April marked a huge month for changes in Google and the way it returns search results. A recorded 52 updates to Google's algorithm were made during this time marking the biggest shake-up in SEO's history.
The two largest updates were code-named 'Panda' and 'Penguin', and mainly target web spam, low quality and over-optimised sites. These updates were both adjustments to automatic filters, not manual penalties, and therefore they disrupted a lot of site rankings both fairly and unfairly.
Google makes these changes in an effort clean up their search results to give their users the best experience. It is trying to reduce the amount of low quality sites reaching the top rankings, but in the process some good sites can be affected.
Being a 'high quality' site to Google means being an authority in your niche, having a website full of rich content and providing a high level of user experience.
Backlinks from other sources on the internet play a major part in Google determining the authority of a website and where it should be ranked.
As a result of April's changes sites that were intentionally involved in bad 'link neighbourhoods', using manipulative linking techniques or violating Google's guidelines lost their authority and dropped significantly in the search results, and rightly so.
Unfortunately some legitimate sites were also hit as collateral damage. This is not Google's aim but it is increasingly hard for Google's automated algorithms to distinguish between a real website and a spam one, especially when spammers use many of the same techniques the rest of us do.
Choc Chip remains dedicated to staying updated on Google's guidelines and continuing our work to increase client sites in Search Engine rankings wherever possible, using only legitimate, ethical, 'white-hat' techniques.
Most of our client sites remained unaffected by these updates, showing that our ethical standing in SEO is rewarded by Google. For the small number of client sites that lost positions in April, we are working hard to determine the reasons and to rectify as soon as possible.
Given that over 90% of our client sites were unaffected by the updates, we can proudly say that our SEO is of high standard and that the individual link profiles of the affected sites might have been filtered in previous or unintentional SEO techniques.
As always with Google, time is required to see rectifications and recoveries, and no-one knows exactly how things will pan out. But the best strategy is to follow Google's own guidelines and only use ethical SEO techniques.
For more information or to see how we can help your website appear better in Google, please contact us.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter for useful advice and news from the web.