Panda 4.0 Algorithm

The Return of Google Panda (4.0)!

Google’s very own Matt Cutts announced on his Twitter feed on Tuesday that they will be rolling out the latest version of their Panda Algorithm over the coming days.

Google Panda 4.0 confirmed

Now, anyone who’s been keeping an eye out for this kind of thing will be aware that Google had previously announced that we would no longer be updated when they tweaked the Panda algorithm, purely because they would be doing it so frequently (many suspect weekly). So what does this mean? It means Panda 4.0 is a big one.

For Google to bother announcing it, they must’ve known that it would cause very noticeable, obvious disturbances in the SERPS – and that they may as well let us know first, rather than just be subject to a torrent of questions as a result of the effects (which was always going to be an inevitability!).

Mozcast Panda 4.0

Moz.com confirmed this disturbance, as their ‘mozcast‘ (like a weather forecast which monitors the movements in ranking positions!) recorded the highest levels of movement (turbulence) of the year so far! Unlike Mr Cutts announcement however, the algorithm shift was recorded not on Tuesday, but instead, on Monday. But better late than never Matt!

So what does this mean, who, how and what has been effected?

As we know, Panda – as an algorithm – was originally tasked to prevent website with poor quality content ranking well. So, knowing that, we should be seeing signs along a similar path…

One of the first and largest casualties of this update so far is the auction giant; eBay. It is not clear why, but average rankings from their SERPs have fallen , along with overall presence falling from the 6th best online presence of any company in the US, to a worrying 25th. The ‘why’ for this is not conclusive, but educated guesses are being made with reasons ranging from the site structure (use of sub-domains), to duplicate content and low content pages, all of which being no more than calculated guesses… In truth, only time will tell as the experts begin to gather more data and watch as other sites follow suit – at present, there’s just not enough data to draw upon.

But remember, where there’s losers, there will be winners – so watch this space, and keep plodding away with your best practice techniques! Good luck!

Facebook Algorithm Update

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The new Facebook Algorithm Update is here, so what of it?

Well – there’s a few implications here, under the guise of improving user experience (apparently), for individual users. For businesses however, it’s a very, very different story.

So currently you can supposedly advertise for free to your ‘likers’ on Facebook, well not for too much longer if you don’t treat them right! Facebook is penalising businesses who misuse their followers to just ‘viralize’ the content that they push out. So from now, there’s a few things you have to look out for before engaging with your current audience of ‘likers’.

Firstly, using the terms ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘share’ are now very big no-no’s. Facebook immediately senses this as spam and seeks to penalise the business pages that incorporate these terms into your statuses – a real pity if you just happen to ‘like the weather today’…! You’ll have to keep that to yourself or get your thesaurus out!

Secondly, you will be penalised if you overuse a link (without interaction), or if it’s deemed irrelevant to the content provided with it. So, if you keep linking to your website’s homepage, we’d suggest you stop – it’s good when it’s relevant, when it’s not, it may just be damaging to your potential future reach. Make sure you are using relevant keywords off of that page in your status too, that way the damage will be minimised as it will at least look relevant! Unfortunately, the same goes for photos. Keep reusing a good snap and Facebook will reduce it’s effectiveness – it likes to keep things fresh!

So the trick now is to create real engaging, useful, share-able, unique content without implying in any way that it should be interacted with(!), whilst of course somehow, encouraging engagement!

Good luck! You’re going to have to get your thinking caps on now!!

Now Certified with ‘Carbon Smart’!

We’ve received the great news that following our work to improve our carbon efficiency as a company, we have been accredited and certified as a Blue Standard company by Carbon Smart.

We are proud to display our commitments to the environment and would encourage all businesses, small or large to get involved in the scheme!

Aim High SEO Certificate 2014

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Now we’ve just got to keep working hard to improve our efficiency and to re-evaluate our efforts going forward! Wish us luck!!!

Carbon Smart!

