About ten months ago online businesses were impacted, some severely, by a search engine algorithm change called ‘Panda.’ On that outing, the major search engines switched up the criteria their spiders and bots use when crawling a website. By reprioritizing what techniques search engines ‘look for’ Panda sought out and penalized sites that search engines perceived to be ‘over optimized’ with ‘spam’ techniques. We’ve covered what spam is and how to avoid it in a previous blog posting. Today’s message is about the new algorithm change that also targets spam which occurred on April 25th called ‘Penguin.’

Currently algorithm changes are aimed at preventing websites from achieving high rankings by utilizing questionable techniques. Organic search techniques are considered the best and most ethical. However, these can take a long time to build (sometimes depending on the competitiveness of a given keyword and the client’s SEO budget). Companies with a small SEO budget yet demanding ‘instant’ results often unintentionally hire SEO firms that promise to meet their lofty expectations. When you think about it, why would you hire an expert if they agreed to your demands to do things your way?

So why don’t all web companies simply form an alliance and appoint a governing body to assure that every client receives proper treatment? Stop dreaming. Besides we have the search engines themselves who control how they are utilized through these unannounced but highly anticipated formula shifts. And why are these shifts named after cute zoo animals? One can only speculate!

None of the offending techniques are new. What is happening is that Google has found, via its current algorithm change, a new effective way to enforce ‘the rules’ of utilizing sound SEO practices. Anyone whose site rankings fluctuated after April 25th can go online and research tips on how to avoid it. And surprise! These are the same top 10 tips recommended as solid ‘white hat’ SEO practices. Here are a few excerpts:

    • Avoid hidden text or hidden links
    • Do not overload pages with irrelevant keywords
    • Do not create multiple pages, sub domains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
    • Be sure to create pages for uses, not for search engines.
    • Read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to reinforce best practices and to avoid accidental use of illicit practices

Of course, the best ounce of prevention is to stay on the straight and narrow to begin with. Toward this end we recommend that you contact Active Web Group to discuss how our sound, ethical SEO practices can assist your business to reach its online goals.

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