What would you say is common between a Panda and a Penguin? Other than the fact that both are black and white! Anyone keeping tabs on the SEO world would know that Panda and Penguin were Google’s way of giving websites across the internet a dose of reality. Google updates its ranking algorithms from time to time to sort through the millions of pages pulled up in its search results. Panda, launched in February 2011 and its successor Penguin which went live in April 2012 were two such ground breaking updates from Google that changed the entire landscape of the search engine’s results.
The Panda update was aimed at websites with poor quality content and reportedly affected the rankings of nearly 12% of search results by pulling down the rankings of sites with doubtful content quality. This was followed by the Penguin update a.k.a the webspam algorithm update which, to quote Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Webspam team was to “decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines”. The popularity of websites with black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing, over optimized anchor text, creating duplicate content deliberately, took a nosedive with each passing update, forcing them to bring in much needed improvements in order to survive.goog
And now, the online world is abuzz with another possible addition to all these- Google Author Rank and Authorship. The history of this newest entrant can be traced right back to 2005 when Google filed a patent application for what was termed as Agent Rank. This concept took a backseat then due to the lack of a reliable system to identify and track these “agents” or authors. With the launch of Google Plus, this problem was easily resolved and Google now had a database of all content creators prowling the web (provided they have an active Google + account of course!).
Google Authorship introduced in August 2011 helps you link all your original content spread out across the web to a single point of contact- your Google+ profile. Based on the popularity of your content on a specific topic, which will likely be measured through number of shares, likes, tweets, mentions (and the list goes on!), your Author Rank or score for that topic would increase, giving you your deserved share of the limelight within search results. Also, if someone spends enough time reading through your content, Google takes things a step further the next time he returns to the search results, by displaying other content generated by you as well.
So what does all this mean to content creators? Though too early to measure the impact of these changes fully, one aspect is clear- Making sure your content is original and relevant, and is weaved keeping these upcoming changes in mind, will be the key to ensure that you are not left behind in the content race when the time comes!