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Are SME's prepared for Google updates?

Over the past 18 months Google has quietly been revolutionising the way search engine results have been determined and all too often small business owners are unaware of the pitfalls.

This latest update is reminiscent of Penguin 1.0 which struck in April 2012 which caused major shock waves through the SEO community, and like several smaller ‘tremors’ in between, this latest update continues Google’s efforts to decrease the search engine visibility of sites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

You may have noticed your sites rankings fluctuating a bit over the last month, but this pattern is starting to settle down revealing a continue pattern of progression.

While the real formula for rankings are unknown to all but those in Google’s inner sanctum, a rough yardstick approach can be applied to what Google considered as beyond “normal” optimisation patterns. Avoiding the same anchor text on back links, having lots of poor quality, unrelated links back to your website, copying content from other sites or stuffing keywords on web pages are all tactics that the search engine giant has found out.

There’s no getting away from it. Google is rewarding sites that offer fresh, unique and relevant content, better still content shared across social media as their metric for ranking sites. Plus there is increasing evidence that the user experience of a site will help determine rankings so check up on responsive design. As predicted in our digital trends for SME preview at the start of the year, mobile and tablet is fast becoming the most used form of internet browsing, and many websites giving users an awkward experience on these platforms will soon be in need of an upgrade to maintain visibility on Google.  Neil Baker, Marketing lead at Manchester based Addpeople,