This year has seen many ups and downs in search world. It has been exciting, rewarding, punishing and above all it has been a seesaw year for everyone. On the one hand Google Panda has overturned the outcome of search results, while local searches have slowly become predominant. While earlier the advantage was purely with big guys, it has now shifted to small businesses and mom & pop stores. Let’s look at the major moves of Google which have redefined the search landscape.
Google Panda upturned many an applecart
Though the guys at Google are famous for tinkering with their search algorithm, with the Panda update they created a tsunami of sorts. The big guns which took an immediate hit were the article directories. Their search ranking tanked and when they emerged out of the chaos, they looked pathetic. There is plenty of speculation why Google did this to article directories. One of the likely reasons is that these websites became repositories of useless content which were the product of article spinning software. Obviously these article directories cried foul but unfortunately there is no court to hear their case.
The second casualty was the affiliate sites. Don’t ask me why but they fell afoul of Google. Why can’t people sell their stuff from affiliate sites is a question which Google needs to answer – at least for the record. Affiliate business is a legitimate one and a part of traditional marketing channel. All of us buy from and sell to affiliates. Anyway, Google Panda has dealt a death blow to affiliates.
Local searches have become important
There was a time when big businesses ruled the roost on Google search. Now the tide is turning. Google is favoring small businesses in a big way. You can easily get listed in Google Places and find yourself on top of Google search results because of this shift towards local search by Google. For example, instead of using keyword phrase like ‘car title loans’, you would be better off if you use ‘car title loans in Los Angeles’ or ‘car title loan in California’. Obviously you are constrained in some ways but surely a person looking for car title loans in los Angeles is not going to come all the way to Texas to take loan. In all these cases, you are better off by defining your local boundary. Probably Google realizes the preponderance of local searches and has reacted accordingly.
More importance to reputation of websites
Once again Google search algorithm has veered towards quality of inbound links. Getting backlinks from link farms has been downgraded to an extent that they have become redundant. What matters is quality and reputation of websites with which you associate yourself. The old adage ‘You are known by the friends you keep’, has become more relevant for Google search.
Google search is slowly redefining itself. Content, relevance and reputation have become the watchwords. Search has become more democratic with small businesses catching up with the big guys with deep pockets.
Sarah Waters lives in Los Angeles and blogs on various subjects including tech and financial news. She writes to help consumers maximize their potential. She also writes for websites offering car title loans in Los Angeles and California area