The end of 2014 has seen a lot of drastic changes as far as Google and SEO is concerned. With Google on a mission to eliminate low content sites and broken pages, SEO marketers are having a hard time coping up. The dreaded Panda 4.1 is finally here, bringing with it a wave of restlessness within the SEO industry. All their known techniques are failing, fast. So what do we do to overcome this problem? The answer is pretty simple. We try and understand Google, and evolve accordingly.
Understanding Google Algorithm Penalties
First, let’s understand why Google penalizes websites. It is because of two reasons:
- Using black hat SEO, which is manipulative methods, and
- Providing a low-quality experience to users who visit your site.
Manipulative (black hat) methods may include both on-site and off-site techniques. On-site techniques refer to the methods within the technical setup of the site. Off-site techniques refer to the backlinks, which are used primarily by Google to determine the standing of the site.
A penalty can either be a manual or an algorithmic one. A manual penalty happens when someone from the Google team reviews your site and deems it to be penalized if it does not meet Google’s guidelines. An algorithmic penalty happens because of Panda and Hummingbird updates.
Are Google Algorithms more boon than bane?
Google’s ultimate goal is to serve users the highest quality web pages. As long as SEO professionals place their focus on creating high-quality content and improving web page design, the risk of penalty is fairly low. However, those who focus on “beating” Google algorithms – and especially those who resort to black hat SEO tactics – are at a higher risk of penalty.
Here are a few ways that Google Algorithms help SEOs create a better user experience:
It allows fresh content
Being constantly under the threat of Penguin, Panda, and HummingBird makes SEO marketers more consistent with the content on their pages. The objective of these Google algorithms is to eliminate pages with low-quality content. It gives the SEO an ‘inspiration’ to constantly update their pages with engaging content, hence allowing more traffic and content users, which ultimately helps increase the overall rating of the page. It allows the SEO to not only release better content but also update their old content if they want their old pages not to be penalized.
It encourages the removal of unnecessary links
If Google finds that there are just too many useless links on your site or on other sites that lead to yours, it can be penalized. Until last year this was not a problem, but now Google is taking special care towards this issue. All in all, it helps. How? I believe that having two or three good-quality links is better than having one hundred irrelevant ones. These links lead users to unnecessary pages that are not relevant to them, thereby decreasing the overall feasibility of your site. To avoid all this, an SEO marketer must take special care as to what links are being used on the web page.
It helps keeping a tab on your page
Sometimes, Malware can cause a lot of problems. You might not even be aware when Malware has hit your page, causing useless ads and links to pop up when your page is opened. When a user hits your page and faces such Malware, which is generally linking to pornography and gambling, they might get irritated and leave your page. Even if your site is offering good content and information, such pop-ups can ruin the overall hits on your site and give Google algorithms a chance to strike at it.
Using Google Algorithms To Improve Your Website
Overall, I think that progress is not possible without deviation from the norm, and until now, during the early age of SEO, malpractices are being used to boost search optimization. Black hat SEO might not be visible to the eye of the user, but it cannot escape the all-seeing eye of Google. It might seem like a difficult path, which it is, but it is the correct way of going about things.
Google does not want to trouble SEOs, on the contrary, it aims at providing a satisfactory user experience, and all these penalties imposed give SEO the encouragement to take care of such problems and meet with the Google guidelines. If followed, it can considerably give your site traffic a boost and also gain goodwill with your users.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in DECEMBER 2015 by WEBITMD. It has since been updated to reflect current best practices, services, and capabilities.