Emperor penguins by Lin Padgham via Wikimedia Commons
Emperor penguins by Lin Padgham via Wikimedia Commons

Penguins and pandas: The lowdown on Google’s algorithm updates

SEO has always been one of the most complicated elements of digital and content marketing. Any reputable SEO agency will spend significant amounts of time researching keywords and following the best possible practices. However, Google and the other leading search engines are always liable to change and SEO experts need to be prepared for these.

2012: The arrival of Panda and Penguin

It was just last year that Google made their two large algorithm updates named Panda and Penguin. This saw the search ranking of many sites fall down the rankings as they found themselves penalised under the new rules. The updates were needed to guarantee ranking of poor quality sites going down and to bring about the end of link farms and content mills, by sending them plummeting down the rankings.

Google’s spiders now recognise sites and then give better rankings to sites with engaging, well written content which is also well-connected to social media networks. Many web professionals were sent into panic with each algorithm update as previous content marketing had been stuffed with keywords and therefore found itself penalised as no longer considered ‘well written’. Of course the more reputable digital marketing professionals had less to worry about as their content was already based on quality writing and not keyword stuffing.

Penguin and Panda Rules

Below is a closer look at some of the factors which the newest, most complex Google algorithms rank a site by:

Google spiders are now able to tell if a site is badly written. It takes into account everything from poor spelling to grammatical errors and bad links. Reputable SEO Agency professionals will obviously see this is as a positive move as poor quality links and content are knocked down the ranks giving their quality content a chance to shine.

Copy is now being judged on its freshness and this has become even more important than inbound links. To compete for top Google rankings it is important to produce new content regularly. Freshness ranking looks at trending topics, recurring famous events such as the FA Cup Final and how recently content has been added.

You simply cannot cut and paste from other websites if you want the site’s ranking to remain high. Original content is one of the key aspects in determining search ranking positions. Links need to appear organically too and need to be relevant to the related content. Google Author Rank’s growth is also something which makes this element of content marketing important.

Social Profile
Social media is probably the newest and one of the most powerful tools for SEO. Google uses social in its search results to determine a site’s tanking overall. All online marketers and SEO specialists need to include their or their client’s social profile in all areas. A consistent image needs to be maintained across all networks and the social presence needs to be managed consistently as badly managed or clearly automated social profiles could harm a site’s ranking.

Google’s algorithm updates are surely not over with but all we can do as digital professionals is to keep on top of them and do all we can to ensure our content marketing strategies focus on the end-user needs and not over-obsession with search engine positioning.