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SEO Updates: how they work

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a very important tool for companies when building a greater presence online.

SEO is the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural listings on search engines. All major search engines like Google and Bing show results for web pages and other content where they are ranked based on what they consider most relevant to users. SEO is free to use, as it is with paid search ads.

Experts can spend hours a day researching keywords to create a sound SEO strategy, but they also have to be prepared for the changes that search engines put in place. The latest change to Google’s SEO is their two algorithm updates – Panda and Penguin. When these algorithm updates were introduced last year, many websites fell down the rankings because the changes were implemented in order to rank poor quality sites down, and give more weight to websites that produce quality content.

Penguin and Panda updates relied on a new set of rules and more complex algorithms intended to rank a website on a number of different factors, including:

  • Content – Badly written content, lots of ads and bad quality links can now be detected by Google spiders. This means that poor quality article content falls down the ranks so that high quality can take their place and be more useful to searchers.
  • Freshness – the “freshness” of content has become more important to Google than inbound links. This means that updating your website with new content often has become necessary in order to compete on Google. There are three key areas to look at in regards to the freshness ranking: 1. Trending topics, 2. Recurring famous events and 3. How recently the content has been added.
  • Unique content – Original content has become one of the most important aspects of determining position. If you copy and paste some content into a website to cut corners, it will also cut the site’s ranking. Websites containing unnatural links will also be penalised, so it’s important that links appear organically and are relevant to the content. This will become even more important when Google’s Author Rank comes into play.
  • Social – This is a very powerful tool for SEO as Google now uses social in search results to determine how useful a site is across the board. Marketers and SEO experts need to ensure that all brand colours and logos are the same across all social channels and websites. It is also important to make sure that the social presence is well managed; otherwise it will harm your site’s ranking.
  • Free from technical errors – A website made from scratch will perform better than a site which is built off templates, Flash, or is more than two years old. This means that codes should be standards-based with applicable CSS tags and organised meta data.

There are companies and SEO experts that use black hat techniques to acquire more customers and money. Black hat techniques is a way of manipulating search engines into thinking a site is “valuable”. With the new rules, Google has become very strict with companies using this technique, and many business sites have dropped significantly down the rankings. Here is a list of black hat techniques to watch out for:

  • Packing code with “hidden” text
  • Link farms where a group of sites link to each other to spam an index of a search engine
  • Blog spam
  • Scraping – where one site takes content from another in order to seem more valuable to search engines
  • Doorway pages used with the intention of appealing to searchers with phrases that do not relate to the sites content
  • Parasitic hosting – where a site is hosted on somebody else’s server without their permission
  • Cloaking - the search engine spider sees different content to the end user who views through a browser.

The updates are obviously starting to work, with more websites using black hat techniques or just generally not updating their content falling down the ranking system. As long as you stick to the Panda and Penguin rules, you will have a successful SEO strategy.

If you have any concerns about your SEO strategy, we will be happy to answer any of your questions. Please contact us here.

Update:

To learn more on the latest SEO updates click here

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