Google is at it again

Google is at it again

Those crazy guys at Google are at it again. They are constantly tinkering with their search engine algorithm, but this time they really made people stand up and take notice. Google’s market share, depending upon which publication you read, is anywhere from 65 to over 80 percent, so let’s face it, you have to care.

In February, Google introduced a major shift in how they rank sites when they enacted the cutesy, furry Google Panda update. For many, it was not so cute and furry, as it wreaked havoc. In late October, Google instituted even more widespread changes with the Google Freshness update. It too created a major shift in what is important when it comes to being relevant on their search engine.

You may not realize it, but Google makes approximately 500 changes or tweaks to their algorithm each year, so change is nothing new. However, the Panda and Freshness updates were possibly the most significant ever. In a nutshell, the Panda changes and Freshness update heightened the importance of news sites and social media sites that offer fresh, trending content.

The Panda Update

The initial Panda update (it has gone through several tweaks) was designed to relegate content mills to the backburner and highlight websites offering relevant content and a quality user experience. For small businesses this doesn’t sound important, but it is. What Google did to accomplish this was to focus on the website as a whole rather than on individual pages. While Google never calls anything they do a “penalty”, the stakes for having broken pages, broken links, and empty pages became higher. Rather than hurting that individual page, it now hurts the entire site.

Flourishing After The Panda Update

For you, this means a review of your website is in order. Look for pages that could be dragging down your website through bad links, 404 errors or regurgitated content. It is also a good time to review title tags and descriptions. Even without the Panda updates, the competition is only getting more fierce, so another look at specific SEO variables can make a real difference.

The Freshness Update

The Freshness Update is about fresh content. Suppose you wanted to know the latest about all-world quarterback Peyton Manning’s injury. In the past, a general search of “Peyton Manning injury” may bring up stories about injuries from previous seasons. This was because the older stories had been around long enough to have links to and from it, a strong analytics history and comments related to it. The new story had yet to build up this type of “resume,” thus relegating it to a lower search engine ranking.

Now, you are more likely to see the recent news stories and blog posts that focus on his most recent (and serious) injury. The general rule is that news stories, blog posts, Facebook updates and Twitter blasts that offer up-to-the minute information now have added importance.

Flourishing After The Freshness Update

If you haven’t already guessed it, you need new, fresh content to make great strides in your internet marketing efforts. Where does this fresh content come from? Regular updates and links to “quality” sites. The “quality” sites, in Google’s eyes, are social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Updates to your website through your blog or news section combined with social media updates that link back to your website are not monumental efforts but can make a monumental difference in your website being found.

There are no new techniques required; this is simply a shift in what is important. The shift is in favor of the user experience. Google doesn’t make all these changes to freak anyone out or play a practical joke (supposedly); they have a reason. Not everyone suffered from the recent changes, in fact many flourished. Businesses with a larger online community footprint, regularly updated content and easy to navigate websites greatly increased their visibility. And you can to.


If you have any questions, or would like to discuss the specific options you have to flourish in the aftermath of Google’s groundbreaking changes, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 910-452-6345 or use our Contact page.



Updated: 10/30/2023

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