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What the Doctor Ordered: Your Yearly Google Algorithm Update Checkup (2016 Edition) by Glenn Gabe - #SEJSummit NY

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What in the heck is going on with Penguin, Panda, and Google’s Quality Updates (aka Phantom)? How are they impacting your SEO efforts now? Glenn will cover everything you need to know about Google’s major algorithm updates in 2016. Learn what each algorithm update is targeting, so you can avoid negative impact and increase rankings and traffic.

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What the Doctor Ordered: Your Yearly Google Algorithm Update Checkup (2016 Edition) by Glenn Gabe - #SEJSummit NY

  1. 1. What the Doctor Ordered: Your Yearly Google Algorithm Update Checkup (2016 Edition) Glenn Gabe of GSQi #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  2. 2. About Me 1) President of G-Squared Interactive. 2) Focus heavily on algorithm updates, technical SEO, and other mysterious disturbances in the force. 3) 98% of my work is assisting companies facing serious challenges with Google (and SEO). #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  3. 3. #SEJSummit @glenngabe Like when this happens: I help a lot of people like her!
  4. 4. 3 Takeaways 1) Understand major algorithm updates that rolled out in 2016. 2) Learn the signature of each algorithm. 3) Know how to avoid negative impact. #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  5. 5. With Google, Change Is Constant #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Google pushes between 500 and 1,000 changes every year. • Some are major, some are minor. • I’m covering major algorithm changes (big shifts in rankings). • BTW, Google can, and will, roll out multiple algo updates at one time.
  6. 6. Major Google Algorithms To Know In 2016 #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Panda • Google’s Quality Updates (AKA Phantom) • Penguin • Bonus “Popup” Slide
  7. 7. What’s A Major Shift?? #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Significant increases or decreases in rankings and traffic at one time. • As the algorithm update rolls out, the earth shakes. • Like this:
  8. 8. What’s A Major Shift?? #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Or this:
  9. 9. What’s A Major Shift?? #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Or this:
  10. 10. What’s A Major Shift?? #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Or this:
  11. 11. Brilliant -> Google’s Object Oriented Approach #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Google can craft algos in a lab and roll them out separately (as a filter). • Examples: Panda and Penguin of the past. • An object-oriented approach to fighting webspam and low-quality content. • But that caused significant movement all on one day. • Which led to webmasters screaming bloody murder. • Google doesn’t like that…
  12. 12. Core vs. Non-core #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Google’s Core Ranking Algorithm is trusted. • Non-core algos are rolled out separately (and applied as a filter). • Typically harder to identify core ranking algo changes, since it is constantly running, with many moving parts (200+ factors). • Core does not mean real-time.
  13. 13. Google Panda #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  14. 14. Google Panda #SEJSummit @glenngabe • First released in February of 2011. • Targets low-quality content. • HUGE shifts in rankings and traffic with each update/refresh. • Sites could lose 60-70% of their organic search traffic overnight. • The worst case I saw was a 91% drop overnight. • Something changed significantly (IMO) with Panda 4.2 and beyond.
  15. 15. The Wrath of Panda #SEJSummit @glenngabe Panda 4.0
  16. 16. The Monetization Team… #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  17. 17. Panda Remediation Could Pay Off #SEJSummit @glenngabe Panda 4.1 10/24/14 Panda Update
  18. 18. The Monetization Team… #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  19. 19. Panda in 2016 #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Now part of Google’s core algorithm, but not real-time. • It’s much, much different than past Panda(s). • Rolls out slowly (and can take months for each cycle to complete). • Nearly impossible to isolate now. • Early March of 2016 and late October of 2016 could very well have been Panda. • And Google loves that it’s hard to isolate.
  20. 20. Gary Illyes (Recently) About Panda #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Google doesn’t view Panda as a penalty. • Wants to make sure content ranking highly can fulfill user expectations. • Will adjust sites prominently ranking that shouldn’t be. “We want users to find the right information (correct information) based on their query. So, we have to adjust those overly-prominent sites.”
  21. 21. How To Avoid Google Panda • Always meet or exceed user expectations. • Improve or remove low-quality content. • Check top landing pages from Google and queries leading to those pages. • Get objective feedback. • 23 questions from Google. • Perform crawl analysis and audit through the lens of Panda. #SEJSummit @glenngabe Google’s 23 Questions:
  22. 22. Google’s Quality Updates (AKA Phantom) #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  23. 23. Google’s Quality Updates (AKA Phantom) #SEJSummit @glenngabe • First uncovered in May of 2015 (by me). • A confirmed change to how Google assesses “quality”. • That’s a HUGE statement. • Massive movement in the SERPs. • Big impact on Google organic search traffic.
