Many of you have been in the SEO trenches for a long time. And many of you that have been in this game for a while understand that it’s important to listen to what Google is saying to you, or to read between the lines and figure out what they are not saying to you. When you use this information that they blatantly put out to the world, you’ll be able to take advantage of some of the bigger changes that are happening. And this will also help you to avoid search engine disasters and issues that are small and large.
And there are undoubtedly others of you reading this that are just getting their feet wet in the search engine optimisation game. You’re the business owners that are afraid of the ups and downs that typically come with search engine rankings when you do not pay attention to what’s going on. But if you start listening to Google, you’ll start to see better and more consistent success in ways that you’ve never been able to pull off before.
We are now going to take a look at a few examples of things that Google has told us to about changes that they were making. This will help to give you a solid idea of why paying attention to Google is of vast importance.
Google Panda Updates
Way back in the Internet stone ages (at least it feels that way) on February 23, 2011, Google put out the Panda update for the very first time. There was an important message that they shared along with this algorithm update. They were looking to kill the rankings of content farms and devalue websites with thin content.
The other major algorithm factor that they changed regarded the high ad to content ratio. If your website had thin content and tons of advertisements than it was going to get destroyed in the Panda update. Most of those content farms and article websites got hammered at the time. And it was the end of the SEO world as we knew it… for about a week!
Many webmasters and business owners had their search engine rankings devastated because they fell under one of the categories that we just mentioned. And many of these business owners and webmasters wondered if there was any way to avoid the misery that they experienced.
Well, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane with Google and see if there was any way that webmasters could have predicted what would happen.
- On March 15, 2010, Matt Cutts said in an interview with Eric Enge that “If there are a large number of pages that we consider low value, then we might not crawl quite as many pages on that site.”
- Between April 28 through May 3, 2010, during the May Day Update, Google’s main focus was on content quality in relation to long-tail rankings. One area that was affected was reducing long-tail rankings on strong websites that had poor quality internal pages that were once ranking very well.
- On January 28, 2011, Google put out an update that targeted scraped and low quality content. As the Moz folks generously pointed out, this was a precursor to the future Panda update that took place just one month later.
These are just a few of the many examples that provide clear indications when a Panda update is about to take place. Google never really hides what they are planning to do before an update. Most people just ignore the signs that they share. The moral of the story: Pay attention to Google if you want to dominate in SEO!
Google Mobile Update
This example is even more clear-cut. Google was very clear with webmasters and business owners about the mobile update. They warned everyone months in advance that websites would lose rankings if they were not mobile friendly.
But if you’re looking for a powerful indicator, then this should really have caught your notice:
On November 18, 2014, Google began adding the phrase “Mobile-Friendly” in the front of website descriptions when the pages where mobile friendly. This was a clear sign that Google was going in this direction. Then they eventually came right out and told us that websites had to be mobile friendly or they were going to lose rankings. We wrote about the coming mobile update on April 4.
All in all, it’s time to start paying attention to Google. They are often forthright about search engine updates if you are willing to pay attention to the clues.