Google Algorithm Updates: April
They say April is the cruelest month and if you’ve landed on the wrong side of Google’s latest algorithm updates, you know how true that can be. During the month of April, Google rolled out a host of new changes that left some webmasters and affiliates with significantly reduced page rankings and little idea as to what’s behind the drop.
In a blog post, Google’s Webspam Chief and SEO Oracle Matt Cutts described the changes as, “Another step to reward high-quality sites.” (For a company that’s trying not to be evil, they sure can sound Orwellian at times.) Cutts went on to describe the basics of white hat SEO and his disdain for keyword stuffing and unrelated links.
When it came to the nitty gritty of the April updates, Cutts was characteristically short of words. He normally leaves that up to the SEO world to figure out for themselves. So here’s what every webmaster and gaming affiliate should know about April’s updates.
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- Any changes to page rankings were not the result of the yet-to-be-implemented over optimization penalty. Cutts isn’t a fan of black hat SEO, but that particular penalty is still on the planning stages.
- Google is, quite specifically, targeting sites that aren’t complying with the company’s basic Webmaster Guidelines. But, as always, the company is very vague about what exactly they’re punishing.
- These updates could be rolled back. There’s a lot of discussion about whether or not Google made a major mistake in this update by punishing sites that weren’t really in violation. Rob Ousbey has a great explanation of the situation here.
- Google does seem to be targeting Exact Match Domains (EMDs) and that may be why some industries are feeling the impact a lot more than others.
- None of April’s updates, algorithm changes and re-indexing is considered to be a Panda update, just regular updates.
Google’s been sounding a steady drumbeat regarding quality and SEO practices they consider to be black hat. Cutts and company have made no secret about their disdain for unnatural link networks and a preference for social media signals. Webmasters who still engage in black hat practices are, seemingly, fighting a losing battle.
Have you felt the fallout from April’s algorithm updates? Share your experiences on our SEO Forum.