You do NOT need to be an A1WebStats subscriber to benefit from this blog.  Google Analytics is perfectly adequate for this basic level of analysis.

The Google Zoo

It’s been some time since the Google Penguin and Panda updates and there are still many companies running around panicked that their SEO has been hit.

Whatever form of major update Google do, it generally has a name.  However, there are numerous ongoing updates that aren’t talked about much and that aren’t high profile.  But they still have an impact on SEO.

Our view is that it doesn’t really matter what Google call their updates.  What matters is that you’re in one of the following positions:

  1. You’re not affected by any such updates.
  2. You’re affected, know it quickly, and can respond to it.

You’re not affected

Lucky you!  It probably means that either:

  1. You’ve not used any frowned-upon methods to drive traffic to your website, or;
  2. Your website has low traffic in the first place!

You’re affected and know it quickly

Here we can use the example of two very different A1WebStats subscribers …

Subscriber 1

Had been using A1WebStats for 7 months and was (sensibly) keeping a close eye on their overall level of website traffic, and, more importantly, the levels of traffic landing on individual pages that were important to them.

From month to month, Subscriber 1 kept a spreadsheet of their important landing pages and how many people had entered via those pages during each month.  They added in a graph to see if there were any positive or negative changes over time.

Because of some historical poor quality SEO work, the Google changes hit their overall search engine positioning and in particular, the numbers of people landing on important pages.  They were lucky (we would say “had the foresight”) that they were tracking their traffic closely because they were able to jump onto the problem quickly when it showed up in their recorded statistics/graphs.

Subscriber 2

Had been using A1WebStats for a bit longer (9 months) but was purely interested in the companies that visited their website.  Although it had been recommended, they didn’t want to keep statistics related to traffic going to their website pages overall, nor to individual pages.

What happened here was that they got hit by the Google update but didn’t know it.  It took them a few months to come to us with words to the effect of “we don’t think your system is tracking companies properly” and when we dug into it we saw that it was purely a case that they were getting less traffic due to being penalised by Google for SEO methods that had been used.

Had they been recording information about overall website traffic and numbers of people landing on certain pages, they could have discovered the problem and reacted a lot sooner, saving them a lot of lost business through the worsened Google results positioning.

The moral of the story

SEO methods that have worked in the past don’t work now.   Some of the methods that work now won’t work in the future.  Google is always changing the ‘game’.

What’s important is for any business to be routinely recording data related to overall website traffic.  It’s best practice and regardless of who’s ‘fault’ it is that a website has been hit by a Google change, early awareness means that actions can be taken before the damage becomes too great.

For those businesses that aren’t using their website statistics to monitor certain patterns (even at a basic level), there’s another one from the ‘Google Zoo’ that applies (as it did with Subscriber 2) …

Name of Update: Google Ostrich

Affects: companies with their heads in the sand

Feeds on: complacency

Frequency: ongoing

Impact: loss of business

Fixes: change of attitude within the business

Posted in SEO

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