Search Engine Optimization Affected by Google Algorithm Change?

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It’s hard to believe that the latest Google algorithm change(colloquially referred to as “Google Farmer” or “Google Panda”) has been implemented for nearly two months now. The reason behind the move, to identify low-quality pages and sites, made sense; after all, how often have you searched for a topic you’re doing serious research on, only to find an assortment of flimsy “content farm” (user-generated) sites on the first page of results? Probably quite a few.

With that in mind, there’s not much to argue with here. The question is, is this new Google algorithm effective? Also, what are the repercussions for small business owners and the broader search engine optimization community? The answer is not as dramatic as one may think. The update affects all English language queries, and in the U.S., the initial launch impacted nearly 12% of queries. Also, the data from the initial launch indicates that only large sites were primarily affected at first – meaning that the search engine optimization efforts of small businesses likely wouldn’t be affected.

But with the latest update to Google Panda, smaller sites may indeed see an impact. California SEOspecialist Amit Singhal, who is in charge of search quality at Google, says that content farms won’t be the only sites to feel the burn. “This change also goes deeper into the ‘long tail’ of low-quality websites to return higher-quality results where the algorithm might not have been able to make an assessment before. We’re focused on showing users the highest quality, most relevant pages on the web.”

So, what should you do if your site is affected? Singhal shares, “If you believe your site is high-quality and has been impacted by this change, we encourage you to evaluate the different aspects of your site extensively…As sites change, our algorithmic rankings will update to reflect that.”

Questions to ask yourself about your site include:

  • • Can visitors easily find their way around?
  • • Is it obvious what topic each page is about?
  • • Is the content original, or was it extracted from other sources?
  • • Is the primary focus the user need or the business goal?
  • • Does your site answer the search query better than other pages on the web?

And most importantly, whose needs are addressed more thoroughly on the site: yours, or the users? Identifying these needs for improvement and addressing them quickly will escape detection by Google Panda and keep your search engine optimization results as satisfactory as possible.


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