What's been happening recently in SEO?
There's been a lot going on over the past couple of months in the Search team at Code. New faces, new processes, new clients, and all accompanied by the regular and unpredictable updates Google decides it wants to roll out (lovely).
All this hectic activity lead us to review some of the new stuff, so we've summed it up in one bite size post for our clients and those interested in search.
Google Algorithm Updates (it's a jungle out there)
Nothing new here! Or is there? Google love rolling out algorithm updates to filter out poor results from the index, and give you the content that they think you'd love... Keeps us on our toes. To the everyday searcher, they won't really notice that much difference to the search results, but updates get rolled out all the time to try and improve the returned results.
A list of recent Panda updates:
Google Panda Update Version 3.8 -- 25/06/2012
Google Panda Update Version 3.7 -- 08/06/2012
Google Panda Update Version 3.6 -- 27/04/2012
Google Panda Update Version 3.5 -- 19/04/2012
Google Panda Update Version 3.4 -- 23/03/2012
And so on...
Google Panda 1.0 was released in February 2011... and a lot has changed since then!
It changed about 12% of all search results and affected websites that contained large amounts of advertising, spammy practices, low quality links and other naughty stuff. Sites that were affected include JCPenney and Forbes.
If you want to keep up to date with the Google Panda updates then check out Search Engine Land's panda update news from Barry Schwartz.
Google Penguin is another update (announced on 24th April 2012) aimed at penalising websites that use spammy techniques, over optimisation, and other 'black hat' stuff (by this we mean any techniques that have breached Google's Webmaster guidelines). There are various updates on top of this.
You shouldn't be worried about new Google updates if you're sticking by the best practices, ensuring you create great content, and keeping updated on creative ways to improve your traffic. No need to panic.
The Venice update (27/02/2012) was rolled out with the intention of improving local results within the indexed. For example, if you search for a generic keyword such as 'builders merchants' the results that appear will include some specific to your local area.
For all the Google algorithm changes in history read this SEOmoz article.
Google+ Local Pages
Google has changed up their Google Places pages over the past month and introduced Google+ Local pages. Here's a nice post about the merging of Google Places and Google+ Pages. Some of the changes include:
- The substitution of the new Google+ Local pages (as mentioned) for Google Places pages
- The appearance of a 'Local' tab within Google+
- The integration and free availability of Zagat reviews (its entire archive across categories)
- The integration of Google+ Local pages across Google properties (search, Maps, mobile)
- Integration of a circles filter to find reviews/recommendations from friends/family/colleagues
- The review system has changed from a five-star rating to a 30-point system. These pages offer more functionality and richer content for users, encouraging a 'social' aspect, and there is the strong possibility that check-ins could be the next step in the weighting for these +Places pages.
Google has recommended responsive design for mobile SEO. What does that mean? Simply put, that all the content is available on all the devices. It will have one HTML code for the page no matter what device you are accessing the site on.
At Code we know the impact mobile has had in recent times and more and more clients are asking about optimising for mobile devices. If you want more information about mobile SEO and mobile websites get in touch.
Google Analytics Content Experiments
Google says that content experiments "helps create better websites". It allows website testing in Google Analytics so you can develop different versions of a page and show different versions to different people -- pretty cool. You can then see the effect of each version in you Analytics.
This could be a great little tool for conversion optimisation and establishing the most effective ways design, development and marketing can work together to provide the best pages for users.