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6 Google Algorithm Changes that could be killing your business

Posted on Jun 14, 2013 by in Blog | 0 comments

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Google makes around 500 changes a year to it’s search engine algorithm. This means on average – google will be different every day you use it. It’s likely what you know about how google works is outdated.

We’ve picked a number of really important changes which could give you insight for a drop in traffic, or in the better scenario how to avoid that.

Personalised search

Back in the day, if people used identical keywords at the same time, you’d get the same listings.

Not any more. Now the results are personalised to your browsing habits. Sites you visit and things you search for get taken into account and given preference when you search.
Google uses your search history (for up to 180 days) to generate these personalised results.

What does this mean for your business?

  • The results you see are not what everyone else sees. Best to take this into account when checking rankings (there are tools out there to get an unbiased search)
  • Just as you, other users will be served results geared around their habits – so just having a website is not enough

Social signals: Facebook Twitter, Google Plus.

Likes, Follows and  +1s = popularity. Social media signals now heavily weigh on results when searching Google. This means Popular pages are likely to get ranked better. Site / page that are getting liked and talked about will be prioritised.

How does this affect your business?

  • if you don’t use any social means, it doesn’t just mean “you aren’t on facebook etc…” but can seriously affect your ability to rank well in google search engine results.
  • again, its not simply having the presence, but the interaction that counts. Each like/ follow /  +1 acts as a vote that can affect positioning.
  • facebook & twitter are important, but don’t forget Google’s own baby – Google + which can be used as an effective SEO too in it’s own right

Google Instant & Auto complete:

A quicker searching experience via dynamic results as you type. Google auto Complete, not only provides instant results but drops in suggestions about what it thinks you are about to write.

How does this affect your business?
Large portions of searches get diverted by what the suggestion box offers. This is important as no only is google in charge of listings, but now affects what you type in to the search box.
These tools give priority to sites which already rank well, so if you had an average ranking it is likely you are getting even less traffic.  And it also changes the way people search – not everyone one finishes the initial query they were about to enter.

Google’s Panda + Google Penguin

The code names for the changes which target spammy sites and “over-optimised” websites. Effectively the bouncers of the google engine. If you look like spam, you won’t be getting in.

Even many well meaning sites have been done-over by the Penguin for being over-zealous with tags, keywords etc.

What does this mean for you?

  • The best advice here is to keep it relevant and natural. If it reads like spam to a person, google will pick it up and you will get booted.
  • Approximately 60% of content needs to be unique meaning that if most of your content is simply re posted from other sites, you’re going down.

Google Venice:

Since late 2012 you would have noticed that local business listings are pulled into main results before the regular listings. This based on the searcher’s IP address.
How does this affect your business?

  1. optimising locally can be a shortcut to the top of the list for local searches
  2. to appear in these results you need to optimise your site for local keywords
  3. a google map profile boosts these results by confirming your location to google

The best method is to create a responsive template that will adapt to a number of different sized devices to keep things looking great across the board.

Another method is to use a fixed size that will cover a large portion of your market, say mobile phones. This method works on averages and does not adapt to screen sizes, but is simpler and cheaper to setup. And lets face it, when just a few devices cover majority of the market, it makes sense to cover them first.

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