Knowing where the boundaries lay, helps creators make the best website for their consumers while adhering to Google Guidelines. Over the years, Google has introduced a few friends from the zoo to detect if SEO practices are carried out in a genuine, natural fashion.
Google Panda – Bad Content
When presenting content or information to your audience, Google analyzes your content and determines basically is it helpful and relevant to others.
Have you ever had that one friend that constantly steals your jokes and re-uses them for their own purpose?
Don’t be like that friend—Avoid duplicate content, make sure you are sharing unique and detailed information that will keep your readers engaged.
Google Penguin – Bad Links
Quality over Quantity.
Having a large quantity of links from other online communities can be great, but beware the Penguin!
This penalty takes a closer look at factors such as: Are you buying links to promote your domain authority? Is there a natural number of new links that are linking to your site? Whom is associated with you?
If you are adamant about only using white hat SEO practices only. Google has a simple solution to make sure that you aren’t perceived to be a business that is affiliated with a website that may demote your SEO rankings.
Google Hummingbird – Keyword Relevancy
Hummingbird was developed in order to improve the way Google pairs search term keywords to the relevant content that the user is probably looking for.
Often when a person types in search phrases, it is often structured like a sentence (i.e. best chicken recipes for people that don’t like kitchen messes”). If each word in this search query, was taken apart from its context in this search query, you may end up with search results that may not pair well with the search engine results.
Since then, keywords in the search engine queries are all taken into context and more appropriate search engine results have been shown to the user. Hummingbird also accounts for voice searches as well (such as Alexa).
What does this update mean for SEO?
To be equipped for this change, re-think your strategy about keyword planning and develop sites that will best suit the way users actually search in their search box.
Google Pigeon – Local Businesses
For those working on local SEO that are focused on promoted local business, the Pigeon will be affecting you the most.
After this update, local search results for local businesses have been fine-tuned, so that search results displayed, will only be those that are hyper local/relevant to the user’s search query. For this update, it is recommended that instead of creating a website with the entire city in mind, cater your website to a very specific neighborhood in your city.
What You Can Do To Prevent Penalties- Google Search Console
The thought can be frightening. But what happens if you receive one of these penalties?
Luckily, you (usually) will be given a second chance. If you have a Google Search Console account, you can take a look at the “Manual Actions” Tab and it will list specific actions that you can take to try to solve this issue.
Take the appropriate actions and you can see if this helps. If your web traffic or search engine ranking improves, you probably won’t be seeing these results immediately. Additionally, Google Search Console also hosts a forum where you can connect with other individuals that may have encountered the same penalty.
Summary of Do’s and Don’ts
As a rule of thumb, here are a few tips that can summarize what you can do to make your business branding stand out in Google’s eyes.
-Ensure your website is easily accessible across many devices and has quick loading speed
-Provide useful content and engage your audience through good uses of images and sub-headers
-Create value in through means of helpful education or contributing towards the mental well-being of your audience.
-Have a good balance of SEO promoting components. It may work against you to over-stuff keywords into your website or if you try to get a large amount of links over a short period of time.
-Don’t try to deceive others through black-hat or tricky practices in an attempt to gain more traffic to your website
-Don’t allow viruses or spam from entering your website that can potentially affect many others.
As Google continually updates its algorithms, they are quickly detecting new and emerging techniques that may give others an unfair SEO advantages. Play the long term game and naturally build out your online web presence and branding. You can probably sleep better at night knowing that you doing your due diligence to avoid Google’s Penalty Zoo.