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Some of our customers might have noticed a sudden increase or decrease in search traffic from Google this past week.

This could be the result of Google’s first official update of 2013.

The 24th “Panda” update was confirmed by Google to have occurred on January 22, 2013.

Google claims that 1.2% of queries were effected.

There has been lots of chatter about an update that also occurred on January 17 – 18, 2013, but Google did not confirm that.

For those that are interested, you can view the entire Google Algorithm Change history on SEOmoz.

As a quick summary of Google’s main algorithm changes, there is Penguin and Panda. If your site was hit by this recent update or a past update, these are the things to watch for…

For Penguin
Look for a lot of anchor text (which is the clickable text that links to your website) in your back link profile that are not branded, but rather an exact match of your target keywords. For example, if your site was Zappos.com but the majority of your back links were for the anchor text “shoes” and not “Zappos” this would raise a red flag. This is not to say that these links are bad (or spammy) and they could be entirely legitimate, but when the Google Algorithm looks at them (in relation to your branded links) it can still contribute to triggering Penguin. In addition, look at your site for “keyword stuffing”. This is the act of over-optimizing your site and really jamming your keywords into titles, descriptions, meta tags, internal anchor links. If your site title is “keyword & keyword & keyword & keyword” then you’re on the wrong track.

For Panda
Look for lots of pages with “thin” content or very similar content. This could often take the shape of really short articles or an article that looks like it could be pieces of a different article just “re-spun” to try to trick Google into thinking it’s new content. Take a look in Google Analytics for pages that have a very high bounce rate or that seem to get no traffic at all. Remember, Google wants to bring people to good quality content, so if your site is serving up pages that don’t provide that, expect Google to no longer send people your way.

 

When I was playing hockey last week, I mentioned in the locker room that Google had done this update (…yes, I’m that cool in my hockey locker room!) and was emphasizing the importance behind building high quality links to your website. My very good friend and teacher extraordinaire, Jeff Borsuk, was quick to offer up his help. Here are the pictures of the link he created for Elite Email… =)

Building Links in School Building-Links-in-School-2

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