Don´t Be Savaged by the Google Panda Update
Given the number of emails we receive each week about the Google Panda Updates with accompanying panic, we presume that many websites reliant mainly on organic traffic are still ‘’free-falling’’ down the Search Engine Ranking Pages. The panic seemed to crescendo around the start of this year.
Webmasters slowly realised this is no Google dance. It has been more like a death-march for many small businesses. It seems to many SMEs Google reared an even uglier head and demonstrates almost psychopathic tendencies in the search for greater advertising profits.
Most disheartening for SEMP is the sheer number of small businesses that operate with neither money nor resource to rescue their online businesses.
Many SMEs feel cheated. They fail to understand what happened, ‘’why after I followed all Google’s recommendation and spent thousands of dollars have I been relegated at exactly the moment my business needs most support’’.
It must be agonising for small business owners already suffering from an uncertain global economy, operating on the knife-edge without money for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and relying mainly on organic traffic, to wake up and find they have fallen several Search Engine Result Pages.
Google has seemingly kicked SMEs while they are down.
Many disgruntled conspiracy theorists (even in this industry) exclaim the Google Panda Update is a big push to ‘’attract’’ new advertisers. People have written to us stating that their competitors who always spent money on PPC advertising are now first page, whilst they continue to fall down the rankings after throwing money at Search Engine Optimisation and Search Marketing to achieve no.1 search engine rankings.
Like any sensible business people, SEMP encourages clients to fight Google dependence while recognising Google’s unhealthy dominance in the Search Market. Albeit we do not share the view that Google’s Panda updates are just about profit. It has not been our experience.
However, Google is a business that must sell anything it does to shareholders, the market and users in the best possible light. Google’s Panda Update is about both search and advertising profits, in that order.
In our experience, websites that bought links, traded links, farmed links and spent too much time spamming links suffered the most. Maybe paid advertising models weathered the Panda’s attacks because of their antipathy to earlier advice on link-building and organic SEO.
Let’s be clear, SEO and our digital lives will improve without the link spammers and black-hats trying to control the Search Engine Optimisation market.
We think Google’s recent algorithm changes are here to stay. Colleagues we consulted thought Google had gone too far and will ‘’soften’’ its algorithm changes over the next few months. For sure there will be further updates, but avoid working on the assumption that Google will soften their algorithm.
Work on the assumption that things might get even worse – then give a sigh of relief when your Search Marketing performs better than expected.
Our recent search engine optimisation and search marketing experience
Talking to some industry colleagues is just depressing. You would think Google’s Panda updates were akin to a post-apocalyptic era in Search Marketing and we are emerging from our bunkers after a long-cyber-war.
After experiencing some pain after earlier Google updates, we learnt a number of things:
Do not rely on solely on organic traffic
Do not put all your eggs in Google’s basket
Do ensure that you rank well across all search engines
Do cast your net widely and embrace all forms of social media
Build PPC as part of your business model and search marketing mix
Have a fund for a search marketing push and/or more PPC to combat another wild-Google-update that might catch us with our trousers down!
Never stop building quality non-spammy natural backlinks that refer targeted traffic to your website
Use this opportunity to target as many like-minded lateral businesses suffering your fate to share content and networks
The above points may seem like common sense, but 24 April 2012 has no doubt taught those lessons to a whole new audience of Webmasters and Search Experts who must feel a little like the financiers of yesteryear ”crunched” by toxic debt.
We have never been a fan of some SEO-SEM practices that were industry standards. We always believed that authoritative and engaging content is king.
Search Engine Marketing People has tried to inspire our clients to spread their words widely, but focus in the search for targeted traffic and mix search marketing with PPC. When social media arrived on the scene and Google struggled to compete in that arena, we hoped the monster had finally been tamed.
Initially, our dislike of Google’s dominance and a logical desire to help our clients diversify their search marketing strategies inspired us to promote social media.
In addition, the ever-growing costs of PPC advertising had begun to concern us and our business experience pushed us into research mode to develop both lateral and vertical markets targets for businesses that retained us.
We like to find the best and cheapest client referral and conversion routes AND still believe quality link building has its place in search marketing.
Our mantra over the last few years is, “counter Google dependence”.
During 2012, some of our clients saw their rankings improve while others, for no apparent reason, lost their first-page positions for some keywords and phrases before slowly recovering.
We found that the Google Panda Update savaged:
- websites (particularly older and larger website properties) with old code and long forgotten keyword stuffed pages that webmasters failed to update due to time or cost
- websites with 100,000s of spammy links are disappearing, we chart some of them, but those with high-quality content are still holding some top search engine positions for some keywords/phrases – we wonder how long that will last.
If you are one of those business owners who has seen your website free-fall down the Search Engine Ranking Pages after the Panda updates and cannot afford a search marketing professional, do not despair.
Catch our next article for easily understood and practical advice based on our recent experience:
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