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sifting through the junk

Does your Website resemble your office?

How do you organize your office? Are you the creative type that can’t be concerned with filing cabinets? Do you have piles of folders, documents, and receipts scattered throughout your office? Or, are you the meticulous, organized type that has an assigned place for everything?

If you relate more closely with the creative type, perhaps you have experienced that shock of arriving to work only to find someone decided your organizational skills were lacking and cleaned your office.  My guess is that, as clean as your office now looks, you are frustrated because now you can’t find anything.  Despite its previous appearance, I bet you knew exactly where everything could be found, even if it happened to be buried underneath an assortment of papers.

If you relate closer to the second type, you may not have experienced such a dramatic shock, but you are quick to notice when something is out of place.

Whatever your case may be, in terms of SEO, I’m willing to bet that we’ve each experienced a similar reaction each time Google makes an update to their search algorithm. Google keeps “cleaning things up” and whether the change was small or big, we’ve noticed something.

Google Updates


It turns out that Google makes 500+ updates and changes each year but only a handful of them have a significant impact on search results.  While most of these updates go unnoticed, you might have noticed some small changes such as an increase in character size, which truncated some of your Meta titles and descriptions.  On the other hand, it is more than likely that if you weren’t influenced by the major updates, you’ve at least heard reference to Google’s Hummingbird, Penguin, and Panda.

Panda 4.0 Update


In May of this year, we started seeing the effects of Google’s Panda update.  Google claims that their algorithm update influenced “about 7.5% of English-language queries.”   With this update, it was their goal to make sure their search engine is able to sort through the junk that can often sneak its way onto the first page of results.

The Panda algorithm helps to filter those sites with poor content and return only the most relevant sites for the user. So, with this update, some of us may have experienced one of those two reactions I mentioned earlier. If you have been practicing good tactics, chances are, your site wasn’t influenced in any significant way; however, if you’ve seen a major drop in your results, you may want to evaluate the content on your site and those tactics you were using to rank.

Black Hat Strategies

What strategies do you implement?

Black Hat vs White Hat SEO


There have always been two approaches to SEO, you can try and game the system or you can actually improve your site.  With each new update, Google attempts to kill off those black hat strategies.  Gone are the days of keyword stuffing.

The black hat is dying.  You can no longer spam your way to the top.  So if you’ve seen a hit in your rankings, you may have to go deep clean your site. Don’t just try and sweep things under the rug and pile things in a closet, do things right. It may take some work sifting through your back links and updating the content on your site, but it can and should be done.



If SEO isn’t part of the core competencies of your business, find yourself an SEO company that applies white hat strategies and can keep up with the most recent updates and trends. A good SEO team should be able to keep things organized for you and allow you to stay creative.


Photo Credit: Tim Ellis, Alan

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director