August 30, 2012 - Comments Off on August Search roundup

August Search roundup

It’s been a pretty exciting few months in the world of SEO – July saw the historical link warning emails sent by Google and this month, we’ve seen the return of algorithm updates. Did you know that there were a whopping 86 changes made to Google’s algorithm in June and July? Certainly enough to keep us on our toes!

P-p-p-pick up a Penguin

August started with a comment from a Google bod that grabbed the attention of the entire SEO sphere. Often, scaremongering and SEO go hand in hand – some people love nothing more than predicting the end of SEO, others can think of no better way of spending a weekend than developing questionable theories on the intricacies of the Google Algorithm. However, when Matt Cutts – Head of Google’s Webspam Team and SEO Super Celeb – answered some questions on the Penguin update at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Francisco on the 13th August, our hearts skipped a beat.

One of his comments created a shockwave that rippled around the web:

“You don’t want the next Penguin update…our engineers have been working hard…”

During the barrage of questions that followed the conference, Cutts made it clear that Penguin will have further updates throughout the year. And indeed, on the 16th August there was a ranking reshuffle across the pond. Luckily for us in the UK, this appeared to be concentrated in the US and we haven’t seen any fluctuations in the UK search results – our US friends seem to get the brunt of algorithm testing. However, it’s clear that something’s stirring in the water and the next Penguin update is imminent. It’s just a waiting game now as to when this update will be rolled out.

What are Bloom doing about it?

Here at Bloom we have a policy of not buying links, which has always held our rankings in a secure position. However, there are still steps that we have put into place to ensure that our clients aren’t affected by the update. These include:

  • Regularly downloading, categorising, analysing and monitoring all backlink profiles to identify old links that we can purge.
  • Quality assuring links at all levels to balance the profile – to ensure that we are not over optimising and pushing too many signals on one specific area.
  • Balancing and diversifying anchor text profiles for the links that we acquire.
  • Identifying links that have a potentially negative or neutral impact and removing them.

Search Update Highlights: Panda, coffins , local search and copyright infringement

This month has also seen two further updates to the Panda algorithm (GreenLandill and #82353), which aim to reward high-quality sites over fraudulent ones – scraper sites, dodgy affiliate sites or sites who are part of larger spam networks. What can we learn from this? Content really is still king and this cements the need for user-centred design in all aspects of on-site SEO.

The final nail in the keyword stuffed coffin has been hammered in with update #81933, project codename ‘Synonym’. This update shows that contextually relevant keyphrases are essential for optimised content and Google is now developing the way that they rank this content accordingly.

Meanwhile, updates #82699 and #83051 focus on local search improvements. Local business results are integral to any search campaign where the search query is relevant. We’re currently conducting some research into this, the results of which I’ll bring to you in a blog over the coming weeks.

And finally, Google launched an update this month to detect sites that are accused of copyright infringement. In addition to the high-profile case in the news recently concerning file-sharing sites being blocked by internet providers, Google is now looking into the number of valid copyright removal notices it receives for sites and applying penalties as appropriate. On-going, this should make things easier for addressing scraper sites that copy content and other site assets.

A final word

It’s certainly been a busy one this month. With the looming Penguin updates and the amazing number of search updates released over the last quarter, we’re keeping a close eye on any changes to the algorithm and rankings to ensure that we stay ahead of the game.