Specialists in the search industry have a love/hate relationship with Google. Web search has changed a lot in the past year or two, especially since the infamous Penguin and Panda algorithm updates of 2012. The Google Venice update, which rolled out in February 2012, brought a dramatic change to how search results are presented to users, emphasizing localized results that either helped or hurt businesses across the world. More recently, in May 2013, Penguin 2.0 waddled out of Google HQ and had a massive impact on web traffic. We now also have to deal with continuous Panda updates, now quietly released without a peep from Google, and there are even rumored stealth updates that strike silently and shake up the internet with each iteration. We’re always on edge when the latest signs emerge that Google’s up to something again.
When discussing SEO survival with colleagues and friends, I often make the analogy that it’s a lot like working on a semi-active volcano. Most of the time, you’re able to do your thing and grow your websites’ traffic without interference, but every once in a while, that volcano erupts, and as a result, you can get burned.
We know these changes are ultimately for a good cause. Google, for the most part, does what Google does to diminish spam and poor content on the internet, which is in fact a very good thing. So how does one deal with all that Google puts us through? How do you keep calm and carry on when it often seems like the sky is falling directly on you?
Stay Informed and Be Willing to Change
Go with what works and ditch what doesn’t. When you stumble upon something that works, it’s easy to bunker down and continue on that path — until something obviously goes wrong that is. There’s no shame in encountering an obstacle, but stubbornly sticking to the same techniques that no longer work will only hurt you. Look at these Google Updates as an opportunity to up your game and improve your set of tools and skills as an SEO Specialist.
When you do find that your traffic is dropping, and you’re just not ranking for those keywords like you used to, it’s a good idea to climb out of your bubble and get an outside view of the situation. To begin, you need look no further than Google itself. Enter a query like “penguin recovery” and go. Be sure to use your Search tools and filter results that were indexed in the last week or month for the most current information.
We also recommend regularly tuning in to the Moz Blog for answers and advice. Do yourself a favor and become a regular viewer of the site’s Whiteboard Friday segments. Also, speaking of videos, I highly recommend YouTube. You’ll find a wealth of content that offers excellent advice for SEO survival and recovery. I find that the video format makes for a great way to digest what can otherwise be dense or daunting material.
Once you feel you have the gist of what needs to be done to get your site(s) ranking again, it’s time to put it all into practice. If you’re a DIY SEO, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. We’re all in this together, and you can only benefit from having someone who is experienced in SEO surival and recovery help you get back on track.
If you have any questions regarding Penguin recovery or how to take your SEO to the next level, feel free to leave a comment below.