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Google’s algorithm updates are always nerve-wracking for site owners. There are so many variables that are tossed into the equation with each update, and that is always frightening. You never want to make a mistake that is going to send the sight plummeting into the graveyard of poor sites on Google. This essentially means the end of any success you might have been having. Google Penguin 4.0 has been released, and is still rolling out at the time of this post, and it has brought along with it a few new changes. Let’s take a look at what this update is all about and what it means for site owners.

Will This Update Stick?

Now, this is really interesting because this update has allowed so spammy sites to slip through the cracks and improve drastically in rankings.  The point of Google’s updates, other than forcing businesses to use pay-per-click advertising, is to provide the best user experience possible, and provide searchers with the most relevant search results in the top few on the page.  There are some rumblings in on-line forums that Google could possibly roll this update back like they have done in the past if the search results begin to reward spammy types of sites.

Many online marketers spend their days searching for loopholes in Google’s search algorithm to find ways to rank sites quicker and easier. Google has stepped up its game once again and is going to have this update ongoing, making adjustments and alterations along the way.  This can be frustrating for many businesses and SEO’s that make adjustments to sites, and wait to measure the results.  An ongoing update along with the obvious delay Google has put in place for the movements in the search results is going to have many scratching their heads wondering what strategy will work best.

Poor Backlink Profile Will Hurt

If there is one thing a website cannot afford now with the new changes, it is going to be a poor backlink profile. Each site is going to have inbound and outbound backlinks that are going to have an impact on how well it attracts traffic and showcases authority to Google.

Now, in the past, you could still get away with some “spammy”‘ backlinks pointing to your website, but Google has become more and more sophisticated in locating link farms and blog networks, and many sites have been decimated with huge decreases in rankings.  Right before this post was finished, Hit Me SEO was contacted by a very large potential client that has seen a decrease in organic traffic by 65% over the last week.  The crazy thing, this company hasn’t participated in any forms of poor linking campaigns in the past, but it does appear they were caught up in this update in some capacity.

SEO Experts in Maryland

Google Penguin 4.0 is going to be stringent when it comes to those spammy backlinks, and those who are not paying attention will get hammered to say the least.

So, what should you be doing regarding your backlink profile to get the results that you need and continue to rank? Well, the suggestion is to make sure the backlinks that are of poor quality are removed as soon as possible, and you are creating new content on your website or blog that can be picked up and shared on social media channels. Content that has little to no value to a reader is going to be linked to or shared, and this will ultimately not help you in any way of increasing or improving your backlink profile.  Yes, there is a reason why we are writing our first blog in about three months.  It is that important!

 

Redirects Can Be Damaging

Do you have a lot of redirects on the site? This may impact your rankings if they are not set up properly.  It is perfectly fine to change the destination of your site to a new page if you now have content that is more relevant to the searcher.  However, bouncing visitors from one page to the next to the next, or having links that are broken or cause 404 errors are going to begin to show increased damage to your rankings over time. What we see most often at Hit Me SEO when we do a technical crawl of a website is redirects have been put in place, but often times, they are setup incorrectly, or the site owner has failed to alter internal links within the site to match the new content.  You want to make it as easy as possible for the search engine spiders to crawl your website and find all of the relevant information quickly.  Redirects just add an additional step or layer to scan the website.

Relevance Matters

Google Penguin 4.0 UpdateEver seen a search result on Google, clicked it, and then wondered how this was able to rank?
It does not always have to do with keyword research, backlinks, or the trust and authority of the website. Google is looking at the entire website as a whole, and trying to understand the relevance of the entire site.  If you have one page on your site dedicated to dog training, and the rest of the website is about cosmetic dentistry, that dog training page is not going to be given nearly the weight or trust as all the other pages on the site.  Google continues to view ‘content relevance’ with regards to the sites that are being put up and ranking.

Think of your website as a grocery store.  Your brick and mortar grocery store is going to be divided into different sections, and like products are going to be grouped together. You won’t find milk and bread in eleven different sections of the store, and your website should follow the same structure.  Link and match topics together into groups, and link those pages to other pages within that group.  Each section will then make up a portion of your website, and each portion or silo is going to help Google understand what the entire website is all about.  That is how you create a relevant website covering a wide variety of subjects and topics.

Mobile-Friendly

Imagine looking at search results on your smartphone and then clicking on one of them only to realize it does not work on your mobile device. Is that really something you are going to appreciate or will you start to look elsewhere?

Well, in the modern age, mobile-friendly sites are a must and Google has been rewarding mobile friendly and easy to navigate sites for years. If the mobile experience for users is bad on mobile, you can be sure your rankings on all mobile devices will suffer.  More people are now doing their browsing on a mobile device.  Doesn’t it make sense to have your website as easy to navigate on an Iphone as it is on a desktop?

 

Be Care About Blog Comments

Now, this might come out of nowhere for a lot of blog owners as you are not even going to think about looking into the comments section of your site. Well, you should as the new update is going to be looking into this as well.

While, a lot of them are not going to be followed concerning ranking requirements, you still have to be on top of this for as long as you can be. Get rid of those comments that are going to be spamming links.

This is going to hurt the blog and its ability to rank. A lot of people don’t even think about this and get lost in the other details only to realize they are still not ranking. What could be the case they tend to wonder? It has to do with the blog comments and how they are being structured. Either get rid of the comments entirely if the spam is out of control or setup some form of control that is going to ensure humans are the ones who are commenting.

Traffic Is The Key To Your Success in 2016

A website without traffic is going to drop in the rankings fast.  You may have already seen this happen to your site.  Google will not reward websites that are not useful to the end user, and a website without traffic really doesn’t have much value in the eyes of Google.  If your website information is good, people will read it, share it, and act on it.  There are multiple ways to generate real traffic to your website such as social media, content marketing, video marketing, paid traffic, and many other options.  This needs to be something you are focused on in 2016, or you will watch your competition quickly jump over you in the rankings.  Take a look at your Google analytics and see how many people are interacting with the website.  Where do they spend time?  Is your bounce rate higher than 36%?  Are people interacting and filling out forms or responding with live chat?  Read between the lines here…….this is beyond important to your success going forward.

Ranking is not easy, and the algorithm changes don’t make it any easier, but as long as you are aware of what Google is on the lookout for, you will have an advantage over many of your competitors.  As an SEO agency, we see algorithm changes daily, but the big changes usually get our phone ringing off the hook.  We study, test, implement, and make changes on a daily basis.  SEO is one of the few professions that changes from day to day, and it does so dramatically.  This business is so hard to systematize because everything we do is customized to the business, website, and the industry.  We have yet to see two websites or businesses that were cookie-cutter optimizations, and with the latest release of Penguin 4.0, we don’t expect to see any in the near future.

If you are trying to go at this game alone, we wish you nothing but luck and success.  We spend our days researching, implementing, and testing, and we still don’t know what is coming around the corner.  If you want to have the professionals help you achieve the best possible results, so you can focus on growing your business, we invite you to fill out our discovery form to help us better understand your needs and goals for 2016.  Until then, write something interesting on your blog!!!

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