You may be aware of the latest news to hit the USofA regarding Google. Hundreds if not thousands of US sites have over the last week found that they have dropped from sight in the Google search rankings and that their visitors and revenue has been seriously affected.
Some of these sites are operated by very successful large companies. So what has happened? Google, as usual, is continually looking to improve the user experience. In doing so they routinely, sometimes even daily, have shifts in their algorithms, the check lists that it uses to rank websites based on their quality scoring compared with the search term used.
Now in an aim to provide its users with even better search results Google has recently rolled out a very significant change to its algorithm. This shift Google hopes will push down lower quality websites that it deems as content farms for popular keyword searches in favour for higher quality websites.
Google doesn’t normally tell users or SEO’s about algorithm shifts as by their very nature they are designed to stop us knowing too much about what they are doing. But this one was a major shift for Google and will relate to over 11% of its searches.
Google’s official blog says that this shift is a ‘pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking-a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries’ and that they have let us know because they wanted people to be informed about what was going on. At the moment this has only been rolled out in the US but it is soon to be rolled out worldwide. They have made the announcement no doubt because website owners and SEO’s around the globe would otherwise have been tearing their hair out wondering what had happened to their sites, rankings and possibly because some innocent sites will get hit along the way.
The blog says that the shift is an aim to improve search results and removed results from sites that are poor in quality, have low value to users, copy content from other sites or considered as content farms. It is hoped that these will be replaced with sites that have original content and analysis, are informative to users and provide quality thoughtful content.
The Google blog also says ‘We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down.’
Google also recently launched the Personal Blocklist Chrome extension, which they say had no bearing on the results of the algorithm shift but did backup the need to do something, this extension allows users to block content they do not want to see in their searches.
This algorithm shift, know as the Panda, has been sending shockwaves across the United States and sites such as HubPages, WiseGeeks, ezinearticles.com and Suite101 have been hit hard with their owners going on the defensive.
There has been some serious affect on webmasters that have been unjustly affected by this change, webmasters who claim that they are not content farmers.
So what can you do if you think your website is affected (please remember at the time of writing this article the algorithm shift has not yet hit the UK)? Firstly, follow the link at the bottom of this page. Here you can let Google know that you have been affected, as far as you are concerned unjustly, by the recent changes. You can also see comments by other website owners and webmasters and what has happened to their sites. Posting your comments here won’t get Google to take direct action but they say they will feed back the info to their engineers. Secondly, contact iSEV for a website review and online marketing analysis to see what can be done about restoring your position and regaining your site traffic.
As far as iSEV is concerned we feel this can only be a good thing for Google search results. It will mean that website owners will have to focus on quality content for their websites as opposed to a fast easy solutions and that website owners might have to take a long hard look at their sites.
As far as our clients are concerned we will of course continue to monitor your search ranking for your keyword phrases as well as the traffic that comes to your site. We will then advise and adapt to any negative effect this algorithm shift may have.
On the positive side at iSEV we always try to instil into our clients the need for high quality, original and fresh content. As long as you stick to these rules you should find that this change has no negative affect. In fact iSEV will be looking at this as an area to gain better rankings for our clients, by providing high quality content, over and above the poor quality sites that Google is trying to get rid of.
Google is continually looking to improve the user experience, if you are looking to do the same for your site you should continue to see improvements in your site’s performance.
For more info on this, an analysis of your online marketing strategy and how it affects you contact us today.