Life in the World Wide Web was calm before these updates. So calm and peacefully just like before the storm. And then…these two updates detonate themselves. The impact on digital marketing was huge.

Don’t be fooled by those beautiful animals. They are mean and user friendly. As I see them, they are some kind of secret agents that intercept information from your site (the core of these updates is carefully being kept top secret). Google gives out some guidelines but never the core of these two algorithms.

But let’s talk about these updates step by step. Google’s main concern is the user experience. Google’s search engine strategy is mainly focused on the user. If the user is happy, finding quickly what he searched for, then he will continue searching on Google. So more companies will want to be advertised on and strategically build their digital marketing plan around Google, which leads to more money (dead simple).

The main purpose of these updates is to improve the experience of the user, by giving good rankings to high quality sites. Therefore, sites must deliver to users what they really want in order to be ranked nicely.

The main simple and general difference between these two updates is that the Panda update has mainly on-site penalties and Penguin update mainly off-site penalties.

Now let’s see more deeply what these updates are all about.

Panda Update

Panda update was first released on February 2011 and as we discussed before, boosted high quality sites on good search rankings. The Panda update was named after a Google engineer, Navneet Panda, who made breakthrough changes in their algorithms.

Panda’s main purpose was to penalize low quality websites. So if your website delivered content that was duplicate, contained staffed keywords, hidden text, thin content e.t.c probably isn’t ranking at all.

Now let’s see what really makes a great site that doesn’t get affected by Panda update:

• Great Design and User Experience.

Some questions you have to ask yourselves while optimizing your site are: Is my site user friendly? Is my site easily navigated by users? Do users find what they are searching for easily? Is my website easily being crawled by Google bot?

• Great Content.

Some questions that you have to ask yourselves while optimizing your content are: Is my content useful for users? Is my content interesting for users? Is my content unique? And in my opinion the most important question, will users want to share my content, giving me plenty of natural links?

If you optimize these factors then your metrics will be improved (bounce rate, time spend on site, CTR, e.t.c). If you improve your metrics then your website will be rewarded with higher rankings.

Penguin update

Penguin update was first released on April 2012. Penguin is not designed to improve search rankings, it is designed to penalize shady links. Penguin update tries to hit web spam at its core. This update is Google’s way of telling you DO NOT manipulate your links and FOLLOW our web spam guidelines!

But what manipulative links are?

• Paid links. Any money transaction with links in return.
• Links that come from web spammers or link to web spammers.
• Designing sites exclusively for links.
• Links that are embedded in a text with no relevance e.t.c.

So if some of these are your daily practices, then Google will penalize you for sure.

But what are the best practices for a great link building?

• Links must come from well-respected websites.
• Links must be embedded in websites that lots of links link to.
• Links must have relevance with the rest of the text.
• The same link must not be embedded many times in the same text.
• NATURAL linking is the BEST practice of all!

Link building is all about creating content (articles, info graphics, videos, animations, preferably content that could go viral, e.t.c).Your content must add value to the user needs. Some questions that you have to answer while creating your content are: What my target group is discussing? What issues confuse them? What are they asking about? Just create great content and you’ll be rewarded.

So, I created great content what do I do with it? The answer to that question is what I call Linking-PR. You have to build relationships with other websites and blogs. Ok, if you are a well-respected brand, everything is easy for you, but what happens when you are not?

You have to start building relationships step by step. Start by approaching not so famous bloggers and ask them for quest posting, if your content is valuable, some of them will let you post. Give them information, point to them some issues that are not aware of, embed their links to your website, e.t.c. These practices are not valuable only for link building they are also valuable for promoting your site too.

These two updates changed SEO practices forever. So nowadays SEO is much more than good keyword searching and link building. It is transformed to digital marketing strategy. More complicated and more interesting.

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