By Nick James, Fresh Business Thinking

In early 2011 search engine giant Google started to make a series of significant changes to its search results algorithm that penalised low quality sites and rewarded high quality sites.

Named after a Google engineer the main objective of the ‘Panda’ update was to try and eliminate ‘webspam’ that clutters up search results. Google’s mission is ‘to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ and websites that cheat their way to the top of the search results were targeted and penalised.

Google states that it is getting; “better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy words—the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments.”

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team said; “Attention has shifted to “content farms,”” which are sites with shallow or low-quality content.

This is great news for sites that have good quality content that is relevant to the ‘search’ query as ‘quality’ is now a core factor in how highly a site ranks. At the same time this is bad news for organisations that might have unwittingly employed an SEO (search engine optimisation) expert who has recommended ‘black hat’ techniques (those techniques of which search engines do not approve) such as key word stuffing.

Fresh Content

In November of last year (2011) Google also added a ‘Freshness Update’ stating that they would ‘prioritize recent and timely results’. Again this is aimed at improving the user experience – as stated on the official Google blog ‘Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.’

So the challenge for websites that want to get ‘found’ on Google and the major search engines is to create regular, fresh content that is relevant, unique and most importantly written for ‘people’ not search engines. The reward for your labours is that the by product of good quality, fresh content is users linking to it from their sites, blogs and social media feeds, and these links in their turn will further improve your own site’s search results.

Nick James will be speaking at The Online Business Makeover at Microsoft HQ London on 12th March 2012. To find out more about top content for search engines and actual readers, as well as how to use social media to boost your online presence, book your discounted early bird ticket today!

Special pre-launch offer until 5pm TODAY (19th Jan 2012) only – 2 tickets for £99+VAT! (Usual price £299+VAT per person) Don’t miss this very special offer – BOOK NOW!

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