Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Official Google information: 10 recent algorithm changes

Last week, Google's Matt Cutts published a list of 10 recent ranking algorithm changes in an official Google blog. Do these changes affect your website rankings? Do you have to adjust your web pages for the new algorithm?

What is new in Google's ranking algorithm?
Here's the official list:
    1. For queries in languages where limited web content is available (for example Hind or Icelandic), Google will translate relevant English web pages and display the translated titles directly below the English titles in the search results.
    2. The snippets on the search result page now show more page content and less header/menu content.
    3. Google finds that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so they are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content.
    4. Autocomplete predictions in Russian have been improved.
    5. People who are searching for software applications will see more rich snippets, like cost and user reviews, within their search results.
    6. Google retired a signal in Image Search related to images that had references from multiple documents on the web.
    7. Some queries get fresher results. This change impacts around 6-10% of search results to a noticeable degree and better determines the appropriate level of freshness for a given query.
    8. Google adjusted how they attempt to determine which pages are official. This will tend to rank official websites even higher on Google's result page.
    9. Date-restricted queries have been improved to ensure that users get the results that are most relevant for the date range that they specify.
    10. Autocomplete predictions for Hebrew, Russian and Arabic have been improved.
    Matt Cutts does not go into detail. The most important change seems to be that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant as before. This probably affects the texts in your website navigation most. If the navigation text was "green widgets" before, this would give the linked page a boost for the term "green widgets". Matt Cutts says that this has changed.
How do you have to change your web pages?
Google says that you shouldn't focus on the ranking factors above:
"Before you go wild tuning your anchor text or thinking about your web presence for Icelandic users, please remember that this is only a sampling of the hundreds of changes we make to our search algorithms in a given year, and even these changes may not work precisely as you’d imagine."
Google uses many different elements to specify the position of your web pages on the search result pages. The Top 10 Optimizer analyzes all important elements that determine the position of your web pages and it also tells you how to adjust your pages so that they get the best possible rankings.
Google is continually improving the ranking algorithms. If you want to keep your rankings, and if you want to get better rankings, regularly check your web pages to make sure that they are compliant to Google's latest ranking algorithm.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Has your website been penalized by Google? Here's what you can do

Since Google's latest ranking algorithm, the search engine rankings of many websites are worse than before. If your rankings dropped, your website might have been penalized by Google. This article helps you to recover from such a situation.
Step 1: check if your website has been penalized
A sudden ranking drop doesn't necessarily mean that your website has been penalized. It might be that your competitors now have better backlinks or that their websites get more mentions on social media sites.
Some of your most important backlinks might have been removed by the linking site or your website simply does not meet Google's current requirements.
For that reason, it is important to check if Google still lists your website. Search Google for "" and "". If you don't get any results, then it's likely that your website has been penalized.
Step 2: don't panic and try to find the reason for the penalty
Before you contact Google, you should try to find the reason for the penalty. There are several things that Google does not like:
  • You sold links on your website: if you sell links on your website for SEO purposes and if it is obvious that you're selling links, this might get you in trouble. Use the rel="nofollow" attribute if you sell links.
  • You used paid links to promote your website: if Google is sure that you purchased links to improve your Google rankings, they might double-check your site. Remove the paid links.
  • Fully automated backlink systems: if you participate in a fully automated backlink scheme, it is almost sure that Google will penalize your website. Remove the automated linking scripts from your web pages.
  • You use on-page spam techniques such as hidden text, keyword stuffing, sneaky redirects or cloaking.
Step 3: remove the spammy elements and optimize your web pages
Before you file a reconsideration request, you must make sure that your website doesn't contain any spammy elements. Check step 2 and remove anything that could be spammy from your web pages.
Then optimize your web pages to make sure that they offer everything that Google needs to give your website high rankings for the right keywords.
When you have done that, you can file a reconsideration request.
Google continually updates the ranking algorithm. All spam techniques on your web pages will be discovered sooner or later. If you want to get lasting rankings in Google's top 10 results, use white-hat SEO techniques that are approved by Google.
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