Google changes affect SEO … and brand optimization
Our Director of Digital Marketing, Ron Miller, emailed the Creative Company team this alert about Google’s updates
Ron told us: 16 months ago, the most important change to come to the Internet occurred with little notice outside the world of SEO geeks. It was an update that Google did to their algorithm, code named “Panda.” Before the Panda update, it was fairly easy to buy your way to the top of the search results and lots of people did that. People were building websites not for humans, but in hopes of pleasing the Google web crawler. Panda not only made that more difficult but Google then penalized companies who did it. Those companies still haven’t recovered.
Last April, Google did another update to their algorithm that was code named “Penguin”. It seemed to be an expansion of Panda, making it even more difficult for people to trick Google into a search results position.
A week ago, Google started cracking down on those who violate copyright and use other people’s content on their websites. Now the boards and forums are lighting up because it appears that Google is readying the Penguin II Update for an imminent launch. I believe that it will be bigger and more far-reaching than what they’ve done before. It will affect a lot of people: negatively to those who are trying to game the system — but positively to those who create unique, useful content for humans. Here’s a reference.
An article in Fast Company adds more
I’ve included some excerpts below:
Updates to Google’s algorithms mean that social engagement, rather than search engine trickery, yields top results.
Marketers are buzzing from the aftershocks of Google’s recent most updates, code-named Panda and Penguin.
If Panda was a wrist slap, Penguin was a body slam to websites still trying to “trick” the search engines into ranking them ahead of their competition. The update emphasized the importance of quality content, originality, and overall user experience.
But the Panda and Penguin messages go deeper. With them, the search engines are openly acknowledging that a website isn’t the only place on the Web that a brand needs to maintain a strong presence. The interactive exchanges that people have with each other and with the brand–online–are happening in the social media channel, and the search engines are placing an increasing importance on how these conversations influence their views on brands and how their websites should rank.
This means that a brand can no longer rely on a well-optimized website to earn Google’s attention. A brand must be a conversationalist, going where the people are and engaging them in discussion, and by doing that earn a wonderful reputation.
The article goes on to provide tips to improve both your site and your ranking
Smart brands are doing this by fully leveraging each social channels particular properties.
- Facilitate conversations with fans on your Facebook page.
Simply announcing what your company is up to isn’t going to get fans engaging with your brand. Post information that is relevant to your brand and of interest to your stakeholders. Invite questions, suggest other reading, provide links, curate other content. The point is to have dynamic conversations between your brand and your fans.
- Share tweets about topics of interest (again–not self-serving announcements but follower-serving news) via Twitter.
The search engines are all looking at Twitter activity, at the keyword and brand-name level, as signals for which brands deserve top rankings.
- Uploading shareable videos to your YouTube channel optimizes your brand as well as your website. How? When the content is engaging, people want to share it. When they share it, they often add a link to your website. Encourage more sharing and engagement with people who leave comments by responding to their comments. Remember, Google owns YouTube. Enough said.
We can’t Penguin-proof a website … the data is still coming in … and no one could promise that. In fact if someone ever tries to tell you that they can get you on the first page of the Google search results, they’re trying to scam you. But we understand the methodology to optimize a brand. The websites we have developed, including our own, have been designed to appeal to humans. Good unique content, clear calls to action, downloadable information–and a beautiful, appealing design.
Google is rewarding those who are building content and websites to connect with humans, not algorithms, on multiple levels. We know a website is a critical point of choice for the target audiences, and an integral component of an optimized brand. Integrating social, building a community, and engaging multiple audiences is all part of the game.
Visit our website to see our work and download our Brand Responsibly manifesto
Here are a few other blog posts you might be interested in:
- Reaching your target audiences with a new name
- Identifying your B2B audiences, should you be using social media?
- Tune your website for business, go beyond an online brochure