We remember April for the controversy caused by Panda updates and the infamous Penguin update. And so far, compared to April, May seems relatively calm. However, there are SEO changes happening behind the scenes – changes that can definitely affect your business.

This is very typical of Google. A major algorithm update is released, causing a huge amount of attention and publicity. Then Google continues to change their algorithm (after all, Google changes their algorithm virtually every single day) and release “refreshes” on current algorithm updates. 

Although these updates and refreshes are not widely publicized, they still impact the search results considerably.

Why is it important to know about these updates?

Well, if you find your traffic dipping, plummeting, or rising for no particular reason, you may check the most recent SEO news. If nothing’s been publicized, you may wonder why your site was affected. Chances are it’s a refresh or minor algorithm tweak. Once you know this, you can update your website based on the refresh or tweak.

We covered this topic recently in the article, “Panda or Penguin?”

So let’s dive right into recent Google changes, shall we?

The Penguin Refresh

Last weekend, Google released a Penguin refresh. This may have caused your website to do one of two things:

1) Lose traffic

2) Gain traffic after a hit by Penguin originally 

The Penguin Update was controversial, no doubt about it. And in some cases, it looks like Google did make a few mistakes. So with this refresh, they’re looking to fix those mistakes. So if your traffic’s grown since last weekend, realize it’s likely because your site was wrongly penalized. 

If you lost traffic, on the other hand, we strongly suggest you read our articles on Google Penguin (featured below this article). Doing so will help you know why your site got hit and—more importantly—what you can do to fix it.

The Further Decline of Web Directories and Blog Networks

Earlier this year, Google hit blog networks and web directories – hard.

But they didn’t hit all of them. No, they mainly targeted a few of the largest ones. This made sure the word would get out. Now, more than a month after the original hit, Google’s continued penalizing and de-indexing blog networks and web directories.

The result? Well, already 20% of blog networks and web directories have been penalized or de-indexed. Will this continue? Most likely.

Google’s made it abundantly clear: using blog networks and web directories for links is abuse. As such, if you have links coming in from blog networks or web directories, realize they are raising red flags for Google’s anti-spam bots.

When doing SEO, it’s easy to get caught up in how much work it takes to rank. Getting a few thousand backlinks through a directory or network can sound like an easy shortcut to page #1. And it used to be… but now it’s not.

If you’re still incorporating blog network and web directory links into your SEO strategy, we strongly recommend your reconsider. Not only that, we strongly recommend you message the blog networks/directories you’ve used and asked them to remove all the links they’ve built.

Why? Because directory and network links are ticking time bombs. Sure, they may help your website rank on page #1 today, but tomorrow, they’ll make ranking for anything a massive headache.

And, if you’ve lost traffic or rankings in the past month, realize it may be a result of the links you’ve built being devalued. In many cases, getting rid of these links is a great way to recover lost traffic.

Want More SEO News/Tips?

We released the “New SEO” model last year. And a lot’s happened since last year, no question about it. But the New SEO model’s held firm. With each and every update, Google’s confirmed New SEO techniques.

By understanding New SEO principles, you can protect yourself as best as possible against further Google updates. 

If you’d like to receive more SEO news or New SEO tips, feel free to fill out the form below and join our mailing list.

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Lastly, if you’re worrying about over-optimization, or wondering if your on-page SEO is lacking, we highly recommend you give our free on-page optimization analysis tool a shot. Sometimes, the difference between page #1 and page #10 has to do with a seemingly insignificant on-page optimization tweak. Find out today!

If you liked this article, you may also enjoy:

Back to the Basics with Penguin

An Update on Penguin

The Google Penguin Update: Bye Bye Blackhat?

Cutting Through the Noise and Preventing a Penguin Panic