Google made serious efforts in April to allow the cream to rise to the top, so what have you done to change your site?
There is an air of inevitability around an algorithm update, after all Amit Singhal, Google’s Head of Search, has written of “roughly 500 search improvements” rolling out in 2012. And with the Panda and Penguin updates both being refreshed recently a cat has been sent amongst pigeons or more accurately, put the Reconsideration Requests amongst the newly crowned “spammers”.
Here is Koozai’s quick distillation of the Penguin Update
Google have assured webmasters (at recent conferences especially) that there is an upside even for people that have felt the pain. When that’ll be felt is a good question. But in the mean time here are eight on and off page tactics to ensure penguins go on eating fish and not web rankings.
Keep It Simple, Stupid; get some value for money out of the hours of keyword research you’ve completed. Create page titles, meta descriptions, H1’s and body text openings that make sense for your prospective visitors as well as search engines. Seems obvious but we’re seeing some of the basics are being omitted in favour of generating volumes of inbound links…does that site’s homepage really need 500 spammy links or would great text be better?
Brand Is King
Quality not quantity. Thin content written for the purpose of keyword inclusion over adding value is now under the microscope so play to your strengths. Organise your site around pages that are the most valuable to you – that drive the most traffic and have the most authoritative links.
Long tail terms as a result are less relevant. Be the poodles privates for five terms rather than mediocre for ten.
The keyword that is there but not there all at the same time…
Nan factor – it’s a generalisation that there aren’t many Nans in SEO (feel free to use the comments to put me in my place) but can your Nan pick the keyword you’re targeting out of the body text of a page. Write for your Nan and not a search bot and because you’ve done the first step with aplomb, chances are you’ll reach the right balance.
Publish “Great Content”
I think there is a fining system in place at Koozai for jargon like “link juice”, “long tail” and worst of all “great content”…so I’ll keep it brief for fear of a salary reduction. Write about what your expertise is and don’t pretend to know things you don’t. It doesn’t make for great content and people will see through it. Also keep in mind the keyword principles above when writing your headlines and paragraph titles.
Google’s Amit Singhal gives 23 hints toward what they’re looking for from a piece of content. Skyrocketseo’s James Agate put up an epic post on content generating ideas. As well as tool after tool after tool, he suggests some common sense tactics. Don’t over think things to get started. Consider industry blogs and consumer forums as ports of call to find out what searchers are talking about. And for the first on the team sheet type of posts whose subject matter you know inside and out, get Google Alerts to keep you in the loop with what the web is saying.
Copycat copycat, don’t know what you’re looking at…
As you’re pushing out great stuff left right and centre, you’ll be rightly miffed if someone else is helping themselves to it. As such it’s good practice to make sure your site isn’t falling foul of duplicate content, but look wider than this and use Copyscape or simply copy the first few sentences of a page’s body text and put it into Google using the quotation mark operator. Then report any naughty sites using your content. The blighters.
Tailor link descriptions by context
Go back to your keyword document and add a link building tab. Copy across your keyword, titles and description columns and create a separate anchor text column for social links, directory links (Blogs and forums demand and deserve individual comment to entice click through) and business classifieds tailoring the descriptions to the specific audience. Chances are you’ll revisit them, incrementally building stand alone brand social profiles. Split your link building time by profile thereby achieving a mix of link types that are relevant to the niches you’re marketing.
Review Inbound Link Profiles
The sweet spot is around 100 incoming links per page. If you have more than 100 and it’s not a great piece of link bait, you may have an issue. Check the top linking domains and how well the anchor text match sits with it’s domain. If you’re worried contact the site and ask for the link to be removed, keep your email too in case Matt Cutts needs to see it.
Don’t do it for me, do it for the kids. No really, get it right and it’ll lower your bounce rate. We’re not talking app design here, simply that traffic volumes are starting to dictate that mobile devices are the first port of call for many searchers and a mobile optimised website is becoming increasingly vital. Maintain your URL structure (so you can retain your inbound links) but identify user agents. This is a quick win if your competition hasn’t started down this route – have a look. Address information gathering search queries that see people get what they want and go by prompting some sort of action such as a quick to use on page tool like a calculator.
Also don’t forget about Google Panda, he will be back! “Pandemonium” was coined by John Milton in Paradise Lost and described the palace built in the middle of hell where all demons were kept…it’s been nearly a month since the last black and white creature left the Google zoo, we must be due another…
Group Of King Penguins On The Beach via BigStock