As an attorney, or any profession in the service industry, your mission is to provide something of value to your customers. Why should your website be any different? With Google’s updates over the years, specifically Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, and Pigeon, their goal was to do just that. Better serve their customers through search.
Imagine walking through a Zoo with no cages. For those of you who need help painting that picture, it’s like stumbling into the world of Jumanji.
Now, I know what your thinking, Google’s zoo animals seem harmless and perhaps this zoo would be an exception to the rule of cage. That type of thinking is exactly what will hurt you in the end. Let’s start our tour!
This cute cuddly bear seems harmless, but do not be fooled by its appearance. The Panda algorithm was first created back in 2011 designed to remove low quality websites with copied or duplicated content from the search results. So if your website is or was one of those providing stolen content you’re like a piece of bamboo in a rock garden. That Panda is hungry and you will be eaten.
The Google Panda’s belly never seems to be satisfied. This algorithm likes to revisit on occasion either looking for websites he missed or to give forgiveness to those he mauled the first go around. Depending on the quality of your content, this could be fatal, or on a lighter note, it could be something to celebrate. Whether you’ve gone to great lengths cleaning up your websites content or not, anticipating the Panda’s return is one in the same. After all, it is still a bear. No matter how badly you want to cuddle that ball of fluff.
Bundle up because the temperature is about to drop. Next we’ll visit the Google Penguin. These little guys are warm blooded like people yet they can survive arctic temperatures. These strong, flightless birds came to the Google zoo in 2012 and they feast on spammy links. The more links you build to your site just to get ahead, the colder it gets and there’s no question who will and won’t survive.
The Google Penguin is similar to the Panda in the fact that they too give you a second chance to regain rankings if you take action. The best way to do so is by removing all spammy links that your site is connected too by using the link disavow tool in Webmaster tools. Then again, these are merely zoo guidelines to improve your visit; you have the agency whether or not to follow them. That is if you want to rank or not. Google wants to ensure their searchers aren’t lead astray and this is simply another algorithm doing just that.
Now we’ll visit the Google Hummingbird. A beautiful creature that moves swiftly and at times can be difficult to see. This little bird quickly flies over your websites content checking if you provide relevant and credible content vs keyword stuffing with one goal in mind, which is to rank for those keywords. The hummingbird reminds us to step back and think about our customers and how we can best answer their questions instead of looking for ways to manipulate the system just to improve our own rankings.
Hummingbirds are not only known for their lightning speed, but for their memories. Their brains are larger in comparison to body size than any other bird. They remember the location of every flower in their territory and when exactly to return once more nectar is generated. Google couldn’t have chosen a better bird. Because of the Google Hummingbird, searchers long tail query results have provided better results even if the specific page is not optimized for it. This means your search results have improved directing you to a specific page including the information you are searching for rather than a page that happens to include that keyword yet totally irrelevant to the subject. Now that just makes sense! Don’t think once the Hummingbird flies past your site that you are free to keyword stuff again, they remember where you are and they will be back.
What is the first thing you think of when you see a pigeon above? “Please don’t poop on me!” Worry not, for the Google Pigeon’s job is not to poop on you unexpectedly, but to rearrange the organic search rankings and the map pack in hopes of providing more relevant and accurate results, which in some cases does feel like it just pooped on you.
Though the Pigeon may seem scary at first, it may not be if we strive to better understand this creature. One of the ways is by making sure you continue optimizing your social media. If you have positive reviews, share them on Google+, Twitter, FB, or Linkedin, and the Google Pigeon will notice. We all know the importance of ranking locally for our niche market, and we know the Google Pigeon wants to provide accurate search results for their searchers. All we can do is make sure our NAP (name, address, & phone) is correctly listed and widely shared.
Though I am a huge fan of Jumanji and find it entertaining, in real life I appreciate viewing wild animals through steel cages, specifically at the Google Zoo. Like any zoo, the best way to enjoy your time there is by following the rules. Google has changed the game in search by giving us specific rules/guidelines to follow. It can be difficult at times to be following Google’s rules to a T and still not see your business ranking #1 which can lead you to start thinking of ways to cheat.
My advice to you is to just stick to the rules, add original, fresh content. Be smart with your keywords and how you utilize them. Focus on your targeted audience and try to step into their shoes when doing so. A wise Disney character once shared with me the unforgettable phrase, “Cheetah’s never prosper”. Keep this in mind as you work with an SEO company and help them with the direction you want your website to take. The Google Zoo is a vast growing entity; there is no saying what species of animal they might add to their assemblage in the future.