Webtalk with Andrew Firth

Welcome to my monthly column, helping Kirklees businesses to achieve more from websites, by attracting more visitors, selling more products and communicating more effectively. 


Last month I discussed changes to the law surrounding cookies, an aspect of websites that has come under the scrutiny of the privacy laws, but one that is essential to the smooth operation of a site by its visitors.

This month I am going to discuss the latest Google update that has really shaken up the search engines results and left many website owners with a huge reduction in their web traffic.


The ‘Penguin update’

On April 24 Google released their first major update of the year, and just like last year’s Panda update many websites have experienced a huge positional shift.

One of the key changes that this update has had is that Google is now looking for websites to have a large proportion of their backlinks constructed in a natural format – ie not keywordrich. This means that websites should have a high proportion of their links containing nondescript anchor text eg ‘click here’, ‘go to website’ etc.

Sources suggest that websites where more than 50 per cent of their inbound links are keyword rich may have large proportions of their links devalued.

These changes have had massive repercussions, and there is even a petition available to try and get Google to consider reversing the update.

As always Google maintain that their only concern is in delivering the most relevant traffic to a search query.

The update has caused uproar as whitehat SEO companies have continuously strived to provide naturallooking link profiles, this further step towards an even greater natural appearance looks set to undermine significant volumes of work.


What can you do?

But is it all doom and gloom? Well, it is likely that the update will be refined over the coming months as usual, so expect further turbulence in rankings. The best way to begin to stabilise your website is to start to build noncontextual linking into your strategy, combining keywordrich and nondescript in roughly even amounts.

Be careful not sway too far the other way, this mistake will likely lead to penalties for overoptimisation.

As with all Google updates it is very important not to panic, the best way to navigate through is by changing the linkbuilding strategy to suit and overtime the positions will begin to improve.

It is impossible to reverse the effect and so kneejerk reactions are likely to be even more damaging. These changes are causing links to be devalued, as far as we are aware sites are not being penalised.

Remember – Google’s masterplan is to provide the most relevant results to the searcher by ranking websites based on recommendation. The noncontextual linking requirement has always been there; ensure that it is now a key part of your SEO company’s strategy.

To read more on this and other subjects, visit the blog at www.ascensor.co.uk/blog.

For more information contact andrew@ascensor.co.uk.

Follow me on Twitter: @andrewjfirth

Connect on LinkedIn: andrewjfirth


Ascensor are a full service website design, ecommerce and search engine marketing company.

For a free, noobligation website review contact sales@ascensor.co.uk.

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