Have you seen a drop in ranking as of this week? It could mean that you have been affected by the latest Panda update by Google. Since April of this year we have seen a rollercoaster ride for SEO firms with all of the tweaks that Google is doing to fight in the war on spam. The initial Panda update came out in February 24, 2011 and has affected about 35% of search queries. This is the 21st update to Panda, which has yet to be confirmed by Google, and seems to have affected about 1.1% of search results in english and 0.4% results worldwide as reported by Search Engine Land.
What should you do now?
It is time to visit your analytics and webmaster tools, except that webmaster tools only show the queries from 2 days prior and you will not be able to really know if your website has been affected for another few days. There are several reports that seo is dead, to which I rebuttal "nonsense!". Google has been focusing on providing quality results for their customer base... it just so happens that customer bases change their search habits according to the results they find. It is time to evaluate your current position in search engine rankings, revisit your current website content, and update as needed.
Google recently did a video explaining how they are not strictly focusing on fresh content. Some search queries do not require QDF (query that deserves freshness) in order to provide a quality result. QDF occurs when a googler is typing in something that would be relevant to provide the latest results. For example, if someone is searching for an earthquake, it would be defined as a QDF and display news articles relating to recent earthquakes. Matt Cutts, a member of the Google Web Spam team, advised that for sites that are not in a news-related industry to focus on creating content that is "evergreen or that will last the test of time".
What's new to look out for
There have been a huge influx of tools that provide long-tail keyword suggestions according to recent visits to your website. There is one in particular that we are currently reviewing called HitTail; the name is quite refreshing. So far, I can honestly say that I am impressed with the product from a user perspective. However, as an experienced SEO Strategist, there is nothing fancy or new about this tool in comparison to what is available. I will be posting a review in a month once I have used the tool to it's full potential.