Understanding 2016 Google Algorithms

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Understanding 2016 Google AlgorithmsFor long, Google has not spoken about any update on its search algorithms. However, it seems that something had been slipped through in the month of June 2016. Analysts have seen major changes in search volatility, wherein some websites gained raking while some other lost substantially. It mostly looks like the regular quality update the Google comes up with or a Panda related thing. Whatever it is, websites that rank low in quality have been targeted in specific. So if you are still working with poor quality of content, over advertising and bad user experience / designs, you must have seen your ranking fall in the course of last month.

Some websites have been calling the changes to be caused by Google’s RankBrain – a machine learnt artificial intelligence that processes search engine results. In the midst of this, SMX advanced has brought out a list of the top Google Local SEO ranking factors. It provides a roadmap for local businesses to do more with their SEO investment.

Back linking

Back linking is still not a thing of the past, with several online businesses still meddling with it. However, it comes as a surprise in the report that back linking has been atop reason for positive rankings. Even Toolbar PageRank from Google, that hasn’t been updated since long is doing positively.

Website factors

As obvious, the use of targeted keywords does make a strong difference in page ranks. As such, location based pages that have the right amount of content will do far better than ones with less content.

Citations

Citations, as opposed to the common belief didn’t quite push the ranking for the good. Comparing the situation of the past year, it is evident that fixing your citation based errors (lack or inconsistency) will get you some credit but will not be a governing factor in SEO.

Google My Business

Consistent with the algorithms of the past, websites with more user reviews, owner verifications, photographs and other helpful content attracted higher rankings. Well, beefing up your SEO and investing time in Google My Business page is a good use of your marketing time.

Other surprises

Things like having your keyword in the Business Name brought rankings favors but it’s not the case if you are mentioning the city / state r other location in the title of your Google My Business page. These were certainly not the way we have believed things to be but there they are and if you are a local business, you will have to act accordingly.

A look at reasons why SEO ranks have dropped

  • Burying content against sponsored posts: Websites that include several link thumbnails leading to sponsored content in top or below articles should be ready to get hammered.
  • Excessive ads: As already mentioned, too much advertisement can be harmful to SEO. The mathematics says that if you are having two-third of a website’s content as ad and the rest, real content, your ranking will drop.
  • Thin content: If you are just putting in irrelevant Q&A type content in several pages across the website, you should expect a sad turn of events soon.
  • Too generic content: Generic content has always seen loss in rankings and it hasn’t changed this time too. These will be websites that tend to rewrite information that has already been put up elsewhere.
  • Issues related to indexing: If you have a robots.txt file hidden in the page, Google bots will not be able to crawl through, thereby not ranking your website at all.

Over the past decade, Google has been strict on rank manipulations, wherein the most severe offenders have been either blacklisted or severely fines (loss of page rank). However, after Penguin, the categorizations became more subtle and depended on quality factors rather than back links. Further, well researched, fresh, and articulate content was given a better chance at SEO over content overloading. Today, we have come to a phase when algorithms have been pursuing “naturalness” and reviewing a website’s value to its users. This has promoted link building in the form of manual link building and link attractions. Social signals too are playing a prominent role in SEO ranking.

Overall, organic algorithm is not a choice but a mandatory part of your web success. If you are a local business, invest more time in understanding analytics and local SEO moves.

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