Just as we prepare our homes for the cold months ahead, our websites need to be prepared for algorithm updates. Many sites were blindsided by Google’s “Penguin” update earlier this year, and are still trying to repair the damages. Some sites’ rankings have fallen so far that they will never recover unless they rebuild their site from the ground up. This is a difficult realization for business owners whose main source of revenue comes from online sales. Who would have thought that Google would eventually penalize sites for unnatural spammy link text and paid links? (Doh!) Just like algorithm updates in the past, Google wants to wipe out the spam and give their audience what they want – relevant results and good content. Even though acquiring links still is a ranking factor, quality over quantity is more important than ever. We have found sites hit hardest by Penguin have hundreds or thousands of random links from irrelevant sites and directories, often using the same anchor text over and over again. Also, having too many paid links is likely to raise a red flag to Google. If you think about it, avoiding these issues is really common sense when you keep the user in mind. You want your site to provide the best user experience possible – which will ultimately affect your conversion rate.
In summary, site owners and marketers should always be ready for a major algorithm update. Just as you prepare your home inside and out for winter, your website’s internal and external structure should be analyzed before the next “Penguin” update. Like the weather, Google’s algorithm changes can be unpredictable – but we know more updates are coming. So, are you prepared? Does your site follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, or are you unaware of the SEO and link building tactics your current SEO company uses (keep in mind black hat tricks of the past such as keyword stuffing and cloaking). Whether or not you knowingly engage in these tactics, Google may see it as spam with the intention to manipulate the search results. If you are unable to determine whether or not your site has a solid SEO foundation, contact Lead To Conversion for free site analysis and consultation. Google is keeping watch on spammy backlinks and over-optimized sites, so don’t get left out in the cold!