Ah, Google – never a dull moment with you, is there?
Our friends at Google have made two significant changes in the past month that may — or may not — affect marketers. Here’s more about what they are, when they hit, and how they may impact
The Penguin Update
On April 24, Google rolled out an algorithmic update named “Penguin.” It targets websites using “black hat” search engine optimization tactics designed to sp@m the search engines. While this can mean a host of things, including keyword stuffing, most of our industry’s attention about Penguin has been on sites with unnatural link profiles. That can mean a majority of the site’s inbound links are low quality or irrelevant, or too many links have the same keywords in the link’s text (anchor text).
Were you hit? Check your analytics and see if you had a drop in website traffic driven by Google’s organic results around April 24. If you don’t see a drop – and especially if you know you haven’t engaged in black hat tactics – you don’t have anything to worry about. In fact, Penguin is supposed to only impact around 3% of English language sites. If you were hit, get rid of as many poor quality links or repetitive anchor text as you can.
Sidenote: Google’s “Panda” update, which rolled out in February 2011, had two “refreshes” on April 17 and 27, so some sites may have been affected by that as well. Panda targets sites with poor quality content.
The Knowledge Graph
Starting May 16, Google launched the Knowledge Graph. It’s their attempt to understand searchers’ intent by figuring out the relationship between different objects and presenting key information concisely. How does it work? Run a search for a famous person, place or thing, and you may see a “panel” on the right with pertinent information about that person, place or thing. Try “Moses,” “Hawaii,” or “Braves” to see it in action.
Is this new feature handy for searchers? Sure thing! Could it be a problem for marketers? Possibly. First, we have yet to see any pay-per-click ads on the search results pages where knowledge graph panels appear. There may not be a whole lot of advertisers for the keyword “Moses,” but surely sellers of Hawaiian vacations and Braves paraphernalia would want their ads to appear on the
right side of the organic results rather than the new panel.
Second, by serving up so much information directly on the results page, searchers may have fewer reasons to click through to one of the websites listed in the organic results. If that’s your website, and you make revenue from visitors, that’s going to hurt. It may necessitate targeting more “long tail” keywords that are less likely to display the knowledge graph panel, such as “Hawaiian vacations” or “Braves hats.”
We’ll continue to keep an eye on Google’s changes and advise our subscribers how to respond. Stay tuned!
Prominent Placement, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service search engine marketing (SEM) firm, delivering ROI that traditional marketing channels can’t touch, with a level of service that raises the bar. Since 2001, Prominent Placement has managed the entire SEM process for clients across the U.S., driving leads and revenue while empowering businesses to focus on what they do best. Prominent Placement’s customized solutions are backed by hard numbers, giving decision makers the confidence they need to make smarter decisions.
For more information, visit our website or call 888.SEM.MKTR (888.736.6587). If you’d like to learn how Prominent Placement can drive more leads for your business, contact Christine Verska at x713 or email@example.com.
Embark is a small business Internet marketing firm based in Atlanta and run by the same team as Prominent Placement. We offer affordable search engine marketing solutions that will help your small business or startup generate brand awareness, attract new customers, and grow revenue. Our experienced team will manage your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns, so you can focus on growing your business.
For more information on how to boost online visibility, leads and sales on a limited budget, visit http://www.EmbarkSEM.com, or contact Christine Verska at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404.373.9727 x713.
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