Recent algorithm changes by Google have certainly made ranking keywords a heck of a lot harder than they used to be!
In May Google even introduced a “ranking delay” for new websites built after May. If your website was built pre-May 2014 it was a lot easier to rank. We have built a number of websites post-May and whilst it is too early to say for sure, the quick rankings we were seeing earlier in the year haven't been as evident.
The Message Is This. You Have To Be Patient, You Have To Have A Long Term Approach.
The update that is having massive repercussions right now is Panda. Panda refreshes every 20 days. What this algo is all about is “user experience”. What happens when a visitor lands on your website after a Google search? Do they bounce right back to the search results and try someone else's site or do they stay and investigate other pages. Unless you are in the business of emergencies, think locksmith, plumber etc, the latter result is what you want. At least it's what Google wants.
User experience is also all about page loading speed – if your website is too slow to load, visitors will leave quickly – if your site has errors like 404s (page not found) the same result – i.e. people leave quickly.
Panda is also all about duplicate content. If your site content has been “borrowed” from other sites, you won't be ranking in a hurry.
We did a lot of work during June and July checking all our client sites for; page load speed, 404 errors, broken links, duplicate content and toxic links. All errors found have been fixed already or are currently being worked on. Where more serious concerns have been identified, clients have been contacted. In June I wrote about recovering from Google penalties here and also here.
All of this work has been done in addition to our ‘normal' monthly actions such as creating new content for blogs and back-linking purposes, as well as maintaining websites – backend stuff that, if not done, makes websites vulnerable to the hackers (there is an entire industry out there dedicated to bringing down websites, but that's another story)
In the last 2 days there are reports from Search Engine Land about a new algorithm update they are calling “Pigeon” which has been released (24th July). Pigeon has been rolled out in the USA only at this stage but will hit these shores soon as certain as night follows day!
The Pigeon algorithm update is all about local results (Google maps) and seems to favour local directories which is odd because I feel that local directories already get a massive leg up on Google here in Australia. That is precisely why I have always included client details in all the biggest and best local Australian directories. I'll keep an eye out over the next month to see how “Pigeon” impacts search results here in Australia.
If there is an impact here SEO Web Magic will be taking the appropriate actions to ensure that the online visibility our clients currently enjoy is maintained and improved.