Webconsuls Blog

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Search Engine Marketing Newsletter Spring 2011

In this Newsletter we discuss two recent Google news stories and also something that may be coming down the road from Google.

Google made the news recently with two stories – a change to its algorithm and also an explicit penalty imposed on the rankings of two large retailers. Judy Helfand has written an excellent piece on the Webconsuls' blog that provides more information about Google, algorithms, and the penalties. The information given by Google about this change could be helpful to you for improving your rankings.

In its official blog, Google states that its goal – “to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible.” Last week’s change is intended to reduce the rankings for what Google considers to be low quality sites – sites with low valued added, sites that have copied content from other sites, and sites that just don’t provide useful information. As low quality sites are reduced in ranking, then higher quality sites should improve.

Webconsuls avoids the tactics that Google is trying to penalize. We have found that our clients have not been negatively affected by the change, and many have benefited by the improvement given to higher quality sites.

Google’s goal of providing relevant answers to queries is simple to state and helps provide a roadmap you can use to improve the results from your web site. First, and most importantly, is it clear that your web site provides content for relevant searches? Does your site accurately and fairly completely describe the products and/or services you offer and the geographical area you serve?

Once you are confident that your site completely and accurately describes your business and its products and services, then how would you rate its quality? Does it provide useful information? Is the content original or merely copied from another site?

In another story Google found that Overstock.com and J. C. Penney were using deceptive practices to boost their positioning and dropped their rankings. It is tempting for a small business to think that will not happen to them, but there is a Google experiment that may work its way into the actual rankings. Google’s web browser is called Chrome, and Chrome now has a feature that lets users block sites. Once a viewer block a site, then that viewer will not see it again. Google assumes that Chrome users are blocking low quality sites. While so far Google says that Chrome blocks are not in the rankings, it is something that could be used in the future.

In summary, Google has made changes to its algorithms. These changes are designed to penalize low quality sites and reward sites with original valuable content. Google has also penalized major retailers who were deceiving its system to boost their rankings. Google is also experimenting with other ways to detect low value sites. Google’s goal is to provide relevant answers to search queries. You should make sure that your site has original content that fully describes your business.

Dick, Dennis and Judy

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