Anchor text has long been the SEO trump card. However, the last couple of algorithmic updates have turned things around quite a bit. On the one hand, Google’s Panda is targeting low quality sites (low value for the user, copied content). On the other, Google’s Penguin update is hitting those sites that engage in web spam (keyword stuffing, link spam). All these updates clearly signal that you can no more loophole your way to higher search rankings in Google.
The golden era of ‘exact match anchor text’ is finally over.
Thanks to manipulative link building techniques, exact match anchor text is fast losing its importance. In fact, Google is trying to close all the loopholes one after another. A lack of natural links is all you need to see your site fall apart.
Though Google had already been targeting sites that over-optimized their anchor text (for higher rankings overnight), its attack is now more intense than ever. The recently rolled out Penguin update has taken all the webmasters by storm. You can no more blast a site to the top of Google search results by getting tons of links with an exact match anchor text like ‘best seo company’.
According to recently conducted study by Microsite Masters, it’s come to light that sites that were negatively hit by Google’s Penguin update had used ‘money keyword’ in their anchor text as much as 60% (or above) of all linking text. Such a high percentage of money keyword in all inbound links of a site sent manipulative signals to Google. And that’s why these sites with aggressive exact match anchor text were negatively hit. Sites whose money keyword percentage in anchor text was below 50% were not affected by Google’s Penguin update.
Exact Match vs Partial Match Anchor Text
The fact that sites that had a money keyword as their anchor text below 50% were not impacted negatively also clarifies that exact match anchor text hasn’t lost their weight entirely. Yes, it definitely means one thing that you should quickly quit obsessing over exact match anchor text linking. Instead of focusing too much on similar anchor text, it’s a good idea to use partial match keywords.
If you want to rank for keywords ‘article marketing software’ for example, you can use partial matches like ‘the best software for article marketing’, ‘make your article marketing easy’ and ‘article marketer’s software’ among others.
Link Relevance & Diversity
Most importantly, you need to focus on two major elements of anchor text linking – relevance and diversity. When a search engine crawler crawls a link, it also tracks the degree of relevance. A good link value is, therefore, passed when the crawler verifies that links pointing back to your sites are from credible and related sources (both linking page- and domain-wise) . Apart from focusing on link relevance, you need to use different variations of anchor text.
Variations may include your brand name, the URL name, short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords and partial match keywords as anchor text. The more diverse your anchor text linking profile is, the more natural it will look to search engines.
This is What You Need to Do
The first step is to take a closer look at your internal or on-site anchor text linking (over which you’ve all control). Make sure you’re not over-optimizing. Second, you need to analyze the anchor text links pointing back to your site from external sources. If you notice a higher exact match anchor text pattern, you need to take action. If it’s in your control (in case you know site owners personally), you can tweak the anchor text with different variations. If this is beyond your control or doesn’t sound practical, you should start building links with different variations of anchor text to balance out things before it’s really too late.
What’s in your anchor text? Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
As you are probably well aware of, Google released their latest Panda / webspam algorithm update this week in order to reward high quality sites. What they specifically targeted was “black hat webspam” including keyword stuffing and link schemes. By devaluing sites that participated in these black hat techniques or anything against Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines, they are hoping to provide better user experience for searchers on the web.
Was Your Site Affected
According to Search Engine Land’s Winners & Losers post about sites affected by the latest Panda update, losing sites could be summarized as those which use databases to aggregate information, press portals & aggregators, and heavily templated sites. The top sites that lost the highest percentage of SEO visibility included familiar names like:
So how can you tell if your site was affected? Start watching your Google Analytics, particularly your Organic search traffic.
If you start to see the graph significantly dip after April 24th, then there is a good chance your site was affected.
You might also want to check your Google Webmaster Tools if you have set it up for your websites. Google has been sending notifications to webmasters in the last month about unnatural link activity.
Don’t freak out right away if you have new messages – Webmaster Tools also notifies you if you need a WordPress update!
What to Do If Your Site Was Affected?
So what do you need to do if your site was affected? You’ll need to be on the lookout for two things: over-optimization with your on-site SEO and unnatural, spammy links. Over-optimization usually boils down to keyword stuffing – too many keywords on a page in the title tag, meta description, and within the content. Unnatural, spammy links usually boils down to too much exact match anchor text and links in unnatural places. SEO.com has a great post on red flags to look for in your link portfolio.
If possible, you will want to remove any over-optimization on your website and try to have any spammy links taken down, then contact Google and ask for reconsideration back into their good graces.
How to Prevent Your Site from Getting Penalized
If your site wasn’t affected by the latest update, and you want to keep it from getting penalized in the future, be sure to do some preventative work like making sure your on-site SEO isn’t overly-optimized. Translation: have more quality content than keywords.
Also, don’t participate in unnatural link building tactics including, but not limited to:
- Over-used anchor text: Yes, it’s ok to use anchor text, but don’t build every single link to best SEO agency. Mix it up with different keyword phrases, your business / website / brand name, and other variations. Remember that the point is to look natural, and Google knows that 500 sites won’t link to the same exact keyword phrase every single time.
- Spamming: This includes crappy comments, crappy forum posts, and crappy article directories using crappy spun content. Again, all unnatural looking elements.
- Link exchanges: While it’s OK to link to someone with a similar website and have them link back to you, it’s not OK to link to just anyone’s homepage and have them link back to you on their link exchange, resources, or other sites of interests pages. Especially if those pages on other sites are linking to a ton of different websites that has nothing to do with yours.
