Well it has been estimated that Google (the behemoth in Search Engine Optimisation… she who cannot be ignored) made 83 major changes to their elusive algorithm in 2014…
This creates full time employment for many SEO firms, and is great news for all those genuine websites out there, and throws a spanner in the works of all those that have been trying to fool the system.
At the end of the day, we have to consider that what Google (and all of the other Search Engines) are trying to achieve, is to produce the most relevant results based on the keywords the viewer is searching for.
I actually generated my first income online in 1996, which is two years before Google started, and I’ve witnessed many would-be gurus generating a massive income in a very short space of time, mostly using tools and techniques designed to fool the systems. Of course, these same people have become unstuck and seen their own incomes and lifestyles suffer further down the line.
Well for me personally, I’ve been brought up in a very strict Scottish household, where we were taught that integrity is everything, and we believe that it can take a lifetime to build a reputation, and ten minutes to destroy it… and we’re certainly not about to let that happen!
So I am proud to say that 100% of my sites have remained intact and not subject to the various Penguin and Panda reviews.
Way back at the beginning, one of the tactics used by those trying to beat the system, was simply to fill the page with keywords, and simply using white text meant that the public couldn’t see it on the white background, but the search engine robots (bots) could still see the text, and thus determine what the page was all about.
I remember when I discovered ‘alt’ and ‘title’ text under images too, and I discovered through my own testing with using two different web browsers, that Microsoft Explorer showed the text under images differently from Mozilla Firefox… so I started adding both & sure enough, I found myself at the top of search engine results for keywords that weren’t even showing anywhere on my page (they were hidden under the images).
One of the first big notable changes recently in the Google algorithm, that happened at the beginning of 2014, was with the massive travel company Expedia, when it was noticed that they had hundreds of thousands of ‘unnatural links’. This has long been a strategy of ‘black hat’ internet marketers hoping to fool the search engine spiders (or ‘bots).
The net result of this amendment made the entire act of link building a much more challenging effort.
- In the first quarter of 2014, Google also launched a mobile bot that effectively crawled smartphone content, making small screens a major focus for SEO pros. It also made mobile an undeniable force for anyone in the digital marketing arena.
- Renowned Google expert Matt Cutts stated that if you were using guest blogging as a core way to build links, you’d see negative consequences.
Quality trumps quantity
Google again revamped their Panda 4.0 and sites like Ask.com suffered as a result of simply having lots of low quality content (proving that no longer can we simply say “Content is King”).
- By the summer 2014, we had all met Google’s latest animal, the esteemed Pigeon 1.0.
Pigeon’s focus, as carrier pigeons do, was to look locally. This algorithm update created a major shift in how Google determined local rankings, sending marketing pros into a flurry to obey the new rules of the game.
- In 2014, Google also announced that HTTPS was at last a prominent ranking signal. Thus Google have chosen to highlight the importance of online security.
So it is now becoming clear that keywords are no longer the dominant major factor in search engine rankings. Content has become the clear winner for top placement.
- Social signals, too, were showing signs of diminished value. After all, I can pay for thousands of twitter followers or facebook fans!
I said at the end of 2013; that Social Media fans are no longer genuine currency…
We used to say that Turnover is Vanity and Profit is Sanity, well since the beginning of 2014, having more Social Media fans is Vanity… think about this;
how many facebook items did you ‘like’ this week ? and how many items have you purchased as a result?
Quality SEO Scores yet another victory for high quality and value-rich content.
- At the end of 2014, Google’s Penguin update was refreshed, and this time focused on web spam and over-optimization.
- Google have also now released mobile-focused search options in their Google Webmaster Tools. I expect this to be a key area of change in the new year too.
The end results are a few very obvious take-aways for those interested in being found online:
1) Content, content, content. It’s your ticket to top rankings, but it has to be authentic, relevant to your audience, original, current, and interesting. Please do not add to the clutter; make each of your publications matter.
2) Mobile is becoming more important than standard websites for many of the biggest businesses now. Consider shifting your focus to mobile primarily, as this is where the bulk of your audience will be over the next 12 months.
3) Black hat tactics will take down any of your sincere efforts for high rankings.
4) Find a company that can PROVE they can achieve First Page Google Rankings with integrity (hint hint)
What to do next?
Easy; contact your friendly SEO expert today & let us guide you to 1st page Google Domination
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