As the biggest name in online search, Google answers more than one billion queries every day. In order to maintain their powerhouse reputation, Google is continuously tweaking their methodology, which allows them to offer the best possible search results for users while presumably keeping webmasters from “gaming the system” to gain better rankings. Website owners and SEO experts are constantly kept on their collective toes, trying to keep up with the on-going developments in order to achieve the highly coveted first page Google ranking. There are two primary ways through which Google impacts the ranking of a website – manual actions and algorithmic updates.
Manual actions include instances in which a website is reviewed by a person on the Google Team and assessed a ranking penalty for using practices that are not in keeping with Google guidelines for SEO. Manual actions may or may not be the result of a specific complaint against the site. According to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s spam team, Google now provides notification for all nearly all manual actions. If a manual action is taken against a website, the webmaster can request Google reconsideration. With manual actions, the Google team can typically respond a little faster, since they can see what problem led to the action. The impact of algorithmic updates may be harder to pinpoint.
Algorithmic updates occur as the result of changes automatically made to Google’s search algorithms. Google describes their algorithms as relying on more than 200 unique signals. Some of the signals you might anticipate include how frequently the search terms occur on the web page, if the terms are used in the title, and whether synonyms of the search terms are used on the page. Others are not as easy to predict.
The recent series of algorithmic actions known as Panda is getting a lot of attention these days. These updates are aimed at helping users find higher quality websites, while giving webmasters who have worked hard to create a quality site the opportunity to rank better. Unfortunately sometimes sites are unjustly penalized, either by mistake or through an unintended misstep, causing webmasters a multitude of headaches. With over 30 Google algorithmic changes this year alone, if a webmaster does notice substantially lower rankings, it may be difficult to discern which, if any, update might have caused the drop.
Engaging in ethical SEO strategies such as building quality links and good original content should keep your website from being suspect and vulnerable to scrutiny. If you are concerned about Google actions that may affect your website, there are a few places you can go to for guidance.
- Looking for information on the best way to keep your site in good standing? Google provides extensive webmaster guidelines to assist developers in creating websites and content that should fare well under scrutiny – whether by person or Panda.
- Would you like to check your site’s health for potential issues with Google? Visit Google’s Webmaster Tools page to register your website and get helpful guidance.
- Wondering just how many Panda slaps there have been? SEO MOZ has a good comprehensive timeline review of Google algorithm change history, including all of the Panda updates.
Keeping up with the constant changes in the world of SEO is complicated and time consuming. Like many other website owners, you may have another full time job, with a host of its own complications that command your attention. Contact the knowledgeable and experienced Upright Team – we are ready to assist you with your SEO program and give you one less thing to worry about.