Google is constantly changing it’s algorithm to provide users with the best possible search results based on their keywords, and with the latest Penguin update many sites are getting dropped in the rankings due to low quality links and questionable content. Despite this, creating a website or blog and generating traffic via SEO is still quite possible as long as you follow Google’s guidelines and stay away from spammy link-building. Here are some of the rules you’ll need to follow in the future as well as tips on how to improve your rankings without getting flagged as “webspam”.
Before you begin addressing external links, it’s best to focus on your own pages and make sure everything is in order. Content is one of the most important parts of the equation, so keep your site free of duplicate or low-quality articles that don’t provide value to your readers. Try to use a unique layout and design as opposed to a common template, and don’t go crazy with banner ads, especially above the fold (above the fold refers to the topmost part of the webpage seen by users without scrolling down).
Last but not least, scan your site and computer for viruses frequently and make sure any computer with administrator access is clean as well, local viruses can spread to your sites, and if Google detects malware you’re likely to get blacklisted.
When garnering links for a site, Google has made it fairly clear what methods you should and shouldn’t use. As a rule of thumb, anything automated is generally a no-no and considered to be spam. Anchor text is also becoming a more important factor, if Google sees that a lot of anchors contain your exact keyword or minor variations of it you might see those links devalued, diversify anchors and make them appear natural.
Topic and subject focus is also becoming a bigger factor, so linking to your site about pets from a gardening blog is not a good idea. Ideally, you should be trying to get links from high-PR authority sites in your industry via guest posting and blog comments. Social media profiles are always a good idea as well, make your site as socially interactive as possible (but remember not to use any automation).
Get Back on Google’s Good Side
To much of the SEO, web design, and marketing communities’ dread, Google has finally made their over-optimization algorithmic update. For about 3% of us on the web, that means our rankings have plummeted. How could that be when we have been optimizing day and night to keep Google happy as a kid on summer vacation?
We forget that Google is an omniscient entity and, like Santa Claus, they know all of the tricks and corners people have been cutting to get their websites ranked. In order to get yourself back in Google’s good graces (and the rankings), make sure your SEO practices don’t include any of the following:
1. Keyword Overload
Try not to overload and stuff keywords into meta tags and in the content of your pages. If your content becomes annoying and even hard to read because of the unnecessary repetition – you’ve got some unloading to do.
2. Irrelevant Meta Titles and Headers
Your website’s bounce rate is becoming more and more important in Google’s eyes. If users are being directed to pages on your site through keywords that aren’t really relevant to that page, they are more likely to click away or “bounce.” Be relevant and keep their interest.
3. Identical Content
When there is duplicated content on the web, they compete with each other for a spot in the search engine results. To ensure that your site and content is keeping its rank- make sure its unique (Google doesn’t like copycats).
4. Useless Links
If your website has links that are of little to no value, you can be sure Google will lower your value once they find out. Keep your online presence strong by making your content valuable and supporting those who do the same.
5. Too Many Ads, Too Little Content
Just like keywords, Google knows when there is an appropriate and proportionate amount of ads on your page and when there is an unnecessary amount. If you have too many, they will end up hurting instead of helping.
6. Slow Loading
Pages that load slowly are problems for two reasons:
a) Users who have to wait 2 minutes for a page to load will click 2 steps back and off of your site instead. (Remember, Google doesn’t like high bounce rates.)
b) Google bots run into crawlability issues when a page has a loading speed that crawls. Google hates waiting.
All in all, these “don’ts” can be easily reassessed and fixed to get back on Google’s good side. They do still want what they’ve always wanted, don’t they? For all of us on the web to create amazing content that makes our online presence valuable and worth searching for.