The onslaught of Google’s updates has caused quite a stare for many people involved in digital marketing. For some, they have lost many years work in a day, while others are coming to terms with what has actually happened and whether there will ever be light at the end of the tunnel which Google is increasingly making more difficult to navigate through.
In the Know
To quickly get you up to speed, these blog posts help to give more of an overview of why this was undertaken by Google – Panda & Penguin. Kindly, within these modifications Google produced a blog post which specifically detailed their 50 updates, but instead of directly revealing their algorithm to us, these were vague, leaving a lot to interpretation and judgement. But at least they were more open this time.
The area which stood out surrounded ‘anchor text’ and how Google has ‘changed the way they value a link’. For SEO’s anchor text (clickable text on the link, as shown to the left) is paramount because without it, the search engines would have no real indication of what a site is about. Our post helps to provide more clarity on its importance.
Interpretations leading to more Speculations
However in terms of this more recent modification, anchor text was mentioned twice and it refers to a ‘classifier being turned off’ and a ‘better interpretation and use of anchor text’. As you can see Google have been very specific and detailed in their explanation of this change…. So for us, regardless of our opinion on the subject, it will nevertheless be speculative and open to interpretation. But after reading various accounts from people in the field and our personal experiences, we feel this change is mainly centred towards the distribution and diversity of a sites link profile.
Previously the distribution of this ranking factor was more heavily weighted towards ‘exact match’ – in other words, heavy and aggressive use of links which solely contained the targeted keyword would have been recognised as an effective tactic that would have yielded positive results. For example, the use of the following anchor text would need to be used sparingly – safari park and importantly, placed gradually. Because think about it from Google’s perspective, many people will link to a site usually a variety of phrases such as; ‘safari parks in the UK’ and ‘a great day out by visiting this safari’ for example. So constant anchor text such as the above will actually work against your site, leaving it in jeopardy.
So what has happened as a result of this change…..
- Those sites which adhered to a strategy which placed emphasis on the brand, random and a diverse profile should have been unaffected by these changes. (If you feel you have been wrongfully affected, you can file a complaint to Google using their forum). In other words you won’t be worrying what the next day will bring as you will be seeing the traffic flood in.
- People who aggressively applied ‘exact match’ work in a short timeframe, thinking their site can gain quick wins. These may become insomniacs, fretting about what next will go wrong and wondering why they ever engaged in such tactics in the first place.
If you fall into the winners category, then well done – you have clearly looked at the long term and understood ‘quick wins’ don’t last forever. Maintain your tactic, it will last a lifetime!
But for those who have taken a ‘hit’, all is not lost because in the worst case scenario you can file for a reconsideration request once you have met these new guidelines. This isn’t going to be easy, because for many this will involve a complete shift in strategy and simply admitting that ‘you were wrong’ – again for some, this is something which could be even more difficult to come to terms with.
So what are your thoughts on this? It is a very open ended topic that is subject to conjecture, but if you feel other interpretations are important please leave your comments below. We would love to hear your thoughts!