There has been plenty of talk recently of a fairly major algorithm change at Google to come this fall or at least by the end of the year.
Brett Tabke, the founder of WebmasterWorld, has said that the search giant’s next major update could be as big as Florida from 2003. Florida had a catastrophic effect on a large number of websites. Google tried, as it always does, to weed out low quality sites using questionable techniques to rank. However, this was a major change with rankings disappearing over night causing some SMEs to go bankrupt.
So, what can we expect from this update? And what’s it going to be called? (OK, no idea about the second question but let’s concentrate on what sort of sites and pages will be positively or negatively affected by the forthcoming change at Google).
Google is using account profile images of verified authors in search results which means that users can identify their favorite bloggers quicker. Google is trying to identify the “high reputation gatekeepers” and we may expect these high-authority individuals to be pushed higher up.
The importance of social signals (the amount of Tweets and Facebook Likes) has been rising for a few years now. It’s likely that these will increase still further and will include and increase the importance of data from Google’s own social site, Google+, in updates Google pushed through before the end of the year.
Low value articles sites
We all know what happened at the beginning of the year. A series of updates, named Panda, targeted scraper sites and then other low quality sites. These included articles sites. Even one of the best ones, Ezine, lost lots of pages in the rankings, and other “Web 2.0 properties”, where affiliates dump multiple poorly-written and poorly-spun articles for backlinks, were affected. I predict these will be hit again.
Remember the talk is of a “Florida” style set of upgrades. Reciprocal linking and anchor text were hit in Florida and as reciprocal linking is dead then maybe the power of the anchor text will be downgraded in the algo this time. Since Panda it’s importance has increased further still, and SEOs have been gaming it for years.
Exact match domains
Everyone knows that if you get ahold of an exact match domain (for example, www.loseweight.com) you perform significantly better in searches for the keywords that are in your domain.
Sites that contain a keyphrase in the domain have been considered to be highly relevant which has resulted in relatively poor affiliate sites doing quite well.
So, if you’ve been sitting on domains with juicy keyphrases but haven’t had the time to exploit them, now might be the time to head over to Flippa.
High bounce rate
It stands to reason that if a page has a high bounce rate for a particular search term that Google will not want that page to do well in the results. The data Google gets from Chrome, Analytics, Plus, etc., means that one day bounce rates and pages per view will surely became huge factors.
What you can do to protect yourself
Remember, it’s possible to get far too caught up in these updates as 99.9% of Google users will never notice the difference. Quality content, on-page optimization, high reputation links, sound page loading speed and good social signals will always win you organic traffic. However, here’s some tips to survive “son of Florida” if it comes.
Concentrate on quality, don’t over do ads and get rid of dead links and crawl errors. Add social buttons, particularly the Plus One button, and get your face in Google’s search results.