Don’t “Game” Google: How Google’s Recent Updates Affect Your Small Business SEO

Written by Paul Naybour on . Posted in Featured, SEO News

In an ongoing effort to stop web spam, your friendly neighbourhood IT experts at Google have recently made a few changes to their search algorithm. The latest Google update includes upgrades to various search classifiers which are designed to crack down on sites that violate Google’s quality guidelines .

Keyword Stuffing

One of these improvements strongly targets sites that use keyword-stuffing tactics like those that follow, since keyword stuffing is one of the worst SEO transgressions and thus one of the surest ways to raise Google’s ire: • Publishing large blocks of disembodied keywords (aka, keywords that are not incorporated into reasonably meaningful text) • Inserting totally unrelated keywords into the body of their web copy in places where they simply don’t make sense Google’s quality guidelines specifically state that website owners should “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” The guidelines also caution them not to “load pages with irrelevant keywords.” Apparently Google’s experts are getting serious about enforcing these rules this time around via project codename “Spam,” and website owners would do well to heed their long-standing yet newly-strengthened advice.

Article or Content Spinning

The latest Google update also targets questionable SEO tactics in other ways, such as by allowing no freshness boost for low-quality content. Normally, fresh content will rank higher with search engines than older content. But, thanks to this change (project codename: “NoRot”) Google’s algorithm will no longer grant this boost to low-quality content. Such content includes, but is not limited to, “spun” content: content that has been made into multiple (related or unrelated) articles by rephrasing whilst using the same keywords, either with the same or different meanings. Therefore, avoiding content spinning in your small business SEO efforts would be a wise business move. On a related note, since this update, fewer autocomplete predictions will lead to low-quality results. This will make it even more difficult for searchers to locate low-quality sites. This is just one more reason to make sure your content is above board.

Linking Internally to Non-Relevant Content

Link value has long been tied to link relevance, and Google frown on links placed on web pages simply to take the reader to other pages on a website, when those pages are unrelated to the current page. This creates low-quality links and lowers the page’s search engine ranking. Therefore, as you plan your small business SEO, be sure all the other pages to which you link on your own website (as well as on other websites) are relevant to the content on the current page, as well as to the anchor text of the link.

Placing Main Page Content “Below the Fold”

Google’s page layout algorithm  was also updated (earlier this year) to reflect website visitors’ right to expect to see the content they’re seeking as soon as they enter the site, as opposed to having to scroll down past “a slew of ads” before accessing the content for which they’re searching. Placing content relevant to the search “above the fold” (or on the part of the page that’s visible without scrolling) will prevent Google from penalizing your website for this content.

Don’t Try to “Game” Google

Just as it’s not nice to try to fool Mother Nature, it rarely pays to try to “game” Google. In all your small business SEO efforts, stick to using honest, tried-and-true, “white hat” SEO techniques, and save the questionable ones for those who don’t know any better – or just don’t care.

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Tags: Google, SEO, Small Business

Paul Naybour

Paul Naybour and SEO strategist and project manager for SBSEO. Paul will review your site and compare with with competitors to develop a clear and successful ranking strategy. Paul's Google Profile

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