Checking For Recent Google Algorithm Updates

For many (most?) small businesses, when it comes to getting found online, Google is the only game in town. Whether this should be the case is a completely different topic. Suffice to say many websites end up being at the mercy of Google updates.

Perhaps you didn’t realise Google is tweaking the way it evaluates sites hundreds of times a year. Only a small sub section of these updates (to it’s algorithm) make headlines. But sudden changes to the ranking of your web site or blog could be due to a change in the way Google values your site.

Trying to work out why a site drops in rank or loses traffic is an art form in itself since there are so many variables. But your detective work is made easier if you keep track of Google’s main updates. Thankfully someone is doing that already so you don’t have to. The folks at SEOmoz keep tabs on Google updates and you can find the relevant page to add to your Bookmarks or Favourites here. Having it to hand should your website begin to misbehave is helpful. In any case checking-in for updates is a good habit to develop.

The updates most people are concerned about are changes to Penguin (for linking issues) and refinements to the monthly Panda (for content).

Google is getting smarter at applying artificial intelligence to weed out poor quality sites or sites attempting to manipulate rankings by one means or another. The list of crimes you can commit knowingly or otherwise include over-optimisation of your site’s content, unnatural link patterns, link selling and having content that is deemed too thin.

It’s as wise to remember Google is a commercial enterprise and is apt to make sudden changes. It’s focus is to continue to find ways to improve
the quality of search results and the user experience.

This year is likely to see another significant reiteration of Penguin which will have a significant impact. Why? Because Matt Cutts, Google’s friendly face, hinted at it at a conference back in August.

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