Late last month, Google initiated the latest string of updates to its algorithm. Code-named “Panda 3.3”, there were a slew of revisions to the way Google interprets data on a website because, according to Google, they want to be “more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web.”
The major updates to Google’s algorithm include:
The ranking of videos on Google’s YouTube platform. Google now says that searches on YouTube will return more locally relevant results.
An update to image search. Google says they can now show “fresher” images in search results. This means that adding high resolution, optimally tagged images to a webpage will get it crawled and indexed in a quicker fashion. So if you have a news blog, for instance, a sharp image used on a recent and popular news post will enhance factors such as user experience and organic traffic to the page.
Improved snippets for video pages. As detailed in a recent MoreVisibility YouTube Video Series, Google now supports rich snippet data for video content, as it may display an image of the video within the description snippet in search results if correctly coded with rich markup.
These changes, as usual, simply reinforce standard SEO best practices. Page elements, such as optimized and interesting content, clean web coding and geo-targeting will only help to improve user experience and your website’s overall search performance in the long run.
Here are some tips on what to avoid so that your link building efforts remain in line with Google Panda:
Avoid link submissions to directories that have hundreds (or even thousands) of irrelevant links included in its categories.
Avoid submitting a link to a site that has an inordinate amount of ads on a page with little to no quality content.
Don’t necessarily rely on a submission site’s PageRank. A site’s PageRank is not always accurate in the first place, plus, its importance has been greatly reduced as of late, as it’s generally not an accurate gauge of a website’s authority.
Is the category/page you wish to submit your link to even in the search engine indexes? This sounds obvious, but if Google hasn’t crawled and indexed a page in a directory, it’s not going to attribute that inbound link to your site and your efforts will be in vain. Additionally, if a page in a directory is not indexed, this could be indicative that Google has either penalized that directory or the site has poor programming, inhibiting crawler access.
Remember, the Panda Update penalties will impact your whole site and the effects can be drastic, so ensure that your link cultivation efforts aren’t thwarted because of submission to one or two low quality directories. Major websites have been penalized for their link building practices due to Panda, including JCPenney, so no one is immune.