Google, everyone’s favorite search engine, has been going through some tweaks over the last few months. Maybe you heard about them or maybe you didn’t, my guess is that you didn’t because the big part happened when we were all sitting down at the table with family and being thankful.
Well good news, it’s still going on. That’s right, it’s not over yet. Since Thanksgiving, Google has been rolling out their latest update called Penguin and it has made itself known quickly. What does Penguin do? Penguin scans your pages in an effort to store your content for returns in search. Penguin analyzes your page content to validate whether it matches your SEO (search engine optimization), to ensure you are not SEOing content for one term and really writing about another. This means it scans your page blog posts and images alike. The crawl see’s everything on the server. Even old images not longer in use are all graded and stored. Depending on how well you did, your content, post and images could put your pages at the ready to match a query and get you onto the first page in a Google search return. A failed grade will leave you at the bottom, and since only 5% of searchers go beyond page one, you really are a “no show”. At the same time Penguin was active, the next update called Panda was finishing it’s dramatic entry into the world.
Now you’re asking yourself, why should I care about these updates? Well, most of you have search terms that you want to show up under, right? All of you should be saying yes. If you say no, we need to have a conversation. When these updates started coming out, we had a site that was showing in the number one position for about six different search terms and getting a substantial number of hits a month. In fact, they where one of our top three sites for visits per month. Once these updates started rolling out, the site fell off of Google in the matter of two weeks. You read me right, fell off of Google search returns!
These two algorithms took a site that was on the top for over a year and completely removed it from search returns. To make a month long story shorter, it took a complete content re-edit, refocusing of SEO startegy and ongoing page and site resubmission to Google to get the site back up to the top. It took us, trained professionals, about a month to get the site back at number two nationally.
If you have not Googled yourself with the top search term that you want people to find you by you need to do that now. Do not wait to do this. If you are not on the top two pages for anything’s home page, Google+ page, or Facebook, then you are on the list of sites that need some help. Is it going to take a month to show back up? Maybe, these updates have made collateral changes to what is required by sites to be considered worthy of top returns. Google is waiting to see how many of you have taken notice and understand how to comply. Proving your site is worthy, alive and thriving is what Google is hoping to see. They are in the business of providing the best response to a question. You have to prove it’s you. The good news is Google is on a on a break right now waiting to see how everything evens out. So we have some time to get these fixes in place for you before they start putting them in go mode again.
If you feel that your site has experienced a drop in traffic, or that you’re simply not showing up in returns, we offer a free 30 audit to identify your weaknesses and areas you have been punished, resulting in a drop in page rank. It is now more important to keep an active eye on your Google search return placement. Having an ongoing and active strategy makes your website a lead generator and not a brochure.
What about Bing and Yahoo? Sorry, they will still show you and the fixes we do for Google will help there to. But Google is still the big dog in the search engine (67% of the market in the U.S.) race and it doesn’t look like they will go away anytime soon.