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How Do You Survive A Search Engine Algorithm Update?

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Your website may appear on various search engine results but staying on top with high rankings is a different ball game altogether. A popular website with a high search engine ranking is like balancing a log on water. One wrong move, you will fall in and drown. As far as staying on top of search engine results is concerned, there are no guarantees.

During February this year, Google released the Panda/Farmer update in its algorithm which gave a major jolt to the performance of all websites. It had caused a shocking effect on the content farms which led to the sites losing considerable amount of traffic for a massive percentage of their keywords. Google’s goal was to purge low quality sites from its search results. But the questions you need to ask is:

  • How can you protect your business’s website from losing out on rankings or penalization?
  • Is it possible to survive all major updates and what should you do after an update?

Search Engine Algorithm update

The best way to survive the SEO onslaught is to know where exactly the changes have taken place in the algorithm. For most of you who don’t know, Google releases around 500 algorithm changes in a year. Some updates may be small and not noticeable. However, there are industry-shattering ones that will cause havoc for certain websites in terms of rankings. Google has been consistent in its bid to remove low-quality sites and promote those that provide great user experience. The best way to find out about a major algorithm update is when there is huge change in traffic. If your site is affected, you will notice that there has been a major decrease in traffic.

Here are a few ground rules to follow if there has been a major algorithm update by Google or any search engine.

Create engaging, awesome, media-rich content

The usual guideline of 300 words equals great SEO content is long gone. One particular site that was most affected by Google’s algorithm was Ezine Articles, a hub that contains short, text-based articles. Alternatively, another famous site that was not affected by the algorithm update was Squidoo. Both websites are famously known to house articles, but one clearly had a distinct difference. Squidoo allows users to create articles of good length with images and media thrown in. Text should be supplemented with other modules in order to acquire good search engine rankings. Aim for 500-600 words and always craft out content that is informative, enjoyable and robust instead of the bare minimum. Create infographics with informative, interesting content in a visually alluring package. This makes sharing easy on social media platforms, more exposure for your brand and visitors loving what you dish out.

Cut down on advertisements

One of the common denominators that made websites lose rankings after the algorithm update was that their pages were covered in ads. Google wanted to take out sites that were steeped in ads, where it was obvious for visitors to click on CPC advertisements or on AdSense. If your website is loaded with banners, CPC ads, text links or AdSense, tone it down in such a way that’s its visible in the header, sidebars and gently mixed with the content. It should not look like the viewer is looking at 80% advertisements and only 20% content.

Check and lower the bounce rate

People should get what they are looking for when they are visiting your site. In case your bounce rate is high compared to other sites, then essentially search engines like Google will determine that your competitors have better content to provide users.  It will then give better ranking to the site that satisfies users with its content rather than the one where visitors exit as quickly as they enter. Use Google Analytics to check to see the most visited landing pages and the kind of keywords that brought users to your site. Then you can determine which keywords caused high bounce rates and optimize them accordingly to give visitors a reason to continue browsing through your site and every sort of information they need to know about the keyword on your web page. This will lower your bounce rate and help visitors get what they want and spend more time in your site.

Increase the website’s social presence

Search engines like Google is definitely interested in social engagement ever since it created its own version of Facebook’s Like button as Google+1 and then went on to create its own social network, Google+. Shares, tweets and likes will improve your site’s social status in search engines, essentially telling visitors that your content is really awesome to share. Utilize these three major buttons on your website and watch your brand’s popularity soar.

Follow these simple guidelines and your website is sure to survive another algorithm update. Also read up on Why Ignoring SEO Will Cost You Sales to get an idea about the complete picture of what a comprehensive SEO strategy can do for your business. A lead generation agency will guide you with the best ways of doing both organic and paid SEO.

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