Over the past year Google has released two major updates to its search algorithm (that’s just a fancy term for the computer code Google uses to figure out where pages should rank for a given search). Actually, Google makes small changes to this algorithm all the time. It is important to note that Google never provides specifics about its algorithm. So, SEO researchers need time to figure out exactly what they have done and what impact it might have.

The first update introduced, called Panda, was an attempt to remove so called “content farms” from the search results. These sites produced thousands of low quality articles on highly targeted topics.

The second update, called Penguin, was an attempt to remove sites that used spammy SEO techniques from the search results.

So, how does this impact you? It is important to understand exactly what Google is now looking for. First, Google wants to rank high quality sites that provides users with an excellent experience. Google is looking for sites that have unique, high quality content related to the search terms. Google typically likes sites that keep content fresh. If your site does not have a blog (or you have not used it lately) it’s time to start.

They also want the site to work correctly (load fast, no errors, etc.). Local Traffic Builder can conduct an SEO audit on your site to help identify problem areas.

As always Google is also looking for links back to your site. Not just direct links, but the entire chain of links that point back to your site. Links from high quality sites are best.

In addition, Google is now also considering social media signals. For example, more likes on Facebook or more Twitter followers will help rank your site higher. If you do not currently use social media now it the time. For the wedding industry Facebook and Pinterest are now a must have.  Finally, as Google makes changes you might see your site’s rankings change (we call this dancing). Sometimes these changes improve your rankings and sometime not. The key is not to panic. Once the rankings settle down after a change you can analyze the results (if you are a Local Traffic Builder SEO client then we do this for you) and make any changes needed.