Google’s 2012 April Search Changes including an Angry Penguin



Google PenguinApril was a scary month for some Webmasters. Google rolled out a new cute animal to stomp all over your website: Penguin.

April had a total of two Panda changes, one Penguin change and 50 other changes. While the changes have forever altered the landscape of Google, there is still a way to beat the changes to get traffic. If you work with the changes, then you can actually get more traffic than you were prior to the Google alternations.

Limited Domain Diversity

In the past, one domain could show up several times for one keyword search. This would allow the Webmaster to canvas an entire Google page and deny exposure to other websites.

Google has limited this by only allowing a domain to show up once or twice for a search. The best way to beat this change is to focus on local keywords. By making a page for several different towns and cities around your service area, you can canvas an entire area to the same effect.

Keyword Spam

People have been spamming websites for years, overusing keywords to draw search engine attention. This practice has been called spam for years, but now Google is really targeting it. Websites that “over-optimize” are being punished with lower rankings.

The best way to beat this is to use your keyword only two to four times on one page. You can turn this change into a benefit by adding in new keywords so your website comes up for a variety of phrases.

Previous Searches Affect New Ones

This change affects your searching behaviour, which in turn affects what websites show up. For example, let’s say that you searched “New Jersey hotels” a few minutes ago. If you search for “car rentals,” then Google will likely target New Jersey car rental businesses.

Google is using your previous searches to fuel new ones. This is supposed to make searching more relevant for the user, but some are scared that Google is taking and using their personal information.

There is really no way to beat this change. You just have to accept it.

There is also the new incognito window which you can use if you do not want an “influenced” search result. this can be found in your pages tool section.

Some Half Time Lite Relief …….!

 

Current Results

If you look up SEO information, then you likely don’t want to see an article from 2005. SEO has changed a lot since then, so the information is outdated. Google has recently added a “Freshness Filter” to ensure that current results trump older ones.

This mostly affects news websites, but blogs and other content-based websites are also being targeted. There is another change here, too. Google will demote low-quality websites, even if they have current information. Only high-quality websites are gaining the benefits from this change.

The best thing you can do is frequently make content. Make a new post everyday instead of once a week and this change should benefit your website.

Location Emphasis

Google is really pushing local emphasis, and this is good for users. If you are looking for a hotel, then you don’t want to find one that is in a different state than your destination. Google has understood this, so it is pushing away general websites for more locally focused pages.

Google is also doing something interesting with this change. They are focusing mostly on homepages instead of internal pages. The best way to counter this is to ensure your homepage mentions at local keyword or uses local hyperlinks to other pages in your website.

Many local-based websites are noticing a huge jump in rankings and traffic. Take advantage of this by ensuring your website has a homepage with a local keyword.

Language Emphasis

Along with local emphasis, there is also a language emphasis put on results. This is mostly for international searches, but it could affect some normal searches here and there. For example, if someone is looking for a keyword in Spanish but there is a cognate in French, then only the Spanish results will show up.

There really isn’t much to do about this change and the vast majority of Webmasters won’t lose anything from this alteration.

Emphasis on Keyword Usage

This is different from the keyword stuffing change. This change ensures that your website only shows up for keywords actually used on the website. For example, if you have a bunch of back links with the anchor text, “MA spicy mustard,” then your website would show up for that term in the past, even if the keyword was not used on the page.

Now, the page will only show up if the keyword is used. Go back and look at all your anchor text. Ensure the keywords are used on your pages at least once to still get a SERPs boost.

Automatic Title Generation

Most websites use the HTML Title attribute to tell users what the website is about. However, there are some websites that don’t make a title. Google has recently made a change that enhances how they generate titles so it saves on CPU resources.

This can be both good and bad. It is good because it will make your page more relevant in the results if you are not currently using a title. But, making your own title is often the best way to get an SEO advantage. The best thing you can do here is look at your website and ensure you are using a good title that displays your main keyword.

Long Query Spelling Corrections

This will only affect a small number of Webmasters, most of which are using black hat methods for ranking. Some Webmasters make content and domains based on misspellings. For example, the Webmaster can make content about Aamzon, Amzon or Ammazon to target people who are incorrectly spelling Amazon. Google has long corrected these spelling mistakes, but it is going a step further.

Google is now doing the same for long query misspellings. This should not affect most Webmasters, but it could be a good idea to look at your website and ensure your long-tail keywords are correctly spelled.

Sports Searching Enhancement

If you have a website based around sports, specifically MLB, Formula 1 and the NHL, then you should either celebrate or immediately check your website. Google released several changes that affect what websites show up for these types of searches.

The searches will now link more often to authoritative and relevant websites. If you have a high-quality website with a lot of good information, then you are probably getting more traffic. If not, then it is time to improve your quality.

Mobile HTML5 Caching

The last major change that Google made in April is HTML5 caching for its mobile platform. This change has decreased latency and made it much easier for mobile users to use Google. If you have a mobile HTML5 website, or an HTML5 website in general, then this is good. If not, then you should upgrade your website immediately.

Conclusion

Google made a huge amount of changes in April, more than they have for most other months. Some of the changes are killing website owners, while others are putting traffic in the hands of high-quality websites. Follow the above tips and you should benefit from or minimize the damage of these changes.

Overall, just ensure you have a good website that follows the rules and doesn’t partake in black hat methods. This should help you rank better in Google, despite all the changes that have been made.

+Tim Capper



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3 Responses to “Google’s 2012 April Search Changes including an Angry Penguin”

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