7 Important Google Update Action Points


Google updates like the recent Panda and Penguin updates have had a profound effect on Internet marketing. These updates are just the latest in a long and ongoing line of changes that Google has made.

Google updates and SEO action points

The action points below are specifically response in to the Google Panda and Penguin updates, but many of these action points will generally strengthen and improve your online marketing.

Reduce the number of ads

Google seems to be penalising sites with too much advertising. This is rather ironic as Google makes its money from just these ads.

The number of ads on the part of your website visitor sees before they scroll down, or “above the fold” as it is called seem to be critical.

There is clearly a trade-off here, because the whole point of having AdSense ads on our sites is to put them in prominent positions so that users actually click on them. We need to keep the ads where they are most visible in order to get people to click on ads so that we get paid.

It’s clearly no good taking off all the ads, which is perhaps what Google would really like us to do because then the sites make us no money. But whereas previously I had both a banner ad and a text ad above the fold I have now removed one of those ads. My post Penguin advice is to reduce the number of ads above the fold to just one and to reduce the total number of ad blocks on a page down from the maximum three that is allowed by Google to just two ads on each post or page.

Stop using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools

For some time I have been concerned about all the information I am providing to Google by having Google analytics and Google Webmaster Tools on my sites. In fact for some time now I have not been adding either to my new sites and have instead been using other analytic tools that I will cover in depth in a future article.

I think it would be naive to think that even by taking off Google analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, or not installing them in the first place, will mean that Google won’t be able to track everything that I’m doing. But I harbour a suspicion that Google may be using information from its analytics and Webmaster tools to target sites to take action against. I might be wrong. Certainly there are rumours that this might be the case. Whether these rumours and suspicions are right or not there are other great analytic tools available and I just don’t see any reason to give Google ammunition to use against me.

Focus on quality content

Quality content has almost become a mantra now in Internet marketing circles. Every Internet marketing blog on the planet is now saying that we need quality content on our sites. This really isn’t something new. I’ve always believed that unique quality content is absolutely vital to long-term online success. People will always make money online for a short time with loopholes and tricks. But ultimately I think that trying to build a business based on shortcuts and tricks like building a house on sand. It might work for a while, but eventually it will come crashing down and you will have to start rebuilding your business from nothing again.

So I think the action point of building your online business on the foundation of unique, original and useful content applied before the recent penguin and Panda Google updates. The recent changes have just made having quality content even more important than it was before.

Where I disagree with what is being said about quality content is when “so-called” experts say that ALL you need to do to be successful is to produce quality content. This is a bit like saying that if you build a fantastic shop down an alley in the middle of nowhere customers will come. This just doesn’t make sense. The number, quality and naturalness of the links to your site still determine your ranking in the search engines. You need effective back links to your site just like a store needs a good location to be successful.

Make links to your site more natural

What has changed with link building is the need to ensure that the links look natural. Google is basically penalising sites where most of the links are carefully designed and based on keywords or anchors.

Until the recent updates if you wanted to rank the site for “dog baskets” you simply built links to your site from the text “dog baskets”. This keyword focused link building is just not how links get built naturally. People who are marketing knowledge tend to build links for example from the text “click here” or “this is a great website” and not always from optimised keywords.

On holiday in Spain recently I met an accountant who told me that he could always spot false accounts just by looking at them. He was absolutely obsessed with number patterns. He went on to explain that when people fake accounts that always avoid things that seem unnatural. For example in fake accounts people would never put exactly the same days takings on two consecutive days, because that seems “unnatural”.

But that kind of unnatural pattern is in fact natural and to an accountant not to see coincidences like that raises a red flag that something is wrong. Having all keyword optimised links pointing to our sites is now a red rag to Google. The action point to follow is to make sure that you build between 25 and 50% of the links to your site from non-keyword text like “Click Here”.

Get rid of Adsense

Getting rid of Adsense ads from your sites might sound a bit extreme. I’m not suggesting removing AdSense from sites where it is your sole or primary source of income. I am suggesting that you consider removing Adsense from sites where you aren’t making much money from the Ads.

The chances are that these Adsense ads are distracting your readers from your content and other means of making money from your site. For example I have removed AdSense ads from some of my sites that previously were monetised both from Amazon affiliate sales and AdSense.

I’ve decided to sacrifice the small AdSense revenue that the sites made in order to achieve a higher Google quality score and improved traffic. As always I will be testing the results and will let you know how I get on. But I expect that the increased traffic and extra Amazon commissions that I will generate will more than compensate for the small loss of AdSense income.

Don’t rely on Google

The constant updates and game changes from Google should have taught us one thing. It’s unwise to build a business based solely on one source of traffic. This action point is critical, don’t rely solely on Google for you traffic. Google dominates search traffic but there are other important sources of traffic including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even pay traffic. My advice is to reduce reliance upon Google and build traffic from these other sources. Also, you must be building a list because that’s traffic that you control. I can send an e-mail to the thousands of subscribers on my list and send traffic wherever I want without having to worry about Google. Building a list reduces your reliance on Google traffic and increases your business security.

Don’t carry on regardless, but do carry on

My final action point is article marketing, video marketing, link building, guest blogging, forum commenting and even buying or renting links all still work.

Some very large blog networks have seen all of their sites de-indexed and all the associated links have been removed. However, talk of the death of this or that Internet marketing technique are premature. Even blog networks still work provided they are small, well-managed and effectively fly under the Google radar.

Search engine optimisation or SEO and link building are still absolutely vital to your online success. But now more than ever this optimisation and link building needs to be done extremely carefully if it’s not to damage your online business.

Link building at the best of times isn’t fun and certainly not something I enjoy. This is one of the first things that I outsourced and I think more than ever now is the time to start outsourcing off-site SEO and link building to outside experts who know exactly what techniques work. An experienced SEO company can react quickly to the frequent sudden changes that Google makes. Hiring an SEO company also frees you up to concentrate on more creative aspects like building that all important quality content. Do sign up for my complimentary report and internet marketing newsletter by entering your email address in the box on this page.



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