Google continues to dominate search engine market share and establish itself as one of today's most recognizable brands because of one simple word – RELEVANCE. This term, in its most simplistic form, is what defines every aspect of Google's evolution and is the largest determinant in their future success. But, how Google measures relevance is not so simple. It is a highly sophisticated and ever-changing model based on complex algorithms named after cute and cuddly things like Penguins and Pandas (two very recent and important updates). Don't let the names fool you. Not understanding the impact of Penguin and Panda can seriously limit your ability to be seen as relevant, and can eliminate your ability to generate leads online. Everyone tries to manipulate and master the algorithm maze, but in the end, very few make it to the first page of Google for any given search term. The algorithms that Google uses to determine relevancy are frequently refined as they are committed to intelligently tuning the search engine to consistently provide the best possible search results and eliminate weak and spammy web pages from the index.
The latest Google algorithm changes have primarily focused on off-site factors like the quality of real estate related backlinks pointing to your site. Gone are the days that poor quality backlinks from non-authority sites will support ranking positions that generate traffic.
Let's take a closer look at some ranking factors in Google's algorithms that can cause your rankings to tumble, and some improvements that can be made to conquer these challenges to help ensure your website remains relevant in 2012 and beyond.