Panda, Top Heavy, Penguin, Pirate, Vince, Mayday, Boston, Florida and EMD – What do these have in common?
The impact they have on your website however, can be catastrophic. These are probably the reason why you either do or don’t get many visitors to your website. They are actually the names of Google algorithm changes that affect how you rank on their search engine.
What they all do (or did) is very different but if you have a website they should make you ask a few critical questions.
- How is my website affected by these updates?
- What happens if my website isn’t compliant?
- What can I do about it?
Here are some possible answers, though be warned, they may not be what you want to hear right now.
How is my website affected by these updates?
We can’t answer this easily, because it is down to how your web design company built your site.
They may have used some of the ‘cutting edge’ SEO techniques of the time like mass back linking, keyword stuffing, low quality content and dozens of others. The problem with these methods is that Google is now penalising you for having them on your site. If you have noticed a large rise or fall in your visitors at some point, then it is likely that you have been affected.
What happens if my website isn’t compliant with the algorithm updates?
This is a difficult one to answer again as Google is rolling out these changes all of the time. For example, Google Panda alone has had at least 20 updates since Feb 2011.
The truth is that no-one really knows how to undo many of the issues that arise from the algorithm changes on an existing site. But then, that’s the point of the updates. If you could work it out easily, you could just use different techniques. The likelihood is that for some, many or even most people they may need to start again and have a new website.
What can I do about it?
This one is easier to answer for a small to medium size business for a number of reasons.
Firstly, your site is probably less complex with fewer pages. This means that it should be easier to track down issues or build a new website.
Having said this, many of the issues may not be on your own website. In the case of poor quality backlinks, they are on other sites and you probably can’t remove them easily. You can use the Google Disavow tool but this has no guarantees.
Second, the way that people consume the internet has changed. Currently, less than 30% of all web enabled devices run on Windows. This was more than 95% just 3 years ago! Apple devices do not support Adobe Flash either, so your site needs to change to adapt to different sizes and types of screen.
Some of our clients are already receiving more than 40% of their traffic from mobiles and tablets and their websites don’t display properly on these platforms meaning a complete waste of those visitors. Your website really needs to be responsive to work on these different platforms, which means you are probably going to need a new one anyway. As an example, try this website on your mobile or tablet – it still works and adapts to each screen!
Finally, in order to gain visitors in the future, you have some other options.
- As Google keeps on saying, focus on good quality content. If you can’t write good content yourself, you need to be paying someone to do this for you. A web designer may not necessarily be a great copywriter.
- Use alternative ways to drive traffic. Blogging, social media, content marketing, inbound marketing all point to the future of marketing. If you don’t understand these, learn quickly and get someone to show you.
- Engage and connect. People are starting to arrive at your site through recommendations and referrals. Make sure you know all of the places they might arrive from!
If you have experienced a major drop in traffic, or a major upsurge in visitors, we would love to know why you think it happened to your site, so let us know in the comments.