New year, new goals and new good intentions among which is starting this site, finally a site that I can speak of what I’m interested in and not what I’m trying to sell.
Being an SEO expert means that you have to constantly read about new techniques and update your knowledge with what others have been doing and above all be on top of search engines updates and its consecuences.
This year we have seen to major updates from Google targeting poor content, popularity and the way search results are displayed to the user; all of them having a great impact in the rankings and user experience in Google.
Google Instant Search
The first major update we saw in Google this year aimed to improve the user experience when performing a search, not only Google has become more and more savvy in predicting what the user is searching for by displaying a drop down of long tail search terms closer to what the user inputs in the search box and those terms change dynamically as the user changes the query, this feature had been around in Google for some time already but this year it became more efective. But the real new feature was the automatic display of results as the user entered the search terms which aimed to reduce the time that the user spent performing a search. Arguably a step forward in the mechanics of search this meant that people would be using less search terms to find what they were looking for.
In my experience, this han’t produced a major change in my site’s traffic. and rarely I find what I’m looking for in the by just entering a few search tearms, on the other hand I get to see a lot more results which is quite useful when researching the competition.
Google Panda/Farmers Update
Now a major game changer for many sites, although not as “destroying” as last year’s Caffeine update, Google’s Farmers/Panda update aimed to reduce the number of low quality content sites in the top search results mainly affecting content farms (hence it’s nickname), this update has affected well known site such as About.com and Ehow.com, but it also affected other sites that in theory had good quality content and Google did something almost unheard of, manually rectify the effects of their update for those sites.
This latest update has also had a big impact in affiliate sites that typically use the content provided by their affiliate platform and usually shared by thousands of other affiliates, so affiliates have to become more savvy and proactive in terms of generating not only their own unique content but also their unique approach to that content.
SEO as a challenge
So the first few months of 2011 have been a challenge for us so called SEO consultants, not because the rules of search engine optimization have changed much but because of poor optimization practices and poor content from our clients