If your site's traffic is plummeting today, you're not alone. Google has unleashed a new algorithm update that targets sites that deploy spam tactics such as keyword stuffingand link schemes. In a blog entry posted yesterday, Google said the update is intended to weed out sites that "use techniques that don't benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be...ranked."
"We've always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content," Google said in the Webmaster Central Blog post. "While we can't divulge specific signals because we don't want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters it to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics."
The algorithm update affects about 3 percent of queries in English, German, Chinese and Arabic. Its impact is low compared to last year's major update, called Panda, which significantly affected roughly 12 percent of queries.
If your site's been impacted by the latest update, here are just a few things you can do to get back on Google's good side:
Make sure your content is useful. The days of ranking with keyword-stuffed content are coming to an end. Use your targeted keywords in your copy, but also make sure your content is written for actual humans to read, not just web crawlers.
Ensure your backlinks are legitimate. If your link profile consists of nothing but directories and exchanges with irrelevant sites, you have to reassess your strategy. A single high-quality link beats out hundreds of directory or blog comment links.
Ask Google for reinclusion. Use Google Webmaster Tools to file a request for reconsideration. Don't do this until you're certain that your site should not be considered spam.
Has your site been affected by the latest update? Do you have any more advice for webmasters who've been negatively impacted? Let us know in the comments section below. And if you need help with your SEO efforts, feel free to contact us at (603) 529-8175.