SEO Tips: Is Your Website Animal Proof?

If you’ve visited this page for some good ol’ SEO tips then that’s what you’ll get. You’ll also get some adoringly cute animal pictures so it’s worth reading on.

Google’s Animals: An Introduction

Google is the mother of all search engines and like any responsible parent, it has a few policies in place.

These policies or rather, algorithm changes have been primarily focused on making Google’s search results more relevant to its users.

This means that any website which has cheated its way to the top of search results (we’re talking black hat) is brought back down the ranks, stripped of its number 1 spot and sent to the naughty step (banished to a desert of tumbleweed…page 2 and beyond).

My Name Is…

This website policing has taken many a name over the years. We have been subjected to a Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird and Pigeon. Clearly, Google likes its animals.

An innocent looking panda, munching its way through bamboo, playfully rolling…I digress.

Although these animal names may sound harmless, don’t forget that Pandas do in fact have a dangerously powerful bite.

Unfortunately, when the Panda rolled out of its bamboo nest, many a website got bitten.

R.I.P. poor quality websites without meaningful and unique content.

SEO Tips: Is Your Website Safe From Google’s Animals?

O.K, now we can get to the important stuff – the cute animal pictures.

Meet Google Panda

SEO Tips

Google Panda was first launched on February 23, 2011 (named rather aptly after one of its creators, Biswanath Panda) and its impact is still strongly felt today.

The purpose of this Google algorithm change was to rank better quality websites, higher in the search results. Makes sense.

Google demoted sites of lower quality, especially in regards to content published. Unfortunately for these website creators, these sites were hit hard.

Is Your Website Safe From The Paws of Google Panda?

Check out this blog post by a Google employee who gives you a checklist that you can use on your site.

The truth is, no one knows all the deciding factors that this algorithm uses.

If your primary focus is on creating the best possible website for your users, then that’s a good start.

As long as you have unique, informative content, no spam or copyrighted material, Google’s Panda will love you. It might even give your website a big bear hug. Hello increased ranking.

Keep Panda Happy: Avoid Poor Quality Content

Thin Content

If your page adds little to no value to a visitor then you either have to improve that content or say sayonara.

Duplicate Content

If you aren’t the creator of your content and have copied it from another page on the web, you’re going to run into problems. Huge Panda problems.

Google are pretty amazing at figuring out whether content is duplicated.

Low Quality Content

This speaks for itself. If your pages or blogs are filled with spammy, worthless content then it’s time to hit delete or embellish those written words with something worthy.

Google Penguin

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First released in April 2012, Google’s Penguin algorithm targeted black-hat SEO techniques such as low quality, self-made links.

We are talking unnatural backlinks that have been created in order to gain an advantage in Google search results.

Links from low quality websites, spammy directory listings, self made articles and links in comments.

To prevent black hatsters (I’ve made it a word) from creating thousands of backlinks from random or empty websites, Google created Penguin to check backlinks in more detail, penalising the sites which engaged in this bad practice.

How Can This Impact My Website?

If Penguin determines that a large number of the links on your site are untrustworthy, then your whole website is likely to see a reduction in rankings. Penguin’s not so cute now.

Google Hummingbird

SEO Tips

Google Hummingbird was first launched in August 2013 and is an algorithm which attempts to understand the meaning of what the user is searching.

Google improved and enhanced the quality and relevance of their search results with this artificial intelligence algorithm, by directing searchers to relevant sites and answered questions.

Google can now better understand a user’s search query and provide better information retrieval and query expansion.

What Does This Mean For Your Website?

Relying on keyword data alone is not enough anymore. This is because Google now takes the entire search query into account. Not just the keywords – every word.

Not only this but with the help of Hummingbird, Google can look at who is carrying out the search with variables such as past search history and search patterns. It even takes into account the device type (mobile or desktop), time of day and location.

All of these variables will determine what a person sees in the search results.

This is an exciting time for SEO, with every intended SEO technique being crucial for the success of a website.

Web design, content, structure, keywords, traffic behaviour, social networks, links – the list goes on, but everything helps give Google an impression of what your website is all about.

Google Pigeon

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This algorithm was rolled out in July 2014 and works in conjunction with Google Maps.

If you now search for a restaurant, hotel, or coffee shop, Google will look at your location first. It then uses the data from Google Maps to show you the best shops within your area.

How Can You Take Advantage of This Ranking Change?

Google Pigeon and the new local search algorithm work in the same way as traditional web search ranking.

Local listings are now more likely to be determined by domain authority and other SEO ranking factors mentioned previously.

It’s more important than ever to ensure your website is as good as the competition.

Directory Listings – Are You There?

Certain local directory websites rank highly in Google so making your presence known on these sites is crucial if you want users to find you via local directories.

Local Search SEO Checklist – Feed The Pigeon

  • Google Business Listing

To appear in Google’s local index, you must at first create a Google+ page for your business. For this, your business must be categorised correctly otherwise you will not show up in the relevant searches.

  • Does Your NAP On Your Website Match Your Google+ Page?

Google will cross reference your business name, address and phone number on your website to see if it matches. You will also have to ensure your details are consistent in all local directories where your business is listed.

  • Google+ Reviews

If you have a large number of positive reviews on Google+ then it will help improve your local search rankings, as well as being a good sign to customers.

Don’t have a Google Listing? ICAAL can help. To find out more about Google Local Listings and how it can power your business get in touch today.

May The Algorithm Be Ever In Your Favour

Google’s animals are pretty important. They have and will play an important role in the future of search.

We need to understand these algorithm changes and adjust our SEO strategy accordingly, in order to maintain a healthy Google ranking.

Google changes its search algorithm a lot. Many of these changes are minor. However, you don’t want to be caught out by a major update Stay up to date with Google algorithm changes with SEO Moz.

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