A simple business person’s Guide to Google’s Updates (Hummingbird, Penguin, Panda etc)

What do these changes mean to you?

A simple business person's Guide to Google's Updates (Hummingbird, Penguin, Panda etc)

A simple business person’s Guide to Google’s Updates (Hummingbird, Penguin, Panda etc)

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Google have been making a lot of changes to their search algorithms recently but what does it mean to the business person?

As a business person who is also involved with a website, you most likely will have heard of the Google algorithm updates that’s been happening over the past couple of years.

It’s even possible you’ve been affected by one of them with a loss of traffic to your website or even possibly a gain, depending on the particular SEO strategy you’ve been following.

It can be difficult to make sense of all the different advice offered

In my experience actually one of the biggest challenges facing the business person is being able to wade through all the different and often conflicting opinions and advice floating around, and try and make some kind of sensible decision of what’s best to do for your own website.

Simple non-technical Google Penguin Panda and Hummingbird guide

So I thought I’d write a very simple guide, that is not focused so much on the technical side of the updates (you can easily find plenty on this on the SEO forums) but just a very simple layperson’s guide to the whole topic, based on my own knowledge and experience.

Two main areas that are changing

In my view there are two main areas within these updates that Google is trying to change. One relates to the way websites have been manipulated in many and various ways but owners and SEO firms to try and gain an advantage and come in higher in Google. This relates to the on-page element of search engine optimisation and the techniques used range from simply ensuring relevant search terms are on the page right to the so called ‘black hat’ techniques that are totally against Google own search guidelines. The changes to combat this have been completed by Google under the Penguin/Panda updates.

The other area of changes comes from the more recent Google Hummingbird update, which is quite difference in nature than previous updates. Previous updates have been focused around the content on the web pages and issues relating to that content, Hummingbird is focused on trying to understand the meaning behind the words.

Google can understand questions asked

Having this higher level of insight should enable Google to gain a higher level of understanding of the more complex questions or sentences we might enter into a search engine. The same also goes for understanding speech, which is especially relevant to mobile search.

What changes will I need to make to my website to comply with the Google updates?

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There are two types of Google updates so this means there are two areas you need to focus on. One is any remaining issues with your website that may be affecting it with regard to the Penguin/Panda changes and the other is to consider how your webpages are getting message across. This means initially looking to see if you’ve actually been affected and then taking the necessary actions to fix things. If you have been affected the most likely sigh is a sudden and big drop in website traffic from Google.

Need to review the previous SEO work that has been done

The actions needed to fix things will depend on what caused the problem in the first place. If you’ve been doing your own SEO you should have some idea of the techniques used to optimise your site. If you’ve used an SEO firm and you think the problem might have been caused by the work the’ve done, it would be worth asking about the techniques they’ve employed to lift the site in Google.

To help you build you own knowledge on the Penguin/Panda changes we’ve written a number of Tips and Guides and are planning more in the future.

The Google Hummingbird update needs a different approach

As mentioned the Hummingbird update is different from previous updates in that it is focused on trying to understand the meaning behind to words and to offer more support to conversational search.

Google has said that website owners don’t need to do anything different following this update other than continue to follow their Webmaster Guidelines. This obviously makes sent but we think there are a few things worth bearing in mind when planning you SEO.

These could include:

  • Making sure your webpage content is focused around users needs and is tuned into their search terms. Being able to answer people’s questions is going to be much more important going forward
  • Ensure people can easily share your content using social buttons and other means as this can also help make the pages more popular as well as with SEO
  • Keep web page content fresh, up to date and relevant. This will help with driving people back to your site in a regular basis.

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