We are proud to announce that we are well on our way to achieving the ‘Blue’ certification in the government-led ‘Carbon-Smart’ scheme.

After attending a course commissioned by Winchester County Council, and discussing aims and objectives on how we can improve our efficiency and carbon usage, we have been provisionally granted ‘Blue’ certification, and upon completion of our revised Environmental Policy, should achieve full certification. It’s a great course and well recommended, all business large and small should get involved if they can, with an aim to becoming more environmentally friendly!

Congratulations!

Just a quick note of congratulations to our Sales and Analytics Manager, Daniel Boardman, who proposed to his new fiancé Rebeccah over the Christmas period!

We wish them the best of luck in the future and hope everything goes well with planning the big day!

Congratulations to the both of you, we all at Aim High SEO wish you many years of happiness!

 

Busy, busy, busy – Why sharing is important…

Okay, we all get caught up in the moment, and here at Aim High we are as guilty of it as anyone else!

When juggling between a pre-existing client list, bringing new clients into your business, keeping on top of industry specific changes and the million and one other things you find yourselves dealing with during the course of the week, it can be extremely difficult to relay this back to your stakeholders.

You may be exceptionally busy, spinning plates in every direction imaginable, but to the unknowing outside world it appears quiet, far too quiet. This is why keeping an ongoing outward flow of information from your company is vitally important. It reinforces on a branding level what your company is going through during the weeks, and sharing the ups and downs and newsworthy events with the people who are interested means a great deal to all involved.

Not only from the branding perspective, of actually looking busy, but the search engines notice this too. Google + co are always asking, “how can an unchanged, inactive website be as relevant now as it was when it was last changed?” – a question that has a simple answer in it’s eyes – it can’t be. Making sure your website is representative of what is happening in your business is vitally important to the search engines too.

So in short – KEEP UPDATING!!

This is not just your blog or news posts, but your services, products and any other static page on site. Back this up with consistent Social Media updates and you’ll be golden!

 

Hummingbird vs Panda and Penguin…

Okay, so we’re all familiar with Google’s sudden and violent changes in direction when it comes to their algorithms… Whether you believe it’s down to the pursuit of providing superior content for end users or for lining their own pockets, the truth it, they have a monopoly over search at the moment, and they don’t need to explain anything to us.

Hummingbird

So, what is ‘Hummingbird’? It’s actually the name given to the largest algorithm change that anyone has seen over the past 12 years, this has slowly been introduced in stages over the previous 12 months and is inclusive of the well documented ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’. Google aimed to provide a ‘better experience’ for users, and to be able to provide results on more complex queries, such as questions and full sentences, rather than individual words. So now Google should be better equipped to provide accurate results to searches such as “Please find me a good Italian restaurant in Winchester” than it once was – This is important as more people are using voice controlled programs such as Apple’s Siri to conduct Google searches. So, that’s positive right? Well yes – it should be!

But as they’ve given with one hand they’ve taken with the other, and by restricting all keyword data from webmasters then site owners can no longer find out how people have searched to find their site. This https: security means that Google now holds all the cards. How can a developer produce a better site that is more responsive to what people want if site owners cannot see the keyword results to work out what is now considered as ‘Good content’? It certainly makes things more difficult…

So why this final change? The (Keyword Not Found) on everyone’s Google Analytics codes was designed to push more webmasters and marketers towards Google’s Pay Per Click campaigns… In a desperate attempt to keep up with their audience and understand their actions. So this in itself raises the very question of ethics, with one hand they are encouraging great content for users, whilst on the other they are making it more difficult for webmasters to provide it without paying for the information necessary? Doesn’t quite feel right, especially as many site owners would consider that data to be theirs, as it’s information searched by their customers, looking for their site…

KEYWORD NOT PROVIDED! Uh oh…

We know Google are forever trying to get people to use their ‘Pay Per Click’ (PPC) advertising methods, and they have introduced their latest installment in a bid to try and force that forward even harder onto those of us trying to improve our web presence.

