Penguin, Panda – Google Rankings Gone Wild
What do these Google updates mean for me?
Lewes SEO nailed it pretty well:
SEO’s are going to have to acquire deeper skill sets. Linkbuilding alone is not SEO, but a tiny niche within SEO. Having quality and attracting people is going to be as important as raw links from now on.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, which is why I’m quoting directly. If you’re suffering at the hands of an apparently malevolent animal, seeing your expensive and time-consuming search engine optimization results going down the drain, this is a very stressful time for you.
How Search Rankings are Determined
The short answer is: nobody knows but Google, Bing, etc., and they’re not telling.
Google (or any other search engine) uses highly specialized and proprietary algorithms to determine where a page will be ranked within their index. The variables in these algorithms and the various weights they’re assigned are more secret than the Colonel’s Recipie, and the only way SEO-ers have of determining what Google is paying attention to is to perform deliberate experiments or make educated guesses based upon what they know about the content of a website and how well it seems to be performing at any given time.
This Much is Clear
What Google is trying to do is read web pages as an intelligent human being would. The net effect of their updates is an ongoing process of penalization for optimization techniques which are seen by their algorithms as sneaky. Sneaky, in this context is a self-qualifying term. If you’re doing something which is intended to trick Google or other search engines into paying more attention to you than they otherwise might, you’re being sneaky and you should take a look at stopping.
What isn’t sneaky:
- Delivering informative, quality content
- Paying attention to how your pages are structured, making proper use of HTML formatting
- Including links to quality sources of outside information
- Including images and making proper use of image accessibility features
- Generating outside links by participating in the online community in meaningful ways
Improving your search engine rankings takes time. There simply isn’t anything else for it.