Some businesses, of course, are devastated to find that they are suddenly losing traffic they have been counting on for years. Others, suddenly seeing their competitors fade away in the search rankings, feel like the holidays have come early. And of course, for those of us in the search engine optimization and Internet marketing industry, there is the process of evaluating the changes and adjusting our clients’ websites accordingly.
One thing we all have in common, though, is that we are continually forced to think about the next algorithm update, and what it might bring. These changes aren't a complete mystery, however, since Google tends to make their overall goals and intentions very clear.
With that in mind, if you're interested in protecting your site from future Google algorithm changes, here are seven steps to take right away:
1. Lose any copied or scraped content. The world's largest search engine has made it very clear that they don't want you to have anything on your site that either doesn't belong to you, or very closely resembles what can be found on another site.
2. Remove or disavow harmful links. There was a time to post search engine rankings by gaining lots of cheap inbound links and taking advantage of anchored keywords. Now, though, those strategies do more harm than good.
3. Find the right keyword balance. Since the Panda and Penguin updates, having too many keywords on your website can be more dangerous than having too few. Make sure that important words and phrases are present, but use them naturally and don't overdo it.
4. Opt for a simpler navigation structure. Google is crawling sites deeper, making sure that searchers find a good usability experience along with fresh content. If parts of your site aren’t easy to find or access, your search rankings will suffer.
5. Make your website responsive. Because so many web searchers are using mobile devices (some estimates say more than half of Internet users are on smartphones and tablets), you could lose traffic if your site isn't responsive and accessible to everyone.
6. Give customers a reason to hang out. New evidence suggests that Google is paying attention to searcher behavior when determining rankings. In other words, the more time people spend on your site, the more valuable Google decides it must be, so give visitors a reason to stay.
7. Update your content frequently. Google doesn't just want more content, but also more current content. Keep your site up to date with frequent revisions, new pages, and regular blog posts.
Will your business website be ready when the next Google algorithm change comes around? If you aren't sure, now is the perfect time to call or email our office and set up a free consultation.