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The Impact of Search Engine Algorithm Updates

One of the biggest concerns for site owners is how an update to a search engine algorithm might affect the ranking of their content in search results. This applies in particular to Google Page Rank. Numerous complaints posted in forums and on message boards from site owners who have seen a dramatic drop in search engine traffic after a Google update.

Some sites lost out when Google Panda and Penguin updates were introduced, but most of them were owned by people using the wrong sort of digital marketing methods. They ignored the benefits of pay per click advertising and relied on inappropriate SEO techniques, which resulted in their sites being penalized by Google and losing traffic.

The reason why Google began to release these algorithm updates was a desire to show better search results, by removing substandard content that was being promoted through methods that contravene the Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Sites that comply with the guidelines do not get penalized by Google and can achieve a higher ranking, based on quality of content and acceptable SEO techniques.

The guidelines set out by Google do not allow any marketing technique that can be described as “black hat”. This refers to methods that aim to get a higher page ranking through cheating and by trying to outsmart Google.

Reliable digital marketing methods involve SEO techniques known as “white hat”. These include PPC advertising and other reliable forms of inbound marketing.

One of the commonest black hat methods, which many website owners were using before Google Penguin, is a practice known as “link bombing”. This involved creating hundreds of artificial links by placing them on sites that had no relation to the linked site’s content. Any site promoted artificially through this method of linking is now penalized by Google.

Links from PPC advertising have no adverse affect on ranking in Google, or on any other search engine. Genuine links leading back from related content can still improve SEO.

When Penguin 1.1 was released in 2012, the main object of that algorithm update was to catch spammers who were creating hundreds of artificial doorway pages, in an effort to trick search engines.

A genuine landing page is a very effective digital marketing tool that also helps to increase SEO. Multiple landing pages can be created, as long as they are fit for purpose and are effectively designed to lead visitors towards a firm call to action.

Another algorithm update introduced in 2012 started penalizing websites for showing too little content in the upper section of a page, so that it was mainly ads appearing “above the fold”.

Not all site owners whose methods have been penalized by search engines were aware that they were using black hat techniques or did not think they were doing anything wrong.

Marketing methods that will now get a site penalized are still being recommended on many blogs, sites and discussion boards set up for people who are new to digital marketing.

It is difficult for any site owner to be aware of all the changes in criteria that can affect ranking, so it’s better to use a reliable SEO service than to try some of the methods that are recommended online.

PPC advertising and SEO both attract visitors who are interested in seeing what is on the page. The main impact of search engine algorithm updates is that content rises up to the top for all the right reasons, which is better for search engine users and for site owners who use SEO services rather than risk being penalized.

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