Have you noticed your website search engine ranking plummet lately? Google has silently released an unnamed SEO update in the vein of Penguin and Panda that has had many webmasters and small business owners scratching their collective heads. Panda and Penguin, widely regarded as the two most important updates in Google’s history, were intended to improve results for users with one function in mind: weeding out spam that annoyed and complicated users’ searches. SEO gurus and experts have been working hard to collect data and analyze what has happened with the newest update, and their results are less then conclusive.
If you have found your site is showing up lower in the search engine ranking results, apparently, the new ranking algorithm has found your site to be less authoritative than before. Essentially, Google feels that you need to step up the quality of your on-site content and structure to see the same rankings you had before the update.
One way to make sure you are up to date with Google’s current standards is to audit your current onsite and ongoing content strategy. These guidelines have remained more or less consistent since 2011. Some key elements to keep an eye out for here include the trustworthiness and authoritativeness of your articles, the semantic sense of your content and the overall user experience of your website.
If you haven’t noticed your site suffering a sudden ranking change, chances are this update will not affect you. From what we can tell, this update was designed to be a one-and-done style implementation. It took effect immediately; therefore, no additional preparation is necessary if you haven’t seen any disruption in your own site.
Google is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to the specifics of its ranking algorithm. If you haven’t been following the story over the last year, Google is refusing to cater to European government demands concerning privacy, and instead opting to pay millions in fines. So getting Google to explain the inner workings of its system is not likely in the cards. Most of the factors we knew before the update are only known to us because of skilled trial-and-error-style experiments done by dozens of search marketers over the course of months.
What’s Next From Google
The bigger SEO picture here is the type of update Google released. There was no formal announcement that the update was coming and Google revealed very few details about the nature of the update. In the future, this pattern is likely to continue. Google appears happy with the core nature of its algorithm, so any future changes will likely come as unannounced and unnamed. It is best to keep your eyes and ears open to watch for them, but don’t lose any sleep over them. Keep following Google’s best practice and you won’t be penalized.