Search Engine Optimisation in 2012

For those of us who have been in the digital marketing industry for some time, it comes as no surprise that Google roll out updates to their system from time to time, often fairly frequently.  It keeps many a digital marketer up late at night, fearing that in one fell swoop, Google can effectively wipe out their livelihood, which they can, and in some cases they have done, however it is not their intention.  It is their intention however, to improve their search engine at any costs, even if it means rattling a few SEO cubicles and giving us all a few more grey hairs and furrows on our brows.  Let’s take a quick look into the world of search engine updates and figure out what exactly is going on.

Why do Search Engines make algorithm changes?
Search engines make changes that they deem appropriate as the online landscape changes and evolves.  With the digital age moving at break neck speed, various tests and tweaks are continuously implemented and either left in place or removed.  Who remembers Google’s Wonder Wheel tool?  It was a really great SEO research tool that Google provided for free and then it just vanished.  Whilst they are continuously trying to improve their users experience, some might argue that they just do what they like when they like, with barely a warning or explanation as to what exactly they have done and those that say this do have reason for concern.

Who are they targeting this time?

The main targets for the Penguin update seem to be anyone who might be artificially trying to manipulate the way in which their websites are ranked in Google. Many affiliate marketers are especially adept at this and so it seems that Google has declared war on them.  Not necessarily those affiliates that run a proper business and refer their visitors to merchant sites that offer value.  Rather those that set up MFA (Made For Adsense) sites which are basically; small 1-10 page sites that are created purely to get a visitor clicking on an advert, so that the site can earn revenue from these clicks with no consideration for the site visitor. Or other sites like autoblogs and basic product review sites with foreign outsourced content on them.  These types of sites add no real value to the search engines results and are basically in the way of better websites with better information on them, more often the merhcant’s own website, negating the need for an affiliate website at all.

What do the updates such as Panda and Penguin do?

In layman’s terms, the best way to explain it is; the changes that occur with these updates are a tweak or improvement to the basic set of criteria or an adjustment of the parameters in how Google perceives a websites value and therefore entitlement to its position and rank in their SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

Who do the updates effect?

All of us.  Unfortunately even the most honest and legitimate website owners can be affected by the updates.  For months now, lots of search results have been completely off target and it has left many an Internet Marketer wondering what exactly happened and it has been hard to pinpoint. Some sites with huge amounts of traffic (website visitors) have lost thousands of these unique visitors and they have been left with a staggering deficit in their earnings since as far back as around March 2012.  Upon request for a re-inclusion or reassessment of their sites; some have been met with a non-existent response.

Google have certainly cleaned house with affiliate marketers and many webmasters who have been using private blog networks and automation tools to rank their websites have been dealt a hefty blow, which if we’re honest, needed to happen, it’s just very unfortunate that a lot of respectable businesses have also been casualties to this algorithm assault.

How do we move forward with SEO in 2012?

It comes as no surprise that SEO’s the world over have been discussing the best ways to continue to market their websites for themselves or their clients.  SEO is a vital component of any website owners strategy for exposure and rankings and is still very much at the forefront of many digital marketing strategies, only now it has changed, again!

It is our job as SEO professionals to adapt to these changes and this is what we shall do.

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