It all (majorly) began on 23 February 2011. The date when Google announced its first Panda update, affecting nearly 12% of search results. The date when the sleep of many SEOs and, of course, their clients was taken away by the search engine giant.
Let’s revisit Google Panda
Named after a Google engineer Navneet Panda, one of the key persons behind its development, Google Panda is a machine-learning algorithm through which Google has intelligently started to weed out low-quality content. Having rocked the Web roughly 25 times, Panda is the pain in the neck of all those who try to get SEO benefits out of bullshit content and bullshit content marketing.
Major targets of Google Panda:
- Thin content
- Unnatural link velocity
- Less diversity in direct traffic
- Low CTR from SERPs
- Excessive bouncing rate
- Low/no social signals
The best way out
Optimize your site for mobile so you don’t miss out on on-the-go users and can diversify your direct traffic. Create content that wows people and is sharable and linkworthy. Think about how to make your content marketing last the distance.
Then there came Google Penguin, the most relentless Google algorithm update yet, which majorly targets spammy links all around the Web. According to a recent poll by Search Engine Roundtable, 61% sites never recovered from Google Penguin. Penguin 2.0, the fourth Penguin update, went live the other day, affecting 2.3% of queries. According to Google’s Matt Cutts, this update, unlike the previous ones, “goes deeper” into link analysis and penalizing the sketchy sites.
Major targets of Google Penguin:
- Backlink spam
- Over-optimized anchor text
- Hacked sites
- Keyword stuffing
- Duplicate content
The best way out
Make sure your link profile looks natural and your anchor texts are diversified. Remove/disavow spammy inbound links (if any). Start going after hard, relevant links – content marketing is one great way to do this. Stop obsessing over SEO. Rely on other sources such as social media for traffic, too.
SEO as many know it is dead
At ResultFirst, we often come across clients who say: “Do whatever, just get us on page 1 on these keywords.” For them SEO is all about rankings and always has been.
We personally feel that it’s not completely their fault to think like that (neither are they easily convincible, mind) – mainly because it’s a collective failure. As SEOs, we all somewhere have failed to be true SEOs, to impart education in them and to help them understand that SEO is more than SEO – that it’s not just about rankings, it’s also about social, content, site speed, UX, and more.
Today personalization and authorship are already influencing SERPs. Tomorrow social may replace links; co-occurrence may predominate and eclipse anchor texts.
It’s time to evolve
SEO is evolving, and we need to understand and rather embrace that. This will help us think about and cater the long-term goals of our clients.