How Google’s Search Engine Changes Affect Your Rankings: Four Tips 4 U

San Diego Zoo Panda by danorth1 on Flickr

San Diego Zoo Panda by danorth1 on Flickr

SEO is one of the biggest topics today, and one of the most inexact sciences in online marketing. If you do a search for “SEO” on Google, and it’ll return 576 million results while “SEO marketing” will give you sixteen million.

Search Engine Optimization is big business!

So what happens when Google alters their search ranking algorithms –which they do often– and you find your website and your business are now collateral damage under the sanitized term “metrics.”

This latest update, nicknamed the “Panda Update,” has turned much of the online marketing world on its collective ear. Sift through any number of professional blogging, traffic generation, and online marketing blogs, and most have at least one post mentioning the algorithm changes and what it means for everything from Page Rank to profits.

According to Google, this new algorithm improves overall search quality, as it mainly went after content farms and aggregator/spam sites. These sites were bottom of the barrel types, short articles no better than ads, written with poor quality language skills and scraped from other sites.

However, because of the details of the Panda Update, some very high-quality sites were lumped together with the content farms. And to add insult to injury, most of these small businesses are responsible for their own SEO on their sites and have no idea how to fix it!

What’s a small business owner to do?

I took my questions and headed to the experts. One of the SEO marketing experts I spoke with was Andrew Cross and Daniel Laloggia, Search Marketing Mgr. from Walker Sands Communications, a Chicago public relations, marketing and web design agency.

Have any types of businesses or certain industries been affected worse than others?

The recent update didn’t seem to impact any business type or industry more than any other. This was more about changing how Google looked at different SEO practices than about going after certain types of companies.

How should small businesses combat the change? Should they contact Google or revamp their SEO efforts? Or both?

Unless they think they were caught up in the change on accident, contacting Google won’t help. Identifying what part of the change affected your site can help you identify the best way to recover.

Can we expect future sweeping algorithm changes that have a similar effect?

Google changes the algorithm in relatively large ways several times a year. Sometimes these changes are more subtle or affect things more over the long term than the short term, like this update did.

They’re right, of course. Google updates their algorithm quite often; it’s just not often that one change makes such a sweeping effect the way the Panda did. I also spoke with John Mc Phee of Formic Media Inc., a social media marketing agency that designs special marketing packages for their clients.

He had some really great things to tell me about SEO. Basically, building backlinks is one of the strongest ways to get your site ranked well, and backlinks are the online “vote of confidence” that sites give yours, which lets search engines know that your site is one worth paying attention to.

According to John, there are two types of links: off-site, and on-site linking. On-site would be the inter-linking between pages of your website. Off-site are other websites linking to your site. About 60% of the algorithm focuses on just this type of link building.

The low-quality sites are those sites using tools such as autoblogging, or are building sites for the sole purpose of using AdSense. Sites with such an overflow of ads ranked low and got hit hard by the Panda; does your site have a lot of ads? You might want to evaluate the coverage on your site and see if you need to tone down the ads.

When I asked John McPhee what webste owners could do if they felt the Panda Slap, he had four tips to soothe the sting and make the Panda happy:

  1. Track the links to your site as well as you can, and request the low-quality sites to take down their links. It’s a matter of negative association, and it’s not worth the backlink!
  2. In the same vein as #1, focus your attention on cultivating backlinks from very high-quality and reputable sites in your niche, and register with directories with well-chosen keywords.
  3. Continue with your content creation. Do you have a blog? It’s surprising how many small businesses don’t have a blog attached to their websites or store fronts. Blogs are one of the best ways to keep your site fresh and continually updated with new content.
  4. Social Media: learn it, live it, love it! Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others are where your audience is now. People would rather connect with a friend online and build relationships with new people than be sold on a product. Share value!


And if that’s not enough, you can always check out a fantastic survival guide on Google’s Panda Update over at It’s jam-packed with a nuts and bolts explanation of how the Panda works and ways to fix your SEO. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to make sense of how to create a great site designed to be viewer-friendly and SEO-friendly, how to understand how SEO works, and most important: how to make a Panda happy!