- Paying for links: If you are following a competitor’s backlink trail and buying blogroll links on the same sites they are, then you will start creating a noticeable “pattern” that Google might detect one day. Think about it – if they bust Site A for buying links, and they see that Site B and Site C have links on the same exact sites that Site A has links on, they’ll make the connection.
Was your site (or a favorite of yours) hit by the latest algorithm update? What are you doing to prevent your site from being penalized?
Whether you have a large site or a very small site, having a Google Webmaster Tool account set up is essential. In GWT webmasters can see the inner workings of a website as it relates to Google. That information can be extremely valuable when evaluating your sites performance and tailoring your efforts to achieve your goals faster.
In GWT users can see what errors were encountered by the Googlebot when crawling and indexing your site. Errors with crawling sitemaps, HTTP errors, pages not found or broken links, URLs not followed, URLs restricted by robots.txt, URLs that take too much time to load, and pages that are unreachable can be seen in the “Crawl Errors” section of GWT. This information is extremely helpful if you have a large site to manage.
Errors may indicate an issue with innumerable items on your site. Each error should be examined in detail by an expert to determine its accuracy. Servers can often act strangely and not perform correctly for search engines. Some have even found Googlebot has crashed their sites, but offer solutions in many posts available online. Look at the error reports and determine the cause. Attempt to fix the issues you find because a site that can be crawled without error is certainly a good thing.
Meta Descriptions & Title Tags
I find the meta descriptions and title tags section to be very useful in GWT. Duplicate pages are shown in this section and errors with title tags or descriptions are shown as well. Any duplicates should be examined for accuracy. Inaccurate data should be further researched as it may showcase an issue.
For example, I’ve seen sites that showed thousands of duplicated meta titles and descriptions but the duplicated pages weren’t suppose to be seen. They had 301 redirects in place but Googlebot was still finding the content. These errors in GWT notified us of an issue which required additional research. In the end the issue led us back to their website’s load balancers and cache server settings. GWT can hold valuable information so make a point to examine this particular area often.
Find the top queries and top pages drawing in the most impressions and clicks on Google. With the limited data available in Google Analytics due to encrypted search, users can use GWT to see additional data as it relates to specific queries. Average position of a search query is available in this section along with percent increase and decrease over the course of a set period. A little over 30 days of data is available at a time and is available for download on demand.
Some webmasters have discovered their sites were hacked by examining this section in GWT. Search queries that contain pornographic terms, drug terms, or gambling terms are obvious signs you have an issue in the innermost workings of your site.
While the effect and popularity of Google + is still being determined, I’ve started to examine the +1 Metrics section of GWT to see if I can start to discern any patterns or growth. For certain sites with a high tech male demographic, Google + is performing quite well. GWT will show you +1 annotated impressions, CTR without +1 and CTR with +1.
Activity and audience data is also available, so you can see popular posts as they get +1s and grow over time. As the site grows in popularity, examination of this data will be important to your efforts with content marketing and social media marketing. Have a post that is seeing a decline? Repromote on Google+ and push renewed strength into the content piece. There are many ways you can use the data, the first step is actually looking.
These are just a few of the ways I use Google Webmaster Tools to help examine issues with a site and stay on top of all the moving parts involved in managing a website for search.
How do you use GWT to help you with your website? Share with us in the comments below.
Last few updates by Google have made it quite obvious that social signals will play a major role in ranking content. Five to ten years ago, ranking at the top of search results was all about algorithms. To rank at the top, all you needed to do was to optimize the content copy for a set of targeted keywords. Now, search is also about people while social is just about people. That means, social media and search are highly intertwined today.
Major search engines like Google have begun to understand people (and relationships). That’s why you need to create as many social signals for your content as possible for higher search rankings.
When it comes to creating social signals for your content, titles have got a major role to play. Apart from creating content that’s really useful to your audience, you also need to make sure that your content is shared by a large number of people. The more shares your articles get, the better social signals you send to search engines. And, titles have a huge impact on shareability.
Usually, sharing is instantaneous. Great content with average titles may get a good number of shares. But it’s actually harder. Many people would share an article only because the title grabbed their attention immediately. That’s a clear signal that titles can make a great impact in terms of social sharing.
Great Titles = More Social Sharing = Better Search Rankings
Writing great titles is also a good practice from SEO point of view. Today, post titles have far outweighed meta keywords and meta description. As SEO continues to evolve, major search engines are placing more value on top quality content and downgrading over-optimized ones.
Titles are more important today than ever before.
Those few words that you use in the title will decide whether your content will be shared by thousands of people or barely noticed. Well-crafted titles can spread your content like wildfire across the web.
In their book ‘Made to Stick’, the Heath Brothers state that any good news or editorial writer may devote 80% of their time to writing the title. The time that’s left will be used to put together the body of the content.
Since social signals are vital to enhance your SEO, it’s high time to pay some careful attention to crafting titles. Some of the most important elements that make a title attention-grabbing include emotion, expectation, curiosity and benefit among others. Titles that are short, descriptive and eye-catching carry high viral potential. Though a title is just a group of few words, it’s the real game changer in the world of social media. In any case, you should never compromise on the overall quality of the article.
There are multiple ways to assess the effectiveness of your post titles. One of them is using a URL shortener. A URL shortener like bit.ly can help you a great deal in this regard. It can tell you the CTR and the number of shares for each of your links posted to different social networking websites. Using such URL shorteners, you can also A/B-test your titles.
You can get started with it by creating two different shortened links for the same article. Next, you can use two different title versions to post the article. The bit.ly stats for those links will tell you which title version made the most impact.
I would also recommend the use of Most Shared Posts WordPress Plugin. Once installed