About a couple of weeks ago Google announced an important update relating to websites without HTTPS featuring on Chrome during search activities. It appears many website owners still cannot get the message correctly. The reality is that the update will definitely affect two disciplines, namely SEO rankings and user experience. Chrome users have been experiencing and feeling these changes especially about unencrypted pages. This is neither good for user experience, especially during their buying journey. Who wants to buy from a website that could be compromised at any time?
Failure to encrypt your URL will eventually result in loss of SEO rankings, traffic, income and clients. Google is constantly informing users about websites without a security certificate. However, this is only relevant to chrome users. Other browsers are not affected.
What Does This Mean For SEO And Website Owners?
It is a call for SEO’s to Scale up their knowledge and assist their clients in the process. SEO is going to put many so called “SEO Specialist” to the test of their life time.
Many hosts now offer free SSL certificate through “Let’s encrypt.” Ask your hosf for it and if they have not installed it, ask them why? This is all you need to make good to the damage on user experience already created.
Websites that are still moved or shaken to switch to https:// will suffer tremendously. Then comes Google’s mobile-first-approach, boy, I do not know what to say. Research has shown that Googles top traffic is from handheld devices and specifically mobile. Upgrade now and dance to the music or meet with Googles’ wrath on your search journey.
If your website is still not encrypted, have you discovered a surge in bounce rate and cart abandonment? Who would like to input his or her bank card details on a website that “Google” has identified and hammered as not save for business? It is for you to decide. I can only educate.
To those that are not well informed; Google has also stumped up a major release, creating a grave for many small businesses with little or no technological prowess. Will be covering this topc later on.
How To Identify Google Penalty And Find Solutions
Website owners dread Google penalties since this is the worst thing that can ever happen to their operations. However, there are ways you can identify this problem and also rectify it to put your website back on track and improve rankings. Here is how to know if your website was penalized.
Google Webmaster Tools (GWT)
You can easily tell if your site has been penalized with GWT. This will help you know whether you have a manual Google penalty. You only need to login to your GWT account then click “Search Traffic”. Click on the “Manual Actions” option. A window will then display that will state if you have any Google penalty or not. In most cases, websites will be penalized because their backlink’s profile doesn’t look natural.
After you have reviewed your site’s organic traffic chart, it should be easy to detect a change in your website’s ranking. So you should proceed to identify the date on which the change took place. Try and look on industry leading, SEO websites to confirm if there is anything that was rolled out on the day the changes occurred.
Moz Algorithm Update
Normally, Moz automatically provides an updated list of official and unofficial updates to Google’s algorithm. If you don’t have Google Analytics or GWT implemented with your website, then this could be a resourceful tool to use. Since this list dates all the way back to 2000, it is efficient to provide you with a starting point and give you an insight of what happened during the time of your impact.
There are two major updates Google has recently done. They include:
- Panda— This targets sites that have duplicate content and are of low quality.
- Penguin—This targets websites that have over optimized anchor texts.
How To Recover From Panda
Panda is a site-wide quality algorithm that will detect low-quality content. But over the years, it has graduated from just looking for low-quality content to also ranking high-quality content. It is thus important to have high-quality content.
To recover from this, you should first identify the most common quality issues page by page. Evaluate if that page is the best on the internet for the topic. After you have identified the quality issues, correct them. Make sure you correct the content length, copied content and missing critical site-wide information. It is important to understand that although a single element can trigger Panda penalty, a combination of all elements can also determine your quality score and influence the penalty.
Panda will in most cases require drastic changes to the header, footer, navigation and content of the website. In some instances, webmasters will be required to update hundreds of pages while others will do so to a few. So to speed up your recovery, know exactly what to update.
After you have fixed your site, give Googlebot enough time to recrawl your site and redo a quality check. So if you have successfully removed the Panda penalty, you will see traffic increase within 48 hours after you have received a new score.
How To Recover From Penguin
Penguin looks at attempts to manipulate search engine rankings. It will thus detect unnatural links that point to your website. So to recover from this, you will need to remove the links that harm your page. First, you have to locate the page and keyword being penalized. However, a good SEO company should be able to help if you subscribe to a monthly SEO package or payment plan.
You should then download your entire link and identify which link Google considers bad for the website. You should then get rid of the link then wait for Googlebot to re-crawl the changes. This process will take from 3 hours to 3 months. The speed depends on the crawl frequency and the number of links you had to remove. If you also have a manual action attached to your website, you will require a reconsideration request.
With that in mind, you should always check your Google Webmaster tools for warnings when you notice fallen rankings and traffic. If there is no message, then the loss of traffic is due to algorithm update from Google. Check for updates and if the penalization is as a result of previous updates. To be on the safe side, always write content that’s long and useful, mix your anchor tests, avoid building too many links and make sure you verify for duplicate content.