SEO Tips for Google's New ‘Penguin’ Algorithm
To beat web "spam," Google continues to change the rules and algorithms on how consumers find websites and products through its search engine. With the latest algorithm debuting on April 24, "Google Penguin," many online retailers are scratching their heads as they find their website traffic has slowed or come to a complete stop. Unfortunately, their poor page ranking in Google is the result of being penalized for search engine optimization practices in use for over the past 10 years.
However, before we go any further, let's look at the main purpose of search engines. They exist to search the text found on website homepages, product pages, etc. as opposed to graphics and images embedded on a site. Written content lets the search engine "spiders" know what your website is all about. Based on keywords used in the text, they decipher if your website is about scented candles, handmade woven rugs or if you're in the pharmaceutical industry. If the content is written clearly and is of high quality, consumers will be able to find your site and products when they search via applicable keywords.
With the new Google algorithms in place, large and small businesses alike are affected. As the clear leader in online searches — according to Todd Bailey, search engine expert and vice president of marketing at WebiMax, Google has 66 percent of the market share for the online search industry — when Google makes a change it's a big deal. Webmasters, SEO experts and businesses have been using tactics such as paid links, content article spinning and keyword stuffing for years. These tactics are now viewed as search engine "tricks," designed to increase the page ranking of a website. Many online retailers are now feeling the sting of lost sales from these practices.
What if you didn't resort to any of these SEO techniques and your web traffic has still come to a crawl? It could be the result of low quality or "duplicate" content on your site. Since all online retailers sell product, you must create original product descriptions and not copy/paste a stock description from a manufacturer's site. Google views this practice as duplicate content and may lower page rankings on your site. On the other hand, sites that have high-quality content, including proper grammar and spelling, and useful, clear information, are rewarded. Retailers who have copied manufacturer product descriptions to use as their own should rewrite those descriptions or risk losing business.