When Google’s Penguin update first rolled out back in 2012, many websites saw severe penalties because of their manipulative link building practices. The goal of Penguin was to stop the practice of massive and indiscriminatory link building, using suspect or spammy sources.
Webmasters busily got to work removing the bad backlinks that they could access, and were offered the disavow tool, to negate the links that they couldn’t access.
With the Penguin 4.0 update, Google Penguin now operates in real time, meaning that your site will be penalized really quickly (from bad links) but can also recover just as quickly from a penalty if you disavow or remove the unnatural links.
According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Penguin has been folded into its core algorithm and is also operating on a more granular level, which means that they will devalue specific pages based on their bad links rather than penalizing entire sites.
Google’s ultimate goal: catch spam link profiles as quickly as possible and keep low-quality sites from ranking well in the search results.
Google Penguin 4.0 and Your Site
What does this mean for your site? Assuming that you are focussed on building a great site with quality, original content tailored for your audience, whomever they may be, not a whole lot.
But if you recently noticed a dip in your rankings, and no immediate recovery, you might want to audit your links to make sure that they aren’t impacting your visibility.
You can learn more about Googles disavow links tool here.
Or you can ask us, we’re happy to help you understand and manage any repercussions from Google Penguin 4.0.
If you are overhauling your small business digital marketing strategy or just establishing your startup, you now have more choices than you might have realised when selecting a domain name. You probably have a preferred name for your site, based on your company name, brand, product or industry, but competition for the best names is fierce on .com, .net, .org and the country-based domains such as .ca, .uk, and .au.
Generic top level domains could be the answer. Industry specific domains, community domains and even campaign specific domains offer new opportunities for your business. The possibilities are almost endless, many new top level domains have already been created with more in the pipes.
“What’s in a (top level domain) name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
If you worry that your search visibility will suffer with a generic top level domain name, Google has been very clear that while generic top level domains don’t carry any inherent SEO value, nor are they considered inferior to .com et al. Considering that Google has invested heavily into purchasing quite a few new TLDs, it seems highly unlikely that they would punish them with their algorithms.
The general consensus is that over the next few years we will begin to see a lot more brand specific domains like .barclays and .amazon, and that your search results will include a lot more generic top level domains like .travel, .design or .fashion.
This is exciting for your new or small business – where can you see yourself? Will you gain traction on .drive, make a splash on .swim or find your local business on .toronto or .vancouver? Where will a new, memorable and relevant TLD take your business?
Your website is one of your most valuable marketing tools, so keeping it current with the latest technology, SEO standards and your business’ offering is absolutely critical. If your site hasn’t been updated for a few years you will find yourself falling behind your competitors – time for a website update!
Don’t know where to start? Here are 6 key areas to investigate. Failure to update these and your site will suffer.
- Site speed – your visitors are an impatient bunch, they won’t tolerate slow loading times. Reduce your bounce rate by ensuring your site runs like a cheetah. Google will rank you (higher) for it.
- Site security – e-commerce sites know that they must keep on top of site security; hackers are always looking to get in and make a mess, but even if your site isn’t directly selling, it’s good practice to move from an http site to an https. Encryption can save your site from hackers who may infect your site with viruses, seriously impacting your customers and possibly getting you blocked by search engines and browsers.
- Mobile responsiveness – sites that aren’t mobile responsive are seeing some serious damage done to their rankings. Many of your visitors are using mobile, so give them an experience that makes them happy, or they’ll go elsewhere. If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile friendly, check it out here.
- Social integration – Are your social media channels integrated with your site? If not, this is an easy website update keep you relevant and competitive.
- Content currency – and adherence to modern SEO standards. Read through your site, is the information about your business up-to-date? If you have dropped products or services and added new ones, make sure your site reflects that. Also ensure that your content follows current SEO standards – if your methods are outdated it could have a negative effect on your search rankings.
- Is it time to rebrand or redesign? Just like any creative endeavour, website designs eventually go out of fashion. Modern web design is much cleaner it used to be, and is focussed on user experience. Getting a professional assessment of your site from both a form and functionality perspective is a good idea, especially if your site is more than a few years old.
If you are looking for website success (and who isn’t?) developing an engaging, mobile friendly site that focusses on conversion will provide an effective hub for your digital marketing campaigns. At WSI, we work with clients to improve their online marketing strategy, including websites and other digital marketing channels
How to Achieve Website Success
7 Steps to Website Success from WSI Marketing on Vimeo.
Creating a new website (or redesigning an established site) can be really simple, or it can be done properly. Certainly, you can jump in with both feet (and many do) but if you have goals and hope to achieve them, isn’t it worth taking the time to do it right? If you follow these 7 steps, you can expect to end up with a site that really performs as you would like.
- Discovery – figure out what you really need, which means figuring out what your prospects are looking for. Buyer personas can guide you in the right direction.
- Budget – the money you spend on your website is an investment in your business, not just a cost of doing business, and it should produce a return, over time.
- Planning – as Ben Franklin said, ‘if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!’ You will need a complete marketing plan that includes your website and other digital marketing channels.
- Design and Build – your discovery and planning stages should inform the design/build stage as you work towards your online objectives.
- Test and Debug – Don’t neglect this step – it’s vital to providing a great customer experience, which will directly impact your conversion rates.
- Pre and Post-Launch Activities – your new website will provide a unique opportunity during the launch phase to capture the attention of a wide slice of your potential audience, make sure you capitalize on this!
- Analyze and Improve – Regular data analysis will help you continually improve upon your website success.
Contact WSI Digital Marketing, we have helped many clients achieve website success, we can help you too!
Building brand authority online in 2015 can be challenging. Competition is fierce and those who don’t keep up with developments in brand management will fall behind those who are on top of the evolving digital landscape.
Brand Authority Factors
Elements that are influencing your brand’s online reputation and credibility include:
- Improved search engine results
- Online user review sites, and
- Social media channels
Understanding how these factors are affecting your brand authority and credibility today are critical to the success of your digital marketing plans. The following 5 components can help build a positive reputation online:
- Content Marketing: Regularly publishing content that your audience finds relevant and useful to demonstrate your expertise will build authority with both customers and the search engines.
- Social Media Marketing: Monitoring and engaging with those who are talking about you on social media channels will help you resolve any negative comments before they snowball into a major negative blow to your reputation and help you benefit from positive feedback.
- Video Marketing: Video is easily consumed and can be a great way to connect with your audience, building trust and demonstrating your expertise. Plus it’s mobile-friendly!
- Personalized Marketing: Using customer data, you can deliver exactly the right message to the right person just when they are looking for it.
- Reputation Marketing: Don’t just wait for glowing reviews to pop up online, you can ask your happy customers to provide reviews to publish on your site, or ask them to publish a review on an independent review site. Don’t forget to monitor review sites so that if any negative reviews are published you can resolve them promptly.