Google has constantly changed algorithms in an endeavour to make search relevant and useful to users. Content has always been, and will continue to be, the king of online search. Many websites have been deemed spam or removed from the search index altogether due to the various updates launched in the recent years. The last has been the Penguin 2.0 which slashed websites brutally that over-optimized websites or used under-handed techniques to gain the search engines’ attention. The update, fondly called the ‘Webspam update’, has successfully segregated sites with low quality backlinks and anchor text that reeks of optimization to a large extent. You can check Complete History of Google Algorithm Updates on Moz.
To understand where Google is headed, webmasters need to be aware of what has been targeted with the current update:
* Backlinks were once the sole objective of webmasters looking to increase search engine traffic. However, the Penguin 2.0 has decreased rankings of those sites harbouring backlinks laced with spam.
* Anchor texts that are precise match of the title of the website were heavily scrutinised and ranked low.
* Any anchor text that was considerably optimized were also slaughtered by the latest algorithm changes.
* Paid and irrelevant links hold no importance whatsoever. Google can now catch a whiff of a paid link or one that is completely out of context with regards to your site’s content.
The likely changes Google is itching to make
Speculation is rife on various websites about the foreseeable changes in the future. While there is no certainty on Google’s next move, the following are seen as some likely changes you can expect:
* Optimizing anchor texts is seen as a big no-no by many SEO experts. It is essential to remove any and all anchor text from your website.
* Backlinks from low quality sites are no longer fine as Google will penalize such sites in the future. Ensure that all backlinks to your website have a high domain authority level in order to avoid being marked as spam.
* Guest blogging networks, once the holy grail of increasing search engine traffic, is now a dead end to improving website rank. Google intends to get rid of all websites that host guest bloggers.
Changes you can make
As scary as it may seem, it is important to salvage the situation and make the most of the foreseeable changes now by making alterations to your website. Some of the below changes can help you in the long-run:
* Links from all guest blogging networks must be deleted now. In case you are unable to do so, contact the site owner and ask them to remove it pronto.
* Low quality backlinks, off-site topics, irrelevant links to your site must be removed immediately. Only and only keep high quality backlinks from reputable website. It is essential to be strict even if it seems like the paid site might be enhancing your current ranking.
* Anchor texts that are highly optimized or those which are a precise match to the site’s title need to be eliminated.
* Any guest post that you have linked to your site must be un-linked now.
* Ensure that any link to your site is relevant and contains useful content. Google plans to weigh heavily on any and all linking, so it is essential to be prepared.
For those website owners who think they can escape being gobbled by the Penguin 3.0 will have a heavy price to pay in the future. It is imperative that you constantly conduct a website audit in order to measure the health of your site. There are many SEO companies and tools available online that can predict the rank of your website in the future. Act now and clean up your site before it is too late.