If you have logged into your Google Analytics within the last 24 hours or so you may notice the bulk of your search queries coming via the term ‘Not Provided’ – this means Google is withholding the data from view. So even though someone typed in something relevant to your site, you can no longer tell what they searched for. Of course, any traffic that comes via Google’s own PPC will still show in the reports, and so that is how they are trying to push users in that direction. It’s a method that doesn’t affect the search results, just the analytics behind it.

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So do not fear, although Google will mask the keyword terms (reports are now showing anywhere up to 90% of Organic Traffic via ‘Not Provided’) your keywords will still work as usual and you will get found in the same way as before… It just makes the reporting a little more difficult in the mean time!

Watch this space, as Google changes, so does the world of Online Marketing – and where there’s an action, there’s a reaction!

How ‘Trust’ is key to SEO

It’s true, and so very important.

SEO has been plagued for years with ‘Cowboys’. Companies and individuals who promise the world, making exuberant claims with outlandish guarantees. Needless to say, very often these companies then fall short of the bar they set themselves.

The thing about SEO nowadays, with Google so very much in control of a monopoly on Search Engines, that it’s impossible to predict the direction that it will take. One change in the algorithm could turn the SERPS on its head, and no one could have had the foresight to not only predict it, but to play to it. This is why the world of SEO is now very different to what it was. Rather than relying on ticking the box with Google, you have to be able to drum up traffic from every corner of the internet to protect your web presence. Using Social Media, Press Releases, and providing content are all methods that should be adopted to ensure that you are as ‘safe’ as you can be.

Take what you hear with a pinch of salt – if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. There is no ‘quick fix’ anymore. A comprehensive, well rounded, well executed strategy is the only solution to building your web presence nowadays. Someone who promises a ‘Guaranteed position in Google in X amount of time‘ doesn’t know the first thing about Google…so walk away. Quickly.

So, just as Google has to try and ascertain which sites to rank based on trust of their authority on the selected subjects, clients are left with the equally tough decision of choosing an SEO provider who will tell it to them as it is, someone they can trust.

If you need to develop your web presence then don’t be afraid to ask every question going. However, make sure you get answers that you’re happy with and that importantly you understand. Don’t let providers blind you with jargon or ‘technical speak’. It’s of no benefit to you unless you can translate what it means to your actual business. Remember, part of the SEO process is learning what you can do to help. If at any point you feel that things are getting out of control, take a step back and look at the facts, the black and white of it all. Remember, trust is the key! If a Cowboy company gets a-hold of your site, then you could find Google losing faith in it very quickly! There’s no such thing as short cuts anymore! Please do let us know if you’ve had any bad experiences, don’t be afraid to name and shame!

Another Google Update?

Yes, it’s that time again – Webmasters everywhere are watching their rankings and search traffic like a hawk as something in the world of Google is shifting.

An exciting time for SEO’s and companies involved in Online Marketing but a turbulent time for anyone who is relying highly on web traffic for their business. There are reports across Webmaster Tools and various other sites that traffic is plummeting for ‘ethical sites’ by up to 80% in some cases!

 

Online Marketing

At Aim High, we pride ourselves on our techniques.

So what does this mean for you?

Hold tight, and see whether this is something that’s going to stick – check your traffic and just keep an eye on it. Rumour has it at this stage that this update is ‘resurrecting brands’, which means that sites that haven’t been updated in a while may be resurfacing in the rankings. The true effects of this won’t be recognised or understood for days yet, if not weeks, but watch this space!

As an SEO that operates ‘White Hat’ techniques as a part of a comprehensive Online Marketing strategy, we’re eager to see how our sites are affected by this, there has also been talk of some sites rising in traffic so we’re keen to see which way our clients are affected. Generally, a Google update is good news for us! They are keen, as are we, to cut down on the effectiveness of spammy sites that give nothing to the end user. We value the quality that Google seeks for its users, so hold tight everyone – let’s see what happens!

You can read more on this at the SEO Round Table.