Photo by Jan Alvin Dimla
Whether you’re calling it panda or farmer when it comes to Google algorithm updates the only option is to comply. If Google says cracking down on spam content is a priority you need to make sure you not only have no spam content on your site but that you’re not relying on spam content for any of links (or at least no more links than you absolutely have to be). If your rankings are still struggling to recover from the recent round of algorithm updates here are a few things you might want to check.
Check your base statistics
We’ve already had several versions of the panda update and Google can release several algorithm updates each month, some are more noticeable than others but if you have noticed a fall in either positions or traffic the first thing you need to do is analyse your website statistics in your Analytics account. Look at which keywords were sending traffic through to your site that aren’t any more, look at how much traffic they were sending through and match them against your positions before and after you noticed the drop.
Look at your content
Now you know which keywords you need to concentrate on you can start looking at the most applicable landing pages. Google doesn’t always get it right so you need to make sure you’re optimizing the most applicable landing page for your key phrases, not necessarily the page that’s currently ranking, use this as a great opportunity to go back to basics and make sure the page is as well optimized both for the search engines and user experience as possible. Your onsite copy needs to be fresher than ever and completely original so take your time and make sure you’re really happy with what you’ve got. Always make sure you’re writing for the end user and not specifically for the search engines.
Look at where your links are coming from
There was a time when submitting your site to free directories was a great way to build back links and until a few years ago you could get great back links from article directories and this time last year spinning articles was an easy way to link build. SEO practice has adapted and good SEO’s have adapted to accommodate but that doesn’t mean those old links don’t still exist. If you were relying on too many links from sources like article spinning and content farms this could have well damaged your positions in the recent round of updates. You need to concentrate on building some high quality back links from trusted and relevant sites.
Now more than ever your site needs to be designed for the end user and userability has to be your first thought when it comes to ranking. You need to go back to your Google Analytics account as this is where you’ll find a highlight of any areas in your site that are falling down when it comes to user experience. Any pages that have an above average bounce rate or a below average time on site need to be worked on. Look at what you can do to keep your traffic on your site longer, or what you can do to increase conversion rates. Don’t forget to check your site speed too as this is going to damage the user experience too. These metrics are going to become more and more important within the Google algorithm.