Do you like going to the zoo? Apparently Google does, what with some of their algorithms being named “Panda” and “Penguin” – what’s next, an ostrich? Actually, Google Ostrich is in the pipeline, and with all these new algorithm updates afoot, it’s high time we talk about what these changes mean for you, the affiliate.
As search engine algorithms continue to adapt to changing online conditions, it’s important to remember why they’re evolving; it’s not to either improve or hinder SEO practices, but rather to improve the end user’s experience.
Generating proper SERP (search engine results page) ranking is the key to your website’s success, but before we can get into the steps you should be incorporating into your site, we need to first look at Panda and Penguin to get an understanding of how these algorithms affect your site’s ranking.
Google’s Panda algorithm is primarily concerned with on-site SEO practices. On-site SEO deals with site improvements that can be made you yourself. Specifically, the clickthrough rate (CTR) and bounce rate are of priority here. Both the CTR and bounce rate contribute towards SERP ranking, which means that the focus needs to be placed on engaging content that keeps readers on your page. Low CTR and bounce rates lower your site’s status on SERPs.
Penguin, on the other hand, measures off-site SEO practices. Off-site SEO is concerned with practices that work outside of your site’s authority, contributions that are made from other sites. Backlinks play a huge role in off-site SEO, to the point where over-optimization can occur. Backlinking is becoming increasingly dangerous for SEO because Penguin has rooted out poor-quality links that direct back to your site. In effect, backlinking cannot be relied upon like it could be in the past; too many low quality backlinks in a short period of time will damage your site’s reputation.
With the generalities of Panda and Penguin covered, we’ll now look at three of the most important rules that you’ll need to consider when gaining PageRank on Google’s updated algorithms.
1. Avoid Over-optimization
There are numerous practices that can be used to influence, and even control, Google’s intention of displaying organic SERP ranking (we’ve already talked about backlinks). Basically, anything you do to influence the algorithm, and not the user, is over-optimization. Poor-quality links that lead back to your domain, for instance, are now considered to be webspam. Panda and Penguin continue to be updated because Google wants to stop sites that actively manipulate their SERPs with these now condemned practices. In effect, websites that appear to be overly-optimized are going to bring up red flags with Google’s watchdogs, mainly because there are now fewer legit ways to climb Google’s SERPs (hint: content helps– more on this a little later).
2. Visitor Involvement is Crucial
Because bounce rates and CTR heavily influence PageRank, it’s important to keep your visitors engaged when they’re on your site. You don’t want your visitors to leave straight away once they’ve landed because this will drop your ranking on SERPs considerably. In order to keep visitors on your page, and coming back for more, you need to “add value.” An overused term perhaps, but there’re no cutting corners here – adding value means creating new, fresh, organic content. And speaking of which…
3. Content Matters Most
The idea of quality content has been hinted at throughout this post already, but that’s because we really cannot over-emphasise the importance of it. Content content content! Truly, because of the changes that both Panda and Penguin have implemented, this is the only way to get to the top of Google’s SERPs, and stay there. Thus, moving forward with your site’s content, you must always remember to focus on what will attract your visitors the most, because Google wants nothing more than for its users to find what they’re looking for. Case in point; if your visitors are happy, Google will be happy.