The latest from Google’s camp on web spam is going to change a few things for the average small business. Apart from cost considerations the update hits small businesses where it hurts most – rank. Recovering from lost positions on the SERP is easier said than done and even the best are working their way up slowly but assuredly towards a better future.
Later in this article we discuss the best practices to avoid being penalized by Google. But first:
What Happened on April 24th, 2012
In its effort to do away with web spam and low quality content, Google had recently announced two of its most influential algorithm changes that have left small and medium sized businesses reeling under its effect. The official release literature said only 3.1% of the total English language searches would be affected, but the results are out for everyone to see. From the smallest to the largest, most websites came under attack. As of 26th May, 2012 a positive vibe has been set off by websites recovering from the clampdown that came into effect late in April. The poster boy for Google, Matt Cutts announced about the first update to its Penguin algorithm, following which reports of recovery have been made.
A web design agency is expected to be involved in the process of aiding those who had a bitter time bidding Penguin to pass over. As we see stricken websites getting their spots back on the search engine results page, we discuss how Penguin can affect your website, we also explain what you need to be doing in the days to come to recover from Google Penguin.
Which websites got affected?
Websites that have over-the-top optimization in place will almost certainly be affected by Google Penguin. Under the new rule many things, which once were in the good books of search engines, are now consider worthy of being fried to obscurity. Among them are paid links, spam article syndicating, and creating sub-standard content with more emphasis on keywords rather than on the overall usability and value of the content.
Google now considers the profile of your incoming links. Remove links that come from sub-domains or from websites owned by you. Several websites have suffered the wrath of the algorithm for no apparent mistakes. One example of such mistakes is the hyphenated keyword URLs. Some overzealous SEO agencies suggest some of the world’s tackiest website addresses (such as web-design-expert.com) in order to score big on the SERP, but instead they end up penalizing the website for spam!
What needs to be done?
1. Approach a web design agency that does not overdo keywords
2. Ask your professional web design company to remove links from spammy blogrolls
3. Get better quality links to your website
4. Get the content written by someone who is concerned about giving a good experience to the reader (and hence search engines) rather than paying homage to keywords after every 100 words.
The Web Design Agency Angle on the Plight of Small Businesses
The effects or the causes of being penalized by Google do not end with SEO or marketing overdose. Website design agencies are to blame too. When a website is over-optimized for fast loading, or has one webpage too many, it is more likely to be targeted by the algorithm.
Partner with a professional web design company that refrains from gray or black hat techniques. Any attempt at taking a shortcut to the top of the result page will invite ill fate. The advice coming out of expert camps at the moment is to:
1. Create user-friendly URLs
One sign of a good web design agency is in the URL suggestions they provide. Impress the need of a friendly address because this is where you can be penalized for being callous about the friendliness of your website.
2. Proper alt-tags for Images
This is where even a professional web design company can make mistakes. Alt tags to images are very important and search engines give due consideration to the images with proper tags. Search engines do not yet see images; they depend heavily on the tags to identify good content and relevant images.
3. Reduce Use of Non-Indexable Elements
Scripts such as AJAX are cannot be indexed and hence it should be kept at a minimum. There is hardly any SEO-incentive for using non-indexable scripting languages. In the same way, flash content does not get indexed and it burdens the page thereby increasing the load time.
4. Rectify Broken Links
Broken links draw the juice out of a website’s rank. More broken links equals to lower ranks. Hence eliminate them or redirect the link to someplace appropriate using 301 redirects.
In case, none of the above methods work, a professional web design company can move the entire site to a new domain and start afresh!