Why Is Google Changing The Rules Again?
Search engines are continually changing the rules on to how to rank the sites and pages they find on the internet. Google, being the largest and most popular search engine, has the greatest documentation about changes to their algorithms due to the number of people making a living from ranking websites in Google.
Google, like all search engines, provide a ranked return to the many different queries placed into the search box. The returned list is then deemed by the search algorithm to be the most relevant and influential websites relating to that search. As a search engine, Google’s ability to return a good quality list is paramount so as to provide user satisfaction. If the results did not assist the user consistently, they might not return to use Google.
Why Change The Algorithms?
As I mentioned, there are many who make a living on the ability to rank websites. These people use tactics that might allow certain websites to rank where they might not make sense. As an example having a dating website ranking when you are searching for sporting goods. This used to be possible simply by having a sporting goods reference in the dating site page and creating a large amount of links to that page. All search engines have now prevented this sort of thing from being possible. In an effort to maintain and improve the quality of the search results, all search engines tweak their algorithms to improve the results.
Of the many documented tweaks made by Google (think Penguin-Panda-Pigeon), there are many more suspected alterations that testers have documented might have been made. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam division, has repeatedly made it clear that the aim is to provide rankings for websites that are original in content, will engage, entertain and inform the searcher. To that end all the algorithm changes are designed to weed out and remove sites that fail to fit into those criteria.
What Are The New Changes?
Of the major updates produces by Google over the years, the most famous would have to be Panda, Penguin and more recently Pigeon. But what are they?
Google Panda was an algorithm update essentially designed to weed out poor quality or very thin websites from the search results. Poor quality sites include ‘scraped’ or copied text, creating duplicate content. As the focus has been to provide searchers with high quality information to the search term provided, Google deems that a thin sites could not give a detailed and informative result. Copied content is seen as a major negative in quality as the site owner is not the creator of the information. Since it’s introduction in 2011 there have been many updates to this particular algorithm as they tweak it for the best results.
The Google Penguin algorithm has targeted unnatural linking techniques used to manipulate the rankings of websites. In essence developing a crazy number like 50000 links to your website in a very short time period will have your site under scrutiny as this is uncommon and unnatural. This will then not only not help your rankings but possibly have your website penalised.
The Google Pigeon update came into being in July 2014 in the USA. This update altered the search results of websites, aiming to provide more accurate and relevant local search results. Also better aligning Google Maps search results with the Google Search results. This is probably the most significant update Google has done to benefit local business. This update has only been introduced in Australia earlier this year.
There are many more named updates in the Google algorithm changes, as well as unnamed and unconfirmed updates. Most of these updates will do little to your site if you follow the basic criteria of what Google are trying to achieve, and provide for their searchers.
The latest announcement from Google has been to put webmasters on notice regarding the ability for websites to be viewed on multiple platforms. As the percentage of searches from mobile devices increase, Google would like to provide and rank websites that can accommodate the mobile market.
This announcement was made only last week on February 26, 2015 on Google Webmaster Central Blog. This is to be implemented on April 21 of this year, not leaving much time for those who have in the past ignored their website to update to this more modern format.
The notice is a clear indicator as to the direction Google wants web masters to take. As there are a couple of ways of accomplishing a mobile ready website, Google does accommodate several methods in their recommendations. Unfortunately that also means that many websites will need to be redesigned or updated to accommodate the new rules to avoid being punished in the search rankings.
If you are thinking of creating, developing or commissioning a website for your business be sure to not run foul of the ‘Google Beasts’ as it will give your website a poor start to life. With the Google Pigeon update now active in Australia also make sure you have a good local online presence to ensure your business is represented fairly in the search results for your area.
Local Internet Presence Services is capable of developing both your local business presence and business website to best promote and sell your business to your community. Contact Rob at LIP Services for a chat. Your business deserves the best practices.