It is no secret that Google has gone through many changes in the last 3 years, most notably they launched Panda and Penguin algorithm changes in 2011. Panda was first released by Google in February 2011 to help filter the search results of spammy content tactics such as keyword stuffing. The end result was Google significantly dropped the rankings of what they determined “low-quality sites” or sites with “thin content” and replaced them with websites that were full of higher quality content and websites that did not do a large amount of advertising.
A good way to check your current SEO is too make sure the quality of your content is up to snuff. A great way too check your quality of content is through copyscape. This tool will review your website to make sure that the content is not duplicated from another website, if you currently have duplicate content you are asking to get your website penalized by the search engines.
Google also launched a second major algorithm change in April 2012 called Penguin. Penguin has since been updated a total of 5 times and the current version at the time of this article is Penguin 2.1. This particular algorithm update focused on spammy linking tactics that were designed to manipulate the search engines. When SEO originally burst onto the scene it was common knowledge that the more links you had the better your rankings would be, it was pretty black and white and the quality and relevancy of the links really didn’t matter all that much. Technically, Google did not want these links to help websites but for many, many years they definitely still had a positive effect on SEO campaigns worldwide. Internet marketers who were equipped with that knowledge would buy thousands of links for dirt cheap from countries like India, China, Singapore, etc. for dirt cheap. Website’s were getting page 1 rankings on all of the search engines but the quality of the websites at the top of the search results were very poor quality, people searching for ford mustangs might have been led to a website about commercial loans, just because people were able to manipulate the search engines. Thus, the Penguin algorithm update.
Has your website lost its rankings? Has your website’s traffic dwindled? If you are answering yes to these questions than there is a good chance your website was in fact using some black hat tactics to get rankings pre-penguin and now are suffering the consequences.
How do you tell what algorithm really hurt you the most? Use your Google Webmaster tools to cross reference with this list of algorithm changes.
If you are unhappy with your current rankings I will provide you a free website audit of your backlink profile, contact me.