  24. 24. Phantom Hits Can Be Huge #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  25. 25. The Monetization Team… #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  26. 26. And Phantom Gains Can Be Big #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  27. 27. And Phantom Gains Can Be Big #SEJSummit @glenngabe Phantom 3 Jan 2016 Quality Update
  28. 28. The Monetization Team… #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  29. 29. Google’s Quality Updates – Phantom Connection #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Since May of 2015, we’ve seen five more quality updates. • Sep 2015, Nov 2015, Jan 2016, June 2016, and Sep 2016. • The connection was extremely apparent. For example:
  30. 30. More About Phantom #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Seems to require a refresh (happening every few months). • Targets “low-quality user engagement” (which could include low-quality content.) • Major overlap with old-school Panda (IMO). • New factors can be added over time… or it could be retired… or moved to real-time… • Welcome to Google Land. :)
  31. 31. Phantom and Low-Quality User Engagement “Hell hath no fury like a user scorned.” #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Disorganized and broken UI. • Aggressive & Deceptive ads. • Popups and interstitials. • Render issues. • Low-quality supplementary content. • And more. • Read Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines
  32. 32. How To Avoid Google Phantom #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Strong user experience + high quality content = winning combination. User happiness wins. • Get objective feedback. • Perform crawl analysis and audit through lens of Phantom. • Cut down on ad aggressiveness and excessive monetization. • Don’t deceive users. • Ensure Google can accurately see your content.
  33. 33. Google Penguin #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  34. 34. Google Penguin #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Launched in April of 2012 as part of an algo sandwich. • Webspam algorithm that heavily targets unnatural links. • Was a site-level demotion. • Crushed many sites (and many never recovered). • Left the door open to negative SEO.
  35. 35. Google Penguin Heavily Targets Unnatural Links #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  36. 36. Google Penguin – Rich Anchor Text Links #SEJSummit @glenngabe Link Profile = High % of Spammy Links With a High % of Rich Anchor Text
  37. 37. But Penguin Ran Into Problems #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Penguin morphed into a broken algorithm. • Google clearly had problems with it over the years… • We went 1+ year in between Penguin 2.1 and 3. • Then almost 2 years in between 3 and 4. • But Google said that 4.0 was going to be different... • And Google was right!
  38. 38. Penguin 4.0 – A Major Shift For Penguin #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Announced on 9/23/16. • Devalues spam versus “penalizing” it. • That’s a HUGE change. • Previous Penguin penalties/suppression were removed! • Knocks out negative SEO threat. • Questions remain about using disavow file. • Penguin has a mechanism built in to deal with “manipulation”. Beware.
  39. 39. Penguin 4.0 Movement #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Movement first seen in mid-September (around 9/13). • Then more in late September as Google rolled out Penguin in stages (and previous Penguin suppression was removed). • For example:
  40. 40. Penguin 4.0 Movement - Up #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  41. 41. Penguin 4.0 Movement - Up #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  42. 42. Penguin 4.0 Movement - Down #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  43. 43. Penguin 4.0 Movement - Down #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  44. 44. Penguin Movement - Rankings #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  45. 45. More About Penguin 4.0 #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Runs in real-time. • Spammy links will be devalued on the fly. • More granular versus site-level demotion. • Since it’s running in real-time, will be hard to identify movement beyond initial rollout. • John Mueller said, “Good luck” identifying impact from Penguin over time. • Gary Illyes recently clarified the “webspam” aspect of Penguin. It’s at the source!
  46. 46. Avoiding Damage From Unnatural Links #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Penguin devalues spam, but there are other link algos + manual actions. • Continually review your inbound links (monthly). • Remove unnatural links if you can… • Still use the disavow file, when needed, although less needed for Penguin now. • Always look to build amazing content, exceed user expectations, which can help build fresh, powerful links. Reviewing “new” links in Majestic
  47. 47. Bonus: Who else hates popups? #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  48. 48. Bonus! Popup Algo - January 2017 #SEJSummit @glenngabe • Mobile popup algorithm launching in 1/2017. • Can demote any mobile page displaying a popup or interstitial when users visit from Search. • Horrible user experience. • But will this move to desktop too? Many hope so. • Reminder: There’s still a mobile-friendly algorithm running in real-time.
  49. 49. OK, ready for 2017? #SEJSummit @glenngabe
  50. 50. What the Doctor Ordered: Your Yearly Google Algorithm Update Checkup (2016 Edition) Glenn Gabe of GSQi #SEJSummit @glenngabe

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