Google released the Penguin Update on April 24th which is aimed to combat "spammy" web pages. If your site is over optimized it may be affected by this update. The update addresses website content & back links:
Content: Each individual page must be Unique and Duplicate Content across your pages should be avoided at all costs. Keyword stuffing & keyword cloaking will result in penalties and lower rankings. When you look at (read) any page in your site, does it sound 'natural' or is the same information repeated with slight variation? Is ALL of the content on your page about one specific topic or "keyword phrase" ? As an example we always tell clients to make their blogs very focused on one subject/topic because each blog entry is a single page in the eyes of search engines - each blog has its own url. This is why properly structured blogs rank so well and generally very quickly. By making each individual page in your site about one topic/subject/keyword phrase you are not only making it easy for a site visitor to know what the page is about, you are making it easy for SEARCH ENGINES to know what the page is about and you will be ranked accordingly. The goal has been and will always be: Readable, Quality, Focused Content.
Backlinks: Anchor Text vs. Link Source : The penguin update appears to be assigning more "Quality" to the Link Source as opposed to the Anchor Text and for good reason. It has always been relatively easy to manipulate the anchor text of a link, which until now has always been an important factor in Ranking Results(SERP). With todays technology it is easier to determine the "Quality" and "Relevance" of a site that a link originates from. It is more difficult to manipulate the source of al link so more WEIGHT is being given to Link Source vs Anchor Text. Many Link Building companies will continue to come with creative ways to get around this latest update and will often get results - until the next update. You can take the rollercoaster route OR you can simply go after Quality Link Sources , ideally within your niche. One of the best places to find these links is your top ranking competitors. If your competitor has better ranking for a given keyword, chances are they have more QUALITY links than you do. Reverse engineering competitors linking strategies has been a tried and true technique for years and this will not change any time soon.
How can you tell if your site took a "hit" ? By looking at your "Search" traffic between April 15 and April 30th. If there is a drop of more than 20%, chances are good that your site needs to be adjusted. If you are an SEO client, we are already evaluating your site through analytics and webmasters to see if any adjustments need to be made. Over the past 30 days we have also been updating the following for all SEO clients : Page Titles, Meta Description, Meta Tags. This was done in anticipation of the Penguin Update. If you have any questions or concerns about your website and the recent Google update please contact us.