Google's Animal Farm: Implications for your library homepage?

Weideman M.

Poster in Proceedings of the 18th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations - Genre of ETDs for Knowledge Discovery. 4-6 November. New Delhi, India.

Weideman M. 2015. Google's Animal Farm: Implications for your library homepage? Poster in Proceedings of the 18th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations - Genre of ETDs for Knowledge Discovery. 4-6 November. New Delhi, India. Online: http://web-visibility.co.za/website-visibility-digital-library-seo/

ABSTRACT
Most websites need to be visible to search engine crawlers, to ensure a high visitor rate. A crucial element in high rankings is how closely a webpage matches the specification of a search engine for a "good" website. The search engine algorithm determines this match. Google has released a series of changes to its algorithm over the years; the most well-known having been termed Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and Hummingbird. Any major algorithm update could have negative effects on the rankings of a website–including the demise of an e-commerce company. These updates also have implications for university library websites. A model was built to assist library webmasters in evaluating their own webpages in terms of compliance. The four well known updates were studied to determine which elements of a webpage could raise red flags in terms of these update checks. The model indicates which factors of webpage contents have to be carefully monitored, to prevent Google from penalising a library website in terms of one of its updates. Even though Penguin and Hummingbird were not designed to be punitive in nature, they could affect the rankings of a library website negatively. It was clear that three factors play a major role in this context: webpage textual content, backlink environment and customer query generation. Panda penalised thin content sites, while Penguin identified backlinks from non-authoritative websites. The purpose of Pigeon was to improve the result of local searches, and as such will only benefit a webpage where the content is of value to local searchers. Hummingbird was a complete rewrite of the Google algorithm, and attempts to produce better search result in context. Webmasters are advised to consider this model when designing library web pages.
REFERENCES
  1. Sullivan, D. (2015). Irony Alert: Could Alphabet's Hidden Link To Hooli Get It Banned In Google? http://searchengineland.com/alphabet-hidden-link-to-hooli-227610 [28 September 2015]
  2. [2] Weideman, M. (2009). Website Visibility: The Theory and Practice of Improving Rankings. Chandos Publishing: Oxford. http://www.worldcat.org/title/website- visibility-the-theory-and-practice-of-improving-rankings/oclc/517399476
  3. Weideman, M. & Strümpfer, C. (2004). The effect of search engine keyword choice and demographic features on Internet searching success. Information Technology and Libraries, 23(2), 58-65.
Full text of Conference Poster No 0169: Google's Animal Farm: Implications for your library homepage?

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