The last 2 updates to the Google search engine have been disastrous for some websites. Sites that had been using link farms to build up their back-links to their site have been punished for that behavior. The thing is, Google does not publish their algorithms. Most of what we know about how the search engine works is based off of observed behaviors. Google works very hard to keep their algorithm private so that web designers and SEO firms cannot game the engine.

Why does Google keep changing the search engine?

In the Panda release, it is believed that Google is looking at variables like how users engage a page (bounce rate, click through rate and number of times a page is chosen in results). It seems Google is trying to judge whether a page earns its place in the rankings.

Google used to simply demote poorly written pages. Now it seems they may push down the entire domain. This was apparently done to discourage the poorly written pages that were using the purchased links to drive up their search relevance.

Penguin has pushed the curve even higher on page quality. It is believed that Penguin looks at the entire site as a whole, checking for good quality content on each page. Pages must include a significant amount of text and contain a variety of content type.

So, how can I overcome this?

Long content should incorporate pictures that reflect relationship to the topic. Kind of like a magazine article. Speaking of content, make sure it is your own. Google doesn’t like duplicate content. That also means you shouldn’t use the same content in different pages. Make sure you modify it each time you use it. If you are using meta keywords on your site, make sure you don’t load every page with the same exact keywords. It really won’t help.

So, in order to increase your position in the rankings, keep your content unique and relevant. It is a good idea to link from the home page into internal pages to build content relevance. If you link off your page, make sure you use the title attribute to describe where the user is going. Be specific and use brand names where applicable. Make sure to mix video and images on your pages to make the page interesting and relevant to the keywords you build your page around.

Is this going to cost me a fortune?

A lot of people say you have to buy keywords and pay big bucks to rank on Google these days. We think if you can get a good niche and use good content and well thought out keyword phrase placement you will continue to rank well. We recommend you consider using strong local references as well if you are a brick and mortar local business.

Feedback Loop

We would love to hear how these Google changes have affected your business and it’s “findability” on the search engines. We try to build our client’s websites using good content and well thought out keywords because we still believe that in most cases we can get good organic results for our clients. If you would like to investigate this topic further, leave us a comment or give us a call!

One thought on “Can You Still Rank on Google?

  1. Dropping by from UBC . . . During the course of the challenge, I’ve read several posts about marketing/business/social media/etc. I write a small, personal blog, so many of these things don’t really pertain to me, and I have to be honest: they almost scare me off from ever wanting to consider an online business of any sort! Still, that being said, this is interesting–almost like a game, with site managers trying to keep themselves at the top of search results and Google doing whatever they can to make sure it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s like an intricate dance; I wish you luck keeping up with all the steps.

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