The Role of the SEO Manager Post Penguin-Panda Era

In the past year Google has updated their algorithm. Twice. The first instance was given the name “Panda,” and while most people might think “Aww, cute little pandas” many SEO managers thought “It might be a cute name, but those pandas have claws, and they scratch hard.” The second update, the Penguin Update, was to many people the sucker punch. Why did these updates hit so many SEO teams so hard? In the first instance it was primarily because they were unprepared for what was about to happen, and in the second instance it was because many failed to heed the warnings from Panda and did not make an effort to change their SEO strategy. The result? Many SEO consultants saw their client’s websites dropping out of Google’s index at great speed.

There was a time when to get a good page ranking on Google all a website needed was to be loaded with certain keywords. Some unscrupulous SEO consultants (Black Hat SEO) would even add invisible text to a web page to push the rankings higher. Over time Google adjusted their algorithm, making practices such as keyword stuffing and invisible text obsolete. Instead a page was more likely to achieve a good ranking based on the content on the site and attracting back links (the more back links there are on a site is an indication of its popularity; the more popular the site the higher the page rank.)For a while this update kept ‘good’ sites high in the rankings however, people started to abuse this system – content farms would be used to spin articles (the process of changing the words in an existing article from another source just enough to make the spun article unique, more often than not resulting in a poor quality and incomprehensible article) and unscrupulous sites began to use links as a way of achieving a high page rank by a process known as link spamming.

The Panda update was Google’s warning shot – they would be cracking down on these practices and giving higher page ranking to those sites that focused on providing good quality, original content, and thinning out or removing entirely sites that were considered to be low quality. The Penguin Update, which came into effect earlier this year, put even more focus on the quality of a site, and more importantly the source of back links and the anchor text used. Sites which had not prepared for this update found they were hit hard, with an estimated 700,000 websites receiving notification from Google that their site contained a high amount of unusual links (link spam) or that the content was either duplicated or of exceptionally low quality. Many of these sites dropped off Google’s index as a result.

So, where does the role of the SEO manager come in in the post panda/penguin landscape? If anything the role of the SEO manager is even more important than it has ever been, and qualified and experienced SEO managers are finding themselves to be in high demand as companies start to move away from the more ‘black-hat’ SEO teams that they had been using (perhaps not even knowing that the SEO tactics employed were considered ‘black hat’) prior to the updates.

Now is an ideal time to consider a career within Search Engine Optimisation. The Google updates have laid out a more transparent and level playing field, where the winners are the websites which use good quality content as the basis of their SEO strategy. Companies are now more likely to hire an SEO consultant who has proven qualifications within the industry over someone who does not and qualified SEO managers can now command in excess of £40,000 per annum. One such highly regarded qualification is the BTEC in Search Engine Optimisation. Online Marketing College offer this qualification through our blended learning system. Blended learning combines home study with class room sessions which take place at one of our four study centres in the UK; Bristol, London, Manchester & Birmingham. We also provide the same course as a distance learning option for those who cannot attend the class room sessions.

If you would like more information on our blended or distance learning SEO course, or for any of our other courses call us today on 0800 879 9139, or complete the contact form on our home page.

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