The Custard Blog

Words of wisdom from our team of online marketing experts

Why we love Google’s algorithm changes

Here at Custard we like to think that every cloud has a silver lining, and that’s certainly true when it comes to Google’s many algorithm changes.

Google is constantly updating, tweaking and amending its algorithms. These changes always impact SEOs, but unlike many other marketing professionals we’re actually quite fond of Google’s pandas and penguins.

What would we do without Google’s changes?

What we all need to realise is that, in changing its algorithms, Google is making the internet a better place for everyone.

According to Google’s mission statement its main objective is to make the internet a safe, fair and easy-to-navigate place for all users.

Shouldn’t all digital marketers want that as well?

Through its on-going algorithm changes, I believe that Google is actually helping us, not hindering us. Google is like a giant hand that’s always gently guiding us in the right direction.

Without these changes the internet would be a very different place, and finding the answers you’re looking for would probably be incredibly difficult and eternally infuriating.

 

Google Panda

Google Panda

The whole point of Google Panda was to make sure that Google was able to provide users with results that were actually useful.

No one wants to be confronted with a results page full of information that’s really scraping the bottom of the content barrel. So Google went about fixing this issue.

It told SEOs that if you use duplicated content, you’ll get penalised. Those using black hat methods such as web scraping, keyword stuffing and unnatural link building were instantly pushed down the SERP rankings, and many found it hard to climb back up again.

Now, thanks to Google Panda, users can expect to be presented with results that will actually be of use.

How does this benefit us?

— Unique content is better content. It’s more engaging, interesting and relevant, which makes users more willing to read it. This also helps to keep them on the site for longer.

— It helps to make your website stand out from the crowd.

— We now know that Google favours websites with skilfully written content, making good content one of the staples of SEO. Content may not be the only king anymore, but it still wears a shiny crown.

 

 

The ‘Above the Fold’ Update

Above the Fold

 

This update was designed to target websites that had hardly any content ‘above the fold’ – this is the upper half of the page that’s visible without having to scroll down.

By downgrading these websites and therefore encouraging them to realign their advertisements, sites are now much more user friendly. Visitors can instantly see whether the information they want is on the site.

How does this benefit us?

— Bounce rates decrease as users don’t see lots of adverts and instantly decide to look elsewhere

— Users are able to navigate around the website easier and so have a better user experience, which increases the chances of a repeat visit.

 

 

Google Penguin

 

Image was used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence courtesy of Guwashi999 on Fotopedia.

 

The Google Penguin update was essentially a follow-on from Google Panda. Rather than simply aiming to make the user experience better, Google Penguin penalised websites using pretty much any kind of black-hat SEO technique.

Even post-Panda, a lot of black-hat SEO users were still ranking highly, despite the fact that Google’s algorithm was supposed to be targeting them. Penguin works as a net to catch the last of the marketers using bad techniques.

How does this benefit us?

— Those that quickly shifted to white-hat techniques after Panda managed to glide through the Penguin update mostly unharmed.

— It’s no longer the case that it’s easier to be bad in the world of SEO. It used to be that black-hat techniques could get you near-instant results without any drawbacks, but now Google will notice use of these ‘bad’ methods lightning fast and there will be repercussions. White-hat techniques are now the sure-fire way to get onto page one.

 

 

AuthorRank

Author Rank
Okay, technically it isn’t an algorithm chance, but I thought this one deserved a mention.

This update gave content writers a chance to get their face out there by using the rel=”author” tag. Previously, unless author information was provided on the website, writers were never credited. I don’t know about you guys, but that irked me.

How does this benefit us?

— Writers now get the chance to get their name out there alongside their work.

— SEOs implementing AuthorRank see a higher click-through rate – this is because AuthorRank makes sites more visible within SERPs.

— Users see content using AuthorRank as reliable and credible, so they’re more likely to visit them.

— Users of AuthorRank can get increased information within Webmaster Tools. This will show everything from impressions to click-through rates, making it easier to monitor traffic.

So what does this all really mean?

Well, rather than the old black-hat SEO techniques used when writing content, Google’s algorithm changed the face of SEO copywriting.

 

Now it’s all about:

 

— Making content engaging

This is done by writing on current topics and thinking outside the box when choosing content concepts.

— Ensuring content is informative

To do this, copywriters can reference reliable sources within the copy.

— Using keywords sparsely

This makes content flow much more naturally, rather than having seemingly meaningless keywords dotted all over the place.

— Using multimedia

Today, websites rarely have a solid page of text copy. Instead, content is set around images, YouTube videos, infographics and more. This gives depth to content and also makes it more enjoyable for users.

— Making title tags and meta descriptions better

Title tags and meta descriptions are no longer just an endless stream of keywords. They can now provide an informative description of the page and its contents.

— Increasing content above the fold

This gives a better user experience and also keeps visitors on the site for longer, as they aren’t confronted with a mass of spammy adverts that scare them off.

Google always plays its cards close to its chest in terms of new algorithm changes. Many SEOs would probably agree though that the changes to date have helped them to kick the black-hat SEO habit.

White-hat SEO is the way to go if you want to stay in Google’s good books, but it’s doubtful that any of us would be on the straight and narrow without Google’s tough love!


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