A Bittersweet Holiday with Google Algorithm Changes
Here Today - Gone Tomorrow
It would seem that this Christmas season is to be a bitter sweet for online merchants. This is highly due to the new algorithm launched by Google named PANDA 4.1! If you have seen a sudden drop in your sites visits around October, most likely it is in direct relation to this update. Many companies, oblivious to what this update can do for or against them, have noticed very quickly after the initial launch that things are not as they use to be. Going into Christmas season, any website that relies on organic digital traffic will have the nightmare of not being noticed or seen by those searching for their site and with this new algorithm launching in October, many have faced that nightmare. Panda 4.1 is Google’s 27th update and was implemented with the intention of giving incentives for quality content on your site and penalizing those with low quality content. This can include bad backlinks (which is one of the main focus points of Panda), irrelevant content, or not enough content. If you've noticed a nosedive in traffic, now would be a great time to begin doing some updates to get out of the red. Those who have been working tirelessly to find themselves back on search results may have seen a spike between Thanksgiving and Black Friday as Panda was rolled back. A sudden drop would return the following Tuesday. Following a few of my favorite blogs, I have noticed many webmasters confused about the ups and downs. The good news is that those who have seen a decline are still able to redeem their traffic by following a few simple steps.
Firstly, remove all cheap affiliate, link farming and spammer references to your site. Many unknowing webmasters may have hired companies overseas to help with SEO and these companies will go directly to link farms and dump a ton of cheap backlinks on the companies domain. This is what Google will target first. Your only prayer in this situation is to go to Google Webmaster Tools or Moz analytics and find out what links are pointing to your site. If the links are in other languages like Russian or Korean they are most likely killing your traffic (unless you have a Russian or Korean company). With Google Webmaster Tools, you can disavow those domains by creating a word document and uploading it to Google. This will not give you an immediate renewal to former ranking but will be a start.
Secondly, content awareness has become a new phrase for all who have been penalized. You can no longer have pages that don't have informational content that pertains to the goal of your site. This means that it is time to search through every page on your site and make sure there are no 404 page not found, 302 temporary redirects or simply blank or shallow pages. This can hurt your ranking to the point where you are no longer found on the first 50 pages of search results.
There are other factors that come into play but making those changes can make a tremendous difference in your pages ranking. Many sites that were once lower ranked sites have seen a great increase in traffic with this new update while other older sites (2000-2010) have seen a horrible decrease as they have failed to keep up with the changes. This holiday season, don't fall into the black hold of SEO mistakes. Keep your site fresh and updated and enjoy a profitable merry Christmas and New year!
A Few Tools to Help
- Ahrefs Site Explorer & Backlink Checker
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- Moz: SEO Software, Tools and Resources for Better Marketing
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