Google SEO SEO Rankings

What's hot in search? Staying ahead of Google


By The Drum Team, Editorial

October 31, 2014 | 3 min read

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From content to link building to PPC, the fast-moving world of search marketing shows no signs of slowing. To kick off The Drum’s search focus, we take a look at some of the most topical issues in the space, from SEO tips for content marketers to avoiding a Google penalty, plus whether or not the PPC model needs a reinvention.

In the last month, Google has refreshed its Panda (penalising thin content) and Penguin (tackling unnatural backlinks) algorithms. As part of the search giant’s move to reward high-quality content, the Panda algorithm refreshes regularly, with the majority of large brands unaffected.

Gabrio Linari, SEO account director at The Search Agency, says: “Panda 4.1 is a softer update that affected three to five per cent of queries. The biggest losers of this update have been affiliate marketers, sites with very thin content ranking for competitive keywords while trying to drive users to partner websites (like Amazon), affiliates with blank and/or broken pages, doorway pages and content farms (believe it or not, in 2014).”

So those with innovative, solid content strategies shouldn’t worry, right? “Sites that are still doing old school tricks and are trying to game Google, are still in trouble,” says Linari.

David Freeman, head of SEO, Havas Media, agrees. “Smaller brands and affiliates that focus too much on creating copy for search engines are still falling foul of this algorithm. To avoid the wrath of Panda, brands must focus on creating content that adds value and engages the user.”

When it comes to Penguin, honesty is the best policy for brands looking to ensure they are not affected by the data refresh, which rolled out mid- October. Malcolm Slade, SEO project manager at Epiphany, advises gathering and enriching backlink data, submitting a disavow file and contacting webmasters to “remove as many offending links as possible”. In addition, brands should keep an eye on Google Webmaster Tools.

“You will be surprised how often new links will appear under Google Webmaster Tools’ linking sites data, that hadn’t been found by any of the link discovery tools,” says Slade. “Grab the data and check it against your original set. If there are any new additions, audit them and amend your disavow file appropriately.”

Here are some SEO tips for content marketers from experts at iCrossing, Found, Jellyfish and iProspect.

This piece was originally published within The Drum magazine's 29 October edition, which is available to purchase online.

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The Search Agency is a global, full service, specialist search marketing agency providing SEO, PPC, Display, Social Media, Content Marketing and Consumer Experience. 


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