Search Marketing has undergone some huge changes this year. First Panda and now Penguin. Google continues to release search algorithm changes that have impacted webmasters and small business search rankings. Google stated these changes were intended to promote better search results and reduce spam. Sounds great but we've seen a ton of activity in the Internet marketing community discussing the changes and their impact to search results across the board.
These changes are forcing business owners and SEO companies to re-think their marketing campaigns. These SEO teams have had to go back to the drawing board in some instances where well-ranking websites have all but dropped off the radar. In the past, webmasters focused on keyword density and the volume of back-links to their pages. With this update keyword stuffing and back-links were both affected. Some data suggests domains which had a similar keyword as anchor from various sources were adversely affected. This would suggest that using varied anchor text from reliable sources in the way to go.
These changes also centered on quality content. Unique and meaningful content is becoming more and more important to Google's approach. Cheap article creation aimed solely at back-links is not going to work going forward. Business owners and SEO specialists alike need to focus on well-written articles that create back-links the natural way. "Creating great content is going to be the best way to garner attention from both the Google search algorithm and readers who want to consume what you've created and pass it along to others," says Howie Dumont with a NJ Social Media Marketing.
Social media has also gained immense ground this year. Google released a complete set of reports aimed at providing valuable information on goals and activities. These reports allow users to see a much more detailed breakdown of the effects of their efforts in the social media community. These Google changes would seem to indicate the importance of social media in an overall strategy. What better way to promote meaningful content than social media?
It was a really busy year for both Google and Webmasters. It will probably be a few more months before the ups and downs resulting from these changes starts to stabilize. I sincerely hope those who promote spam were the worst effected by these changes. Hopefully it will take a long time for them to figure out loopholes in the algorithm and return to the first page. Of course Google isn't done with changes of this type. In fact, they've stated there is more to come in the way of promoting search results focused on quality, unique content. We can hope they change things for the better but also do their best to protect honest webmasters focused on search marketing.
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