Four reasons you shouldn’t fear Google’s Penguin, Panda or Pirate Algorithm updates
Every single time that Google announces that they will be instigating a refresh of one of their zoologically named algorithms – Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird – the digital landscape blows up, as webmasters across the globe hit the panic button and start to question the entire future of their businesses. Suddenly, discussion forums are more alive than ever, full of desperate individuals who are seeking to learn the techniques which will prevent them from being screwed, and the requirements they will need to meet in order to protect their investments. And the entire time this is going on, I always sit and wonder: “Why exactly is such a frenzied furore being stirred up when there should be no real reason why legitimate and quality businessmen should ever have to worry about the refreshes?”
For Panda and Penguin 1.0 aside, the algorithm updates are simply a refresh or an annual check-up that webmasters are adhering to the guidelines and regulations they are expected to abide by, and do not actually change all that very much about the manner in which site owners should design their optimised strategies. The reality is that if you were doing the right things when the previous update took place, then you are probably doing the right thing now – providing that your success is not based on black-hat techniques and upholds the virtues of providing quality and relevant material to your audience on a consistent basis.
Yes, there are some people who manage to dodge the proverbial bullet one year and are justifiably apprehensive that they won’t get so lucky the next. If you fall into this category, then I will unfortunately have to exclude you from my argument that most businesses should not fear these updates because you are most certainly in the firing line for being hit. However, for the majority of company’s who uphold white-hat values and at least attempt to provide value for their audiences, I believe the updates do very little other than to remind you of your obligation to uphold the code and continue to abide by it in order to achieve success in the future. Why? I’ll explain.
Google updates happen all the time…and always will
According to recent statistical disclosures from Moz, Google modifies and updates its algorithm between 500 and 600 times every year. This is far higher than the number of updates that are publically revealed and confirmed by the search engine giant, clearly illustrating that your site is at risk of receiving a penalty all-year-round, rather than solely round the times that the larger updates occur. As such, updates such as the latest Penguin 3.0 or Panda 4.1 serve more as a reminder to webmasters that they should be continually improving the quality of their sites and helping Google to deliver superior quality search results to their users, rather than functioning as the judgement day in which members of the marketing community have their fates decided.
So what can we take from all this? Fundamentally, you should remember that worrying about the algorithm updates is frivolous because your fate would most likely already have been decided by unconfirmed refreshes earlier on in the year. The key to making sure your site is not at risk of being hit is to concentrate on delivering quality and value to your user’s all-year-round, thus ensuring that your site traffic levels remain consistently high and your rankings soar up in the most organic way possible. By optimising your site, you are optimising Google’s search engine, and this is an occurrence which Google will reward you heavily for – particularly when it comes to avoiding being hit by one of their penalties.
Study Google’s guidelines, and the key to survival is yours
Google have made their long-term objectives crystal clear and expect webmasters to do their utmost best in order to help them achieve it. Your key to survival is thus very simple; help Google achieve their objective and you’ll never be at risk of being penalised by them. If you however take shortcuts and are adept at getting to the top of their search engine rapidly, then you are simply hedging your bets on a technique that will eventually be identified, and your company’s online presence destroyed with it.
Understanding that Google’s mission is to deliver the most precise and highest quality results to their users will put you in a strong position to safeguard your site because it gives you a clear idea of what to do in order to keep them happy – deserve your position on their search rankings. So next time you or one of your policymakers is considering how you are going to outsmart and run rings round circles, instead consider how you will go about ensuring that your site is relevant for the people who are searching for your industry keyword terms and helping Google to achieve their aim of delivering the best possible results for their audiences.
Read the “10 things we know to be true” guide and they’ll be no need to fear
If you haven’t read this list about Google’s philosophy, then you are missing out on understanding exactly what it is that they expect from their marketing businesses. In particular, the first identification on the list states: “Focus on the user and all else will follow”. Digesting this gives you a clear idea of what you should be incorporating into your marketing strategy to achieve success; optimise the user experience of your material and site pages with valuable content that actually benefits them. By adhering to this, all the positive metric achievements will follow (like search rankings, traffic, branding and conversions). There is no need to fear the algorithm updates because the contents of this list should form the basis of your strategy all-year-long, and providing you focus on delivering value to the user, you should be fine when it comes round to examination from the latest refresh.
As it has been shown, understanding your own role in Google’s broader mission is the key to finding mental salvation round the time of their algorithm updates across the year. You should remember that the values of quality and relevancy should be governing your strategy at all times, and provided that you focus on creating material for your users which upholds these doctrines, you will find yourself in Google’s good graces and rising up the rankings. The fact that hidden updates happen all the time concretise this notion; black-hatting your way to the top might be great for short-term gain but the fundamentals of achieving long-term success and top ranking positions on Google is simply to adhere to the fundamentals they have laid out time and time again over the past decade.