Running an online business in 2013 got pretty interesting.  Google seemed to make algorithm changes each month and they were not small. Significant changes with Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird left even the sharpest SEO guru’s confused. 

Understanding these changes was not the only challenge.  Let’s talk about the actual areas that were and are impacted by the Google algorithm and filter changes and what a business owner can do to survive and thrive in 2014.

Let’s take them one at a time.

Penguin launched April 24 2012 and was updated in 2013. The target was Web spam. Sites that were not following the guidelines that Google set and were manipulating Google rankings. Sites were penalized for low quality.

Panda launched Feb 24 2011 and was updated in 2012. The target was low quality content.

Hummingbird was launched August 2013 and was an entire change of the ranking algorithm. The goal was to get behind the keywords and actually understand search intent.

If you think this isn’t fair then you can thank those webmasters that abused the system. Packing keywords on junk pages – what did you think Google was going to do? 

Each change that Google made affects your SERPS (search engine results page).

Here are some guidelines you may want to make sure you’re using with your website.

The content on your site is more and more important. Each update that gets rolled out shows us that having relevant, deep content is not going to change. If you don’t have great content then you will most likely not win the race to the top page of Google.

For pages that have duplicate content you may want to really spend a few minutes to write better information about the page and its purpose.  Here is a quick check list you may want to use for each page.

  • Is the content on the page detailed and does it offer valuable information for the intended readers?
  • Is there content on each page? A Video/Image page or a page that has an info graphic that is not followed up with content will look like a very poorly written page to the search engines. If Google can’t read content then they won’t rank you on that content.
  • Did you use videos and images to better make your point on the pages?
  • Do your images have relevant title tags?
  • Does the content on this page have the same content on each of the other pages? Duplicate content is not going to impress the search engines. 
  • Did you write more than a few sentences? One sentence with a keyword is not a good long term strategy. 
  • Did you structure your page titles-URL’s and Meta descriptions for the right search terms?  If you’re not using words that people are searching for on your site then you most certainly will not be getting traffic.  You must let Google know that your pages contain the information that your customers are searching for.  (Keyword research).

Remember – your competitors are spending time and money to make their sites better than yours so they can capture the prize.  The prize is organic traffic and it’s a game changer when your business can earn a top spot on a search result.

Let’s talk about Keywords and Keyword stuffing.

First you need to understand that most search engines no longer pay attention to your keywords. As a developer I look at sites all day that have spent a considerable amount of time on very long lists of keywords.  Most of the keywords are not even on the pages to begin with but you are not gaining traffic from your keywords so………

What is a keyword?

A keyword is what you type into a search bar to find what you’re looking for.  Most people don’t just type in one word so trying to rank for “shoes” or “tools” is not really the best strategy.  If you really want your customers and clients to find your business online then you need to think like they think and take time to do your research so you can see how your type of service or product is being searched.

What is keyword stuffing?

(Shoes! We have shoes! Shoes for everyone! Come see our shoes! Do you want shoes?) That would be pushing the limits on keyword stuffing.  With the new changes you can really write your content in a more natural way, in fact they want you to do this.  Google understands that flip flops, boots and galoshes are “shoes”.  So if you write content that have the keyword but also give other words that mean shoes you will be better off.

Take advantage of the word “virtual”.

Your website is virtual real estate. (Unless you’ve gone with a “free” site that limits your pages).  Every single page on your site is an opportunity to be found in the search results for that page.

If you try to jam all your keywords on one page and hope that Google brings your site up for all of them then you’ve not paid attention to any search results.

People don’t tend to search for EVERYTHING.  They tend to search for specific things. You wouldn’t type in “hot dogs, candles, tanning lotion, dog bones and wine”, so why would you create your pages to try to rank for everything you offer?

Each page is allowed 1 title – 1 URL – 1 Meta description.  Use this to your advantage and your results will be much better.

Bottom line is you can’t fake it anymore. 


Write great content

Write content for your customers in a way they can understand

Give them real benefit with your content, not just a sales pitch

Links will come naturally if you write good content


Complete Web Solutions is dedicated to educating our clients about how their websites can be used to build success.  If any of the areas above are not clear or you’d like to understand more or have questions, call us. 719 302-5029, we never charge to help a business owner understand their website.