Google Algorithms And Penalties You Should Know Before Performing SEO
Google has been constantly coming out with new algorithms and their updates. These changes make it difficult for any website owner to plan out a regular SEO plan.
As of now, no one can predict what more changes the giant search engine will introduce in the days to come.
However, you can always get the details of the latest update and improve your site’s optimization accordingly to avoid penalties from Google.
But this too can be difficult for most of the small business SEO services as there are around 200 factors used by the search engine for ranking.
So, you might wonder on which factors you should primarily focus. Since its inception, Google has come out with four major algorithm updates. These include:
The tweaks and major updates for these algorithms kept on coming in between and these changes were never publicized but did affect the rankings of the websites on the results page.
Here we will understand the various criteria related to different Google algorithm updates and the penalties that can affect your website.
- Google Panda
It is a very famous and the first algorithm from Google so most of you have heard of it. But you may not be aware of the details regarding Google Panda. Here, we are going to discuss these details and the penalties you can face.
All the professional SEO services are aware that the introduction of Google Panda revolutionized the SEO field. It forced every business relying on the search engine sales and generating lead to becoming attentive.
It also established one most important fact that SEO can never be constant.
It evolves continuously and the SEO best practices of today can be outdated tomorrow. The day Google Panda was introduced; it penalized sites with exact match domain names which were a shock to many SEO experts.
So what is Google Panda? It is an algorithm named after Biswanath Panda, a Google Engineer which was rolled out in February 2011.
The update is a type of search filter that was used to filter quality content and targeted thin sites and poor quality content with very less SEO power.
In this way, the sites that did not pass the Google Panda filter were prevented from ranking among the top in the Google search engine pages.
With the introduction of this algorithm, site owners either experienced an increase in their rankings or drop in the organic traffic.
Impact Of Google Panda On SEO
With the introduction of Google Panda, a major upheaval occurred in the world of SEO. The content strategy, researching of the keyword and even targeting changed completely.
Other changes that the SEO services experienced include modification in the ways links are built since using high-quality links that point out the webpage ultimately gives more value and power to SEO.
Using Google Panda, the search engine could accurately detect the sites that the visitors found useful and those that were spammy.
This algorithm is also called an update because Google runs it periodically and every time the filtering is carried out, the algorithm changes a bit.
It means, whenever, Google Panda filter runs the high-quality content automatically gets back into the search results while the content pages that previously escaped the update and are spam are caught in the net.
Until now, Google has introduced around 26 Panda updates.
Apart from that, the search engine keeps on introducing Panda tweaks in between.
Factors Causing Google Panda Penalties
So, you would very much like to know what can lead to your site being penalized. Which site is more vulnerable to Google Panda attack? Here are a few factors that can increase the risk for your site:
Many websites have same content blocks on different pages of their site. And this can cause lots of problems for SEO and also to the visitors.
And if you have redirected these duplicate pages, then the chances of getting caught in the net of Google Panda increases manifold.
When the spider of Google tracks down duplicate content on any website, it first analyzes different elements that are a part of your webpage and do not immediately penalize you.
So it is advisable to remove any type of content duplication and keep your focus on creating unique, rich and helpful content.
Keep in mind that if an identical content is found in your URLs and domain names, then it can create a problem.
Auditing Inbound Links
At times, your website has both unique and useful content. Even then, your SEO do not provide the expected results.
In such a case, you need to try auditing the inbound links on your site. There is always a possibility that low-quality links can bring down your ranking on the website.
The update expects every site to focus on quality instead of quantity. Even though you are now creating good quality content, the bad quality of the past can still affect your website.
So apart from creating high quality, good links today you also need to check the links that you built initially while starting marketing on the internet.
Also, if lots of inbound links are coming to your site from irrelevant sites then it can trigger problem and Google might penalize you.
To avoid this, top SEO services try to get links from sites that have similar theme or subject as your website.
Reducing High Bounce Rate
High bounce rate can indeed affect your website seriously. A bounce rate is nothing but the number of times visitors viewed only a single page on your site. The question is why the visitor did not stay for a longer time and explore more pages.
The question is why the visitor did not stay for a longer time and explore more pages.
His quick exit indicates that either your content is not interesting, interactive or useful enough for the visitor. Google Panda tracks down if your site has higher bounce rate. For Google, if your site has high bounce rate it means it is not providing something useful to the visitor.
For Google, if your site has high bounce rate it means it is not providing something useful to the visitor.
You can track down the bounce rate for your site by using your Google Analytics account. Generally, a bounce rate of above 60% is considered quite high. Anything below that is fair, but it also varies according to the industry type.
Usually, usability and site design are the major reason for high bounce rate. So try to improve content and design on your site and make it more user-friendly.
Low Repeat Visits
If the visitors coming to your site do not come again then Google will take it that you are not offering any valuable or relevant information to the site.
With the use of mobile devices for browsing the internet even surpassing the desktop usage, visitors even might not come again to your site if it is not mobile-friendly.
Keep track of visitors making repeat visits to your site with Google Analytics data?
You can improve the statistics for repeat visitors by offering something new or a reward to the visitors in their next visit such as free report or gifts, e-course or so on. You can improve repeat visits statistics by:
- Increasing load time of your website
- Offering helpful and solution-providing content
- Avoiding Boilerplate (reusing) content
- Deleting irrelevant Meta tags
Recovering From Google Panda Penalty
If your website gets hit by the Google Panda penalty, the next is to come up with a recovery plan to solve the problem. So how can you do it? The first thing is to identify whether your site has been penalized by Google Panda.
If Google has introduced a new Panda update and your organic traffic is showing a drop then the filter net has trapped your site. One of the best ways to improve the organic traffic is to remove or beef up thin content on your website.
Also rewriting content and creating high quality, fresh and unique content is also one of the ways to remove the penalty.
- Google Penguin
Google released Penguin update on April 24, 2012. It is an algorithm update that strictly focuses on the incoming links. Prior to the release of Penguin update, the best SEO service company owners, webmasters and content marketers used various tactics for building links.
The major difference between Google Panda and Penguin is that Panda update targets low quality and thin content whereas Penguin update majorly is all about tracking sites with unnatural links.
Even though link building still works to some extent, however, most of the old-fashioned, traditional strategies of link building are now outdated.
Factors Causing Penguin Update Penalty
What are the factors that can lead to penalization from Google Penguin? There are four such factors as depicted in the above image.
Link building is still considered important, but Google is aiming at providing high-quality sites in its search ranking. The practice of using link schemes involves generating links for manipulating or inducing the search engines to improve the ranking of your web pages in the search engine results.
And if Penguin Update finds that you are building the links from different sites to your site then you can be penalized for sure. So, what should you do? SEO consulting services avoid all types of link scheming as it is very risky.
Stop Keyword Stuffing
Even if your site is offering in-depth and quality content, if you are stuffing the text with keywords then Google Penguin will most likely penalize it.
Make sure that the keyword usage is based on the Google Webmaster Guidelines and avoid excessive use of keywords in the content.
Keyword stuffing is usually carried out to manipulate website’s rankings. In case, a particular keyword seems irrelevant or do not sound good or smooth with the flow, avoid using it in the content.
Does this mean you should start focusing on keywords?
Use of keywords is still relevant even after the introduction of Google Panda and Penguin updates. Instead of stuffing the content with keywords, just divert the focus to the intent while using the keywords.
Make sure that your content is a combination of highly appealing text that touches a cord with the reader and also offers a solution to their problems.
Too much SEO can lead to over-optimization. For example, if your anchor texts are over-optimized it can lead to penalization by Penguin.
To avoid this you should start a social media marketing campaign and acquire organic and natural links for the pages of your website.
How to identify that you are over-optimizing? One of the ways to track this down is by checking whether the anchor texts for your internal links are keyword rich or not.
Eliminate Unnatural Links
These links do not look good for Google as well as to the readers. These links are always present on the websites that are completely off-topic. Previously, unnatural links did work for bigger sites.
However, ever since the introduction of Google Penguin only natural links can really help you gain the top spot in the search engine index.
So the first step you need to take to avoid penalty from Google Penguin is to eliminate such unnatural links that exist on your web pages.
Also paid links, link exchanges and several other black-hat techniques that worked previously should be avoided.
Avoiding Google Penguin Penalty
The only way to avoid the penalty is by positioning your blog in such a way that it earns natural links. Try using Web of Trust (WOT) which is a type of website auditor to check a number of visitors who trust your website.
In case your WOT score comes out to be very low, then you need to work out more. It means you need to create high-quality content and also improve social engagement through social media platforms.
- Google Hummingbird
Google introduced Hummingbird on September 26, 2016. Unlike Google Panda and Penguin, it is not an update but introduced some new enhancements to the algorithm of Google.
It provides the search engine with a much faster and precise platform so that the searchers can find easily what they are searching for whenever they type the given search term in Google search engine.
It means that Google Hummingbird has been introduced to improve the efficiency of Google when it comes to delivering results for a particular keyword including the keyword intent.
In other words, Google Panda and Penguin updated the existing algorithm and Hummingbird is an altogether a new algorithm. Ever since the introduction of Hummingbird, the focus has now shifted to the user rather than the keyword.
Although keyword research is still relevant, now it is more relevant if you are exploring a new market. For that, you need to produce content that really provides solutions to the problems of the people.
That is why SEO marketing services always create the content keeping the user in mind instead of the keywords as was the practice previously.
Once you have created such content, for better evaluation of its quality measure the impact of the links using website auditor.
According to the founder and CEO OF BrigthEdge, Jim Yu, there are certain elements that are still highly effective even after the coming of Hummingbird.
According to Yu, keyword research still occupies the top seat in SEO. But the only change is in the perspective.
Previously the content was based on the keywords. Now, the keywords should be used to improve the quality of the text.
Hummingbird And Long-Tail Keywords
Post-Hummingbird era, sites that have been using long-tail phrases and keywords have benefitted more as compared to those using head or seed keywords.
Hence, you must try to include long-tail keywords in your content to get maximum traffic.
One of the important elements of Hummingbird is conversational search. So using conversational keywords you can create highly valuable content.
More often, nowadays people use conversational terms to search their required information.
So, try to prepare your landing page in such a way that it answers such questions. You can find out search conversational and long-tail keywords using Google Keyword Planner.
- Google Pigeon
With the introduction of Google Pigeon update 58% local online marketers changed their tactics. The update introduced in July 2014 has remarkably influenced the SEO marketing techniques.
Initially, the update was not released worldwide.
Previously the searches for Google and Google Maps yielded different results. But with the coming out of Google Pigeon the map search and web search results have become more cohesive.
Now the local results are similar to the web search.
Google Pigeon also gives more importance to local directories while searching. It means that Pigeon is the biggest update for local search from Google.
Implement the same techniques that you use for avoiding Google Panda and Google Penguin penalties.
The above information regarding the latest changes and updates in Google algorithm will give you an insight as to how you should plan your SEO strategy and avoid being penalized by Google Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, and Hummingbird change.
Surely, these updates and changes have brought a massive revolution in the world of SEO. But more is expected with the introduction of another update Google Mobilegeddon which has been introduced keeping in mind the increase in the number of users using mobile devices instead of a desktop for accessing the internet.
So, apart from keeping all these updates in mind you also must make your site mobile-friendly.