Hummingbird, Penguin, and Panda

SEO services have evolved significantly over the past few years to keep up with the ever-changing online environment. With digital marketing and advertising, search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of your overall strategy and it’s important that you hire a reputable company that can help you find customers searching for what you offer online. Some companies today still offer outdated SEO services, and here are some ways you can spot those companies to avoid them.

Do They Know Hummingbird, Penguin, and Panda?

While there are several different search engines out there, Google is unquestionably the largest, which means that an effective SEO company needs to understand how Google ranks sites and how to maximize the rules for your company. Google’s most recent shake-ups include Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin. After recently having an encounter with an online marketing firm Wpromote, I was told there were a number of recent SEO updates that would affect any online marketing efforts.

  • While it has not received as much attention as Penguin and Panda, Hummingbird is important because it overhauls search to make it more user-friendly. It incorporates conversational search to better understand what the searcher is looking for rather than focusing on keywords exclusively. For example, if you search for “where to buy garden supplies near my home” the algorithm assumes you want to shop in person since you’re looking for a place near where you live, and looks for a garden supply store nearby using location services.
  • The Penguin update (released in 2012 and updated as recently as October 2013) made some changes to the value of links in ranking your search engine. Previously the number of links was an important factor in how high sites ranked, so SEO companies would pay for links, even less reputable sites. Today if the links are on potential spam sites, Google’s algorithm will punish you for it. A quality SEO company should understand this and shift the focus to creating quality—not quantity—when it comes to links.
  • Panda is also aimed at eliminating less reputable sites that publish content. Old SEO strategies would use sites that copy and paste from other parts of the web, called “scraper sites,” or low-quality content farm sites to boost keywords, but today you will be punished for these tactics. Instead your content must be original, in-depth, and “thoughtful” in order to work for SEO.

Do They Have a Range of Tools?

Marketing, especially online marketing, is a complex process and is not just about one thing, so you should avoid SEO companies that focus on just one strategy to the exclusion of others. Companies should have a broad approach that incorporates several different components, including:

  • Creating quality content
  • Building reputable links
  • Using a range of tools such as social media, blogs, and your website to focus on the keywords that your potential customers are searching for

Do They Make Promises They Can’t Keep?

The purpose of online search engines is to return the results that matter to customers, and even Google says there is no way for a company to guarantee a specific placement in online search results, so don’t fall for a sales pitch that guarantees you a #1 or a first-page ranking on Google. Instead, work with an SEO company that has a strategy for increasing the organic traffic to your site through several different avenues. This approach ensures that the traffic coming to your site has the potential to become quality sales leads and future customers, and is about more than just clicks to boost statistics.

While SEO can be complex, it is critical to your success in finding customers online. Work with a company that has a strategy for the future to ensure that you get the right customers to build and grow your business.

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