Pandas Penguins and Using Search Engine Optimization

There has been much commentary of late concerning the changes and updates to how Google determines it’s search results and how it ranks pages that ultimately appear in those results. We’ve heard new terms being applied to these algorithm updates, such as Farmer, Panda even a Penguin. The seo environment has changed, what does it all mean though, for your websites and online business?

Firstly, actually understanding what the term ‘algorithm’ means, will help us a little to understand what’s going on.’Algorithm’ means:- a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor. With that in mind, we can perhaps see why these changes are taking place.

But, hang on, what’s all the fuss about and why should we care or even pay attention to what these changes mean, “I’ve written good content, haven’t used many spun articles, I might have automated a few hundred backlinks, so what, what has this got to do with me” I hear you say!.
Well, how they’ll really affect your websites’ ranking ability in the search engine results pages or SERPS, depends on how your pages got there in the first place. What you need to do to give your pages the best chance to figure on the first page and stay there, is a somewhat contentious issue to say the least, that I’ll try and address.

If you’ve been involved in internet marketing for any length of time, you’re probably on numerous “guru’s” email lists and bought an enormous amount of their courses, software, products of all descriptions to automate practically everything, like linkbuilding, traffic generation, SEO, posting spun articles to here there and every blog network or directory, you name it, they’ve got an irresistable offer for you that supposedly solves the problem. Right? Tell me I’m wrong!

Many of these same “gurus” have been offering their opinions, advice and evaluation of what they think the Google changes might all mean to you and me, obviously most with good intentions, but you have to ask yourself, how accurate and factual is their advice, in other words, SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE? And the result, is confusion and misconception from differing opinions, which might leave the average person at a dilemma as to who to believe.

The reason I say this is because, often you’ll see new offers and products, supposedly addressing these changes, appear within a relatively short period of time of the updates from Google, which leads me to think, ‘how can they possibly know for certain, in such a short time how to comply with what has occurred, successfully, surely there needs to be a time of testing and tweaking to gain definitive answers’.

All I’m saying is, do your due diligence, don’t just accept or buy what is offered, it’s an easy solution for many I know, but not necessarily the right one for your business. Each of them will have a different perspective on what is required to overcome these algorithm changes. My best advice is, go to the source, go directly to the source, in this case Google, determine from the information ‘they’ve’ given to see what you may/or may not need to do to safeguard your online assets.

Webmasters who have attempted to manipulate their web pages in the past with automation of sorts, repetitive keyword anchor text tactics and other ‘grey hat’ and some  ‘white hat’ techniques will sooner or later face the consequences of using such methods for the purposes of seo.

Users of these types of things are precisely who Google is trying to weed out and eliminate, the manipulation of your own pages’ on and off page seo, building thousands of backlinks automatically to try and gain an unnatural advantage in Google’s rankings, won’t work anymore, stop doing it. Not all ‘popular’ methods of seo manipulation have been uncovered yet by Google’s algorithms, it’s just a matter of time though, if you’re still using any means to unnaturally manipulate, do so at your own peril. By no means are these the only factors influencing Google either.

Back on my birthday, May 16, Google introduced ‘Knowledge Graphs’ too, I won’t detail it here, if you want to read, Introducing Knowledge Graphs, it’s an informative read if your interested, here’s an excerpt-

Take a query like [taj mahal]. For more than four decades, search has essentially been about matching keywords to queries. To a search engine the words [taj mahal] have been just that—two words.

But we all know that [taj mahal] has a much richer meaning. You might think of one of the world’s most beautiful monuments, or a Grammy Award-winning musician, or possibly even a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Or, depending on when you last ate, the nearest Indian restaurant. It’s why we’ve been working on an intelligent model—in geek-speak, a “graph”—that understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings.

It’s a good idea to stay informed by ‘reliable’ sources, check out the ‘Inside Search’ Google blog to keep up to date with changes and news about search. http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/

This wasn’t the first update of course, I’ve included it because of the date, just one of many. To better get a grip of what Google is about, here’s where you can find data about all updates, here.

  • So, in summation what are some of the things you can do now and in the future to improve your chances of success. Well, what it comes down to is common sense really, a bit simplistic I know but:-
  • write unique original content for your “audience” on websites, not for keyword stuffing or search engines.
  • it’s ok to let Google and others know of your new post by building a few links initially for exposure, don’t over do it though,
  • change up the anchor text, not just repeating the keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for, it looks unnatural, it’s not how others would link to you.
  • avoid using hidden text in your code, like image replacement techniques, whether deception is intended or not is a no-no.
  • make sure you have social integration on your site with the popular social buttons, to encourage others to share your content.
  • get people talking about, sharing and linking back to your stuff, this is now a significant factor in ranking too.
  • stay informed by paying attention to the knowledge leaders, like SearchEngineLand, SeoMoz and of course Google

Obviously this is not the definitive list, I am not the expert nor do I need to be, just trying to make a point, do due research at the sites I mentioned, they live and breathe this stuff.

In the years I have been involved in internet marketing, I’ve been misled by some, taken advantage of by others, but influenced and guided by few in the industry, that I can say I trust when it comes to matters of seo and internet marketing. The knowledge and expertise in this area by these guys over the years is world renowned and acknowledged and appreciated. I’m talking about Searchengineland, seomoz and Dan Thies and Leslie Rhode of ‘Seo Braintrust‘. Follow the leaders in the field, not every Tom and Guru.

By the way, just so you know, I have no specific affiliation with any of them, nor do I gain any financial compensation for recommending them, they are just the best, follow them, you don’t need to buy the latest WSO to reach the top.

What do you reckon, have you been affected, leave your thoughts, criticism, experiences or relevant comments, all non spam will be rewarded with a link back. How’s that!

Image Source: Flickr