What Google Want

13/5/2012 with

Google have been reaping havoc in the world of SEO (Search-Engine-Optimization) with 2 recent updates to their search algorithm code named Penguin and Panda. The latest version of Panda (3.6) and the Penguin update were rolled out in close succession leaving SEO’ers bamboozled as websites experienced major fluctuations in rank, some dropping off results entirely.

Nothing ever changes (much)….

There has been a lot of speculation and hype surrounding these latest updates and exactly how the algorithm has changed. Even in all this turmoil, truth is not much has.

Googles over riding premise; what they want, has and will continue to remain constant. They want to deliver the most relevant, high quality search results to their users. If you remain focussed on that and give Google what they want, when changes inevitably occur your rankings will prosper.

What Google Want with Matt Cutts

Tactics Vs Strategy

Most affected by the latest updates were those SEO exponents focused on tactics. Fall out from Panda and Penguin included…

  • Those relying on SEO automation tools like WP syndicator or SEO Smart Links
  • Websites overusing a particular blog network for back links. Build My Rank was one high profile network that got hit.
  • Sites over optimizing for one keyword phrase in attempt to appear more relevant. This tactic is often know as keyword stuffing and was targeted by Penguin.

Tactics such as these may get you ahead in the short term, but long term you will fall foul. Just like the athlete using performance enhancing drugs, the system will catch you eventually and when it does you’ll be stripped of your glories. I would strongly suggest that you ignore all tactical fads such as the latest SEO plugin, content scraping tool or automation widget and favor a real long term strategy of simply giving Google what they want.

The long game

Its tougher playing the long game. Sacrificing the little wins now in favor of the bigger win later requires hard work and discipline. You’ll need to create genuine original content, engage visitors in conversation and build quality links to your site (by hand!)…. all of which takes longer and costs more. However when you put in some real effort and give Google (and your visitors) what they want, the rewards are well worth it….

 Sample results after Penguin;-


So what do you need to do to gain top search engine rankings. Here are 5 tips for higher rankings post Penguin & Panda……

(Which coincidentally are the same tips which worked pre Penguin and Panda)

What Google Want

1. Original

spin-150x150Google recently announced in their March Search Highlights that they are getting better at detecting synonyms. We’ve always know that original is best, but this latest update further reinforces that ‘spun’ content sucks. What’s good for the user is good for Google. That means original ‘hand’ prepared content created by humans for humans. By all means leverage other stories, but lay off the spinning tools and add your twist to make your content unique and different. Combine multiple media types for a really compelling site that ranks; text, images, audio and video can and should be used to great effect.

 2. Understandable

For Google to give you any chance of a top position they’ve got to understand what your site is about. Wherever possible try and keep your website on theme and focus only on one topic matter; “cookery” for example. Too many different topics will confuse Google and dilute your sites authority. Help Google by placing the keywords you want to rank for in the page title and content of your site. Please refrain however from stuffing keywords in multiple times as you will be penalized for over optimization. Once within the page title and once within the content is more than enough post Penguin. If you write for humans as opposed to search engines, you’ll do just fine.

3. Social

social-150x150The way people promote content on the internet has fundamentally changed with the advent of social media. Where as previously we would have linked to a website from our blog if we found that content to be relevant, interesting and share-worthy, that’s no longer the case. Now we will Tweet, Like, Plus or Pin it  if we want to share something cool with our network. Google are very aware of this trend, and now consider social signals with great emphasis when determining search engine positions. Do your ranking chances a favor and install social share icons on your site. If Google see that visitors are sharing your content, they can be assured that your content is worthy and they will be more likely to rank it in results.

 4. Referrable

Back links are still very powerful but should be used with care. Google Panda sort out various back link networks and de-indexed their links as they were just too powerful. Since the Panda update you should be applying a broader spread of links to your site and using extremely varied anchor text and links to multiple pages. Hundreds of links from the same source, with the same anchor text all going to your home page looks very suspect. When you promote your site from multiple properties it will appear very referable. Google will always trust a website with multiple properties linking to it over a site with one property linking to it multiple times.

5. Fresh 

fresh-150x150Also announced in March’s Search Quality Highlights was that Google are getting better at detecting freshness of content and are placing more recent results first. This makes perfect sense, as up to date content will typically be more relevant than 10 yeas old content and that’s why Google are placing it first. If you haven’t updated your site in sometime then get to work. Regular up to date content will please Google and keep your visitors coming back for more.


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About James Reynolds

James is passionate about helping you get more traffic and sales from search engines. Join 3223+ subscribers who get traffic tips from James weekly