long story short, Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms prevent site owners from leveraging extremely specific linking strategies or engaging in niche domination. The focus is now on reputation and content quality. That means backlinks from reputed sites will be taken into consideration.
Also, the whole “once a winner, always a winner” approach isn’t going to cut it. Google expects websites to remain relevant, which means you will have to keep coming up with fresh content and improve the user experience constantly.
Priority will also be given to the level of visitor engagement. Of course, this might sound pretty obvious. Google, naturally, wants to promote sites that its users will find valuable. Its own reputation depends on that. But, here’s the catch – the metrics that Google refers to in order to determine a given website’s “value” are unknown.
However, to be on the safe side, site owners and webmasters should direct their efforts towards social network follow-through, article comments, and customer reviews. Visitor feedback will serve as a good metric for determining site value.
In conclusion, it’s quite clear that you need to review your SEO strategy. Google is watching, and they’re doing everything that they can to prevent low-quality websites from making a quick buck. So, stay sharp and be proactive. Change is the only constant.