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Delena Silverfox

Delena is a producer of great content and helps online web sites create awesome information (such as what you read on for their audiences!

23 thoughts on “How Google’s Search Engine Changes Affect Your Rankings: Four Tips 4 U

  1. SavvyBizbuilder

    Utilizing the the Internet to promote your business is indeed a new trend for marketing. Small business who fail to use the power of social media will be having a difficulty to keep up with the competition.

  2. miguel

    “request the low-quality sites to take down their links. It’s a matter of negative association, and it’s not worth the backlink!”

    one of the most mis-informed pieces of information I’ve seen in a while. Links back to your site are largely beyond your control. Google accepts that, it always has and it always will – it simple has no choice. When they see patterns which convince them you have been responsible for say link buying on a large scale then they may investigate this. But JC Penney were a recent case that simply proves they are rubbish at spotting that as well!

    If what you say had ANY affect at all then half the SEO’s on the planet would spend their life doing negative SEO to kill off their competitors. Simply put that comment is far from accurate. Think it through it is plainly illogical.

    My advise, focus on getting good quality white links and ignore the crap… as that is EXACTLY what Google do, they simply ignore it.

  3. Scott Jarvis

    I barely have time to create links much less request people remove them. This would be a huge waste of time as most sites would simply ignore your request. However, I agree you need to create a variety of quality links including Video and Social Media, Digg, jumptags, PR, articles and more.

  4. Mark Hofmann

    Building back links can be challenging in the beginning of building a site, because who can find that new material if your not ranking? Sometimes it seems like a popularity contest where the popular kids always win. Just look at YouTube and see Google’s fav’s stay on top.

  5. Terry Bumgardner

    This is all new to me, I’m starting from scratch. How do you create a backlink? I’m doing what I can, but not getting traffic. I post daily, with good info, I ping daily @ ping o matic, after each post. My blog is on blogger, which is part of Google. I have a review page, I post daily on FaceBook/link to blog. ??????????

  6. Pete

    I just started getting something going with my website, and Google knocked me on my ear. It’s tempting to be angry at Google, but it’s their game to change as they see fit. I guess we just gotta keep on adding quality content and hope to eventually be rewarded by our Google Overlords!

  7. Building Brand

    It still all boils down to quality content. And there is nothing more safe for rankings than producing quality content and distributing it to quality sites. This is still the LONG-TERM universal online marketing practice that will not change mainly because we are talking about:

    – Info
    – Quality Info
    – Helpful Info
    – Info
    and Info.

    So what’s really needed to be done?
    Even if you are going to spin your articles, it is still a must that you review it and deliver high quality information.

    Spinning, mass article submission, etc is still a good practice. But this time, what Google really wants is “real articles” from “real writers” for “real readers”.

  8. Rich McKelvey

    Google also ranks for variety of backlinks as well as quality, so it is important to get backlinks from .com .net .gov .edu .info, etc. This also shows that they are not mass purchase backlinks.

  9. Burn Fat


    Completely agree with you Miguel. You could waste a lot of time and effort tracking down low quality sites and attempting to get them to remove links. Make better use of your time by finding high quality links from high ranking sites. Simple.


    this is a new step, helping a lot, do not take time to search, study and gather quality information, google, have a look, perfect solution, people try effort, and poor-quality sites should do better, because people need good data concern

  11. Relationship Lover

    I’ve seen many sites that are still doing quite well but have really low quality backlinks; and they are using other people’s articles for their content instead of creating original content. I personally think that if it’s working for you then do it, and if it’s not then change it up, but don’t fret about it in the meantime.

  12. xiaoxiu11

    Thanks for sharing this information. I really like your way of
    expressing the opinions and sharing the information. It is good to move
    as chance bring new things in life, paves the way for advancement, etc.
    But it is well known to everyone that moving to new location with bulk
    of goods is not an easy task to move or shift from one place to other
    place because I have experienced about that and I face the problem like
    that. There I go to village near to my city faced that problem

  13. john

    These are really vital tips that we should consider while choosing an eCommerce SEO company for SEO Services. As there are lots of fake companies as well, we need to focus on finding out the reputed one at the cheapest price. Thanks for the tips.


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