How to recover from Google’s Penguin and Panda Updates

Has your website been pecked by Penguin or pawed by Panda? Here are a few tips on how to get your websites listings back on track. First off, what is Google Penguin and Panda? These are two new algorithms that were introduced in April 2012, and have caused a lot of problems for websites all over the Web.These algorithms put tighter guidelines on the optimization of websites and tweaked a number of methods used for web spam, including keyword stuffing, cloaking, unnatural links and content spinning.

google panda penguin 300x213 How to recover from Googles Penguin and Panda Updates

Contrary to what many of us think (and what it feels like), Google’s aim isn’t to run amuck with algorithm updates and discipline every site until they are the only ones left on the internet. They just yearn for the web to be a better place, and want to provide their users with the best websites for their desired search and they do this by pushing sites who do things right and by the book to the top of the SERPS.

To ensure that your website is not penalized by future algorithms, here is what you can do to help, and what you should avoid:

1. Build up your content

Add a blog that you can update regularly. Have a news section so you can tell your clients what’s new and what’s changing. Any of these ideas are useful and if you can think of any more ways to boost your content, then go for it! Good, rich content will always keep you in Googles good books, but a word of warning, don’t plagarise, it must be unique

2. Make use of Google Analytics and Webmaster tools

These two applications give us an insight into where our websites do best. From which search results give us the most traffic, to the bounce rate of the visitors that arrive on our websites. This is like a look into the belly of the beast, and with Webmaster tools assisting you with your errors; you’ll be well on your way. If you need help setting up analytics or webmaster tools or require some training then please give us a ring on 0115 896 7715.

3. Keep an eye on your keywords

Too much optimisation can definitely be a bad thing. Having too much repetition of a keyword is is counted as spam, so here are a few tweaks you can make to ensure you’re keeping your keywords relevant and organic;

Use relevant pictures on your website, and make sure you’ve filled in their ALT tags. By using relevant images, the ALT tags should include your keywords.

Know what keywords you want to use and incorporate them into your content, not the other way around. This can make your content look suspicious and could result in penalization.

4. Expand your link construction

Back in the day, as soon as everybody found out that using keywords in the anchor text of links and back links reaped huge dividends in where you ranked, they soon rushed to stuff their links with keywords. Stopping keywords stuffing and link spamming is exactly what these two algorithms are designed to do, so try to think of different ways to get your keywords into your links. Why not try using Non-descriptive links? Having links like: “Click here!” “Visit us here!” using an image but with a relevant alt tag are great ways to include your keywords whilst keeping your layout looking natural.

5. Definitely avoid Spamming, Spinning and Cloaking

Cloaking is creating a different version of your website and submitting it to search engines and clients in order to improve rankings. Content spinning is taking one of your already live blog articles, copying it, making a few slight changes and submitting it. This isn’t posting new content and therefore qualifies as trying to play Google’s ranking systems.

If you need help recovering from any of Google recent updates or would like a days training on Search Engine Optimisation/inbound marketing to help increase your business visibility on the web then ring us on 0115 896 7715, email us on hello@landingnet.co.uk or fill out out contact form

10 Top Tips to optimise your Google/Bing local listing

1. Make sure that you have created/claimed your business on Google Places

Picture1 10 Top Tips to optimise your Google/Bing local listing

This may seem like a no-brainer, but its importance is more than meets the eye. As well as a places listing giving your customers a push in the right direction on your whereabouts, it also helps with your rank in local searches too. Google emphasises it’s places listings in local searches and are often located at the top of the search page, which is the first place people look.

When it comes to Bing, creating a listing is a bit more complicated, but still relatively easy. Go to ‘http://marketlocation.my118information.co.uk/home.aspxand click on ‘Get started’ you will have to search for your business before you can create your own, just to check you aren’t adding a duplicate listing. They should then tell you that they will call you within one working day to confirm your listing, and there you have it! For Google Places go to http://www.google.com/places and click ‘Get started now’ to create your listing. To claim your business, find its Google places listing and click ‘Manage this page’. When you have done either of these options, you will then have to verify your business location by receiving a verification code that will be sent to your business address.

2. Ensure all information about your business is complete

A completed listing is a valuable one. Google and Bing will use the listings that have the most information about their company on the front page. By completing your information, not only are you helping your customers know more about your businesses, but you are also helping to boost your listing to that coveted first page spot.

3. Create a keyword rich description

When completing your information, you should make sure to include a lot of keywords that you want your business to be associated with in your business description. Be reasonably subtle though – Google often blacklists businesses that they think are trying to play the search engine systems. Ensure to lace your desired keywords into your description smoothly and accurately and you’re well on your way.

4. Make sure not to use any keywords in your business name

If ‘web design’ or ‘garden services’ is not part of your business name do not include it in your business name on your places listing. The genius’ at Google and Bing are always looking out for people trying to play their system, for example, if we put LandingNet Website Design instead of LandingNet Ltd Google may actually push our listing down in relevancy or even blacklist it.

5. Add images and videos to your listing

Adding geo-tagged and alt-tagged images and videos to your listing increases the way that potential customers reach your listing. The images appear on Google and Bing image search and to upload videos, you need to upload them to YouTube. This means when users search for your field of work, not only will they see your places listing at the top, they will also see your videos (which appears at the top) and your images (which also appears on the top!)

6. Make regular updates and changes to your listing

Treat your listing as you would your website, keep the content fresh. This will certainly boost your rankings within Google and Bing, and will also keep your customers happy too. Some ideas are adding images, videos and even just updating your description. Active listings are greatly beneficial to Google as it shows a more legitimate business.

7. Check your listings analytics page regularly (Google Place Listings only)

Your analytics hold the key information to how your customers and potential customers find your listing. Finding out the queries that lead your customers to your listing will help you lace in the right keywords for your description, and optimise it even further.

8. Ensure you have no duplicate listings

Duplicate listings can really effect where your original listing ranks. Deleting old or unused duplicates of your listing will greatly enhance how legitimate your business listing appears to Google, and duplicates can be a huge liability and even get your original (along with the duplicates) blacklisted. On Bing, however, it does not allow you create duplicate listings, so they’ve already covered your back with this one!

9. Get your business listed in suitable online business directories

Getting your business listed in business directories can greatly boost your places listing. Pages such as www.yellowpages.co.uk, your cities chamber of commerce etc, are highly viewed by Google and Bing and will help make your business come across more legitimate, and will heighten your rank. It is also another portal for prospective customers to reach you from.

10. Encourage your customers to leave feedback on your listing

Feedback can make or break a business, and good feedback will greatly boost your listings rank. Google’s policy states that you are not to give your customers reasons to leave you a positive comment, but if they think you’ve genuinely done a good job, then they should be willing to help and leave you a review.  The process is a little different with Bing, to allow your customers to leave reviews about your business, you are required to add your listing to websites such as www.yelp.com and www.citysearch.com and the reviews from these listings will be integrated into your businesses Bing local listing.

How Google Knowledge Graph Can Inspire Content Creation

By now, many of us will be aware of an additional panel of information on the right-hand side of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). If you haven’t seen this, then search for ‘Nottingham Castle’ and you’ll see what we mean.Google Knowledge Graph

This is the product of Google’s first foray into so called ‘semantic search’ - Google Knowledge Graph – which has now reached the UK, providing what it hopes will be a string of related information that will answer search queries more exactly in terms of the users’ intended context. In terms of search engine optimisation (SEO), the jury is still out as to how this might affect website rankings, but what is clear is that it could irreversibly change the behaviour of Internet users as more information is found directly from Google’s SERPs. We shall wait and see.

Learn from Google

What can be learnt from this experiment is that Google believes Internet users increasingly want access to information quickly that is both relevant, accurate and within context. If we are to trust Google’s judgement here (and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t – given their success with search), then it just goes to show how important it is to generate unique content and copy for your website, blog and social channels that is equally accurate and relevant for your customers.

Here are 3 key areas in which you can improve your content creation:

1.     Use Google to find direct sources

When writing blogs, articles or longer pieces, make sure that you reference the facts. This can be done by citing the original source of the information, or simply by linking to where the information came from. Passing other people’s work off as your own might earn you temporary respect, but once you’re found out – well, you should know what is likely to happen.

Referencing and citing sources actually has the opposite effect – it generates trust and shows the reader that you’ve spent time to research your work properly. Trust and confidence is what you’re after – so that your readers or customers keep coming back to you time after time again.

The following resources are great for finding source information:

  • Google Books – Search and read books and magazines, many of which are shown in their entirety.
  • Google Scholar – Search for links to scholarly papers on every subject under the sun.

2.     Use specialised search engines and online encyclopaedias

Some search engines already specialise in trying to answer questions. The most well-known is the Wulfram Alpha – the computational knowledge engine which has a free and subscription version (the latter providing additional interactivity and visual depiction of results). Wulfram Alpha

This search engine is excellent for collating statistics for use in content creation. It provides citations to the original sources from where information is collated, which means that you can explore further and find additional detail and information for your content too.

Here’s a search we did by simply typing in London versus Nottingham – this provided us with a comparison of various statistics between the two cities, including population and flight times, for example.

You could also pay to use an encyclopaedia such as the now completely online Encyclopaedia Britannica – a well-known and trusted resource. The cost runs at about £7.60 per month – not bad for access to a reliable source of detailed information. There is also of course the free Wikipedia (which has improved greatly in terms of accuracy over the last few years) and its many sister websites, all specialising in various areas of information and data – for the full list, visit the Wikimedia Foundation website.

3.     Social media and social search

One obvious way to get information and answers is by sharing your questions and research ideas online using social channels. Quora is an excellent example through which professionals and experts pose and answer questions on a huge range of subjects across various industries. Social media and networks are also an excellent way to find out about the latest trends and conversations that could spark you to debate and comment on current issues.

Topsy How Google Knowledge Graph Can Inspire Content CreationThere are various social search engines, such as Topsy or Social Mention that will search across channels for specific queries giving links to the source of a conversation.

If you’re looking for collaborators or experts on a specific subject to help you or contribute to your content creation ideas, then Followerwonk is a great way to search and filter through Twitter users’ biographies.

Further advice

For further advice about SEO and content creation, please feel free to contact Landingnet with your query.