Over the past couple of months Google have been rolling out a number of updates and changes to their closely guarded algorithm which have seen huge ranking changes for millions of websites. Although Google are constantly tweaking the way they rank and index sites, the three updates that were rolled out over September of this year seem to have caused some serious fluctuations in the SERPs, above and beyond what might normally be expected from so-called “minor” updates.
“Google appears to be winding the clock back with these latest updates. They are returning to an era of the early days of Google where websites were ranked through true recommendations and not just by buying links and submitting hundreds of articles to article directories,” said Mike Knivett of SEO Surrey specialists, Artemis Internet Marketing.
First off Google rolled out another Panda update, their twentieth since the first Panda update panicked webmasters the world over back in early 2011. Panda is designed to penalise low quality sites, those with a high ratio of ads to content or with little value to visitors and this latest iteration was said to have affected 2.4% of search queries.
At the same time as this Panda refresh Google released their Exact Match Domain (EMD) update which was designed to give less weighting to keyword stuffed domain names. Suddenly yourkeyword.com wasn’t appearing at the top of the SERPs for your keyword, and a once straightforward and commonplace SEO tactic was eradicated overnight.
Then came Google’s third Penguin update, at the beginning of October. Penguin is another name that has struck terror into the hearts of web professionals the world over ever since the first Penguin update was unleashed in April of this year. Designed to combat spam and sites that were “over-optimised”, Penguin took a dim view on keyword stuffing and this third visit of the flightless bird apparently affected 0.3% of queries according to Google, although analysts have suggested the real number may be significantly higher.
So with all these updates causing damage to established sites around the world how does today’s search engine optimisation professional keep ahead of the game? One of the key areas to focus on, now more than ever, is locally targeted content. The art of local SEO has been growing in significance over the past few years to the point where it is now unavoidable if you want to seriously see results in the SERPs.
Artemis Internet Marketing have been championing local SEO as a vital tool for successful rankings and conversions for more than four years now and have been achieving truly excellent results both with clients and their own sites. There is no precise science to creating and optimising locally relevant content but there are a number of ways to succeed in this space and Artemis’ experience ensures their clients have reaped the benefits.
“These are exciting times for SEO companies,” says Mike, “it’s time to adapt to the new (old) Google to achieve those top rankings for clients.”
To get to the top for a geographically specific high volume search term you’re going to have to put a lot of time and effort into your SEO strategy, but with the right team behind you, the desired results are achievable, and more importantly, convertible.
[Image credit: Sxc/Sachyn]