“To prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results.”
Does that ‘sentence’ mean anything to you? No? Well, you should really be paying more attention, because the rationale behind that sentiment could well affect your business over the course of the next 12 months. If you’re still unclear what this refers to, then let us put you out of your misery. The quotation comes from Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, and outlines Google’s agenda on search engine ranking. Google wants to encourage more sites to upload fresh quality content, and to discourage less reputable sites from uploading poor content and gaming the search engines. Why is it taking this stance? Well, it’s simply because it wants to remain relevant, and to do that it needs to be able to assure that the people who use its search engine will get the information and answers they’re looking for. That’s why Google regularly tinkers with its algorithms, and that’s why it’s recently released its new update, Panda 4.0.
Google routinely updates its algorithms, and most of the time the changes are announced with little fanfare.
This time, however, it’s different. This time the changes announced on Twitter by Goggle last week have really got people talking, particularly those with any interest in SEO. So why is this algorithm update causing ructions? Well, it’s because they could have a significant impact on businesses which trade online. It’s estimated that the changes could affect around 7.5 per cent of search queries in the UK alone. Now that might not sound such a big number, but trust us, its impact will be felt by many average businesses who rely on Google’ search engine for getting their information out in the public domain.
How can these average businesses take the sting out of Panda 4.0? What can they do to ensure they stay in Google’s good books? Well, effectively what they’ll need to do is to take a hard look at the digital marketing strategy. Business should look to strengthen in 3 areas in particular; website, content and social.
When did you last look at your website objectively? The chances are the answer is a long, long time ago. Time moves on and fashions change, so your website will need updating too. Check Google Analytics to see if there are any problems with the functioning of your website. Is your website accessible and responsive? Is it easily navigable by mobile devices? It won’t matter what your Google ranking is if your audience can’t access your website. Think of what your visitors want, rather than focusing exclusively on keywords. What’s important is content: content that not only explains who you are and what you do, but that is also regularly updated and adds value. Businesses will also need to ensure that websites conform to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
If you already run a blog, then make you sure you add to it regularly. If you don’t, then get one up and running as soon as possible. Don’t overlook the fact that blogs are actually web pages which can help improve search engine ranking. Blogs allow you to add fresh content to your website. Use the blog to add content that focuses on your areas of expertise and targets the keywords your audience is searching for.
Why is it important for businesses to actively participate on social media platforms? Well, because Google has admitted it incorporates “social signals” as part of its algorithms. If that wasn’t reason enough to get social, did you know Google knows when you post to social sites, and even when people like of make comments on those posts? Its importance can’t be stressed enough: social matters, especially for any business looking to improve its search engine ranking. Does it matter which social platforms you choose? Well, not really. Some are better suited to certain businesses, but all serve their purpose. All we would say is don’t overlook Google+, for obvious reasons. What businesses need to remember is that Google wants you to put your customers first, and for that to happen you’ll need to give them the best online experience possible. If you are able to provide a functional and well-designed website which is regularly updated with fresh and interesting content and blogs and participate and engage on social media sites, you’ll not only keep your customers happy, you’ll keep Google happy too. That has to be a result, doesn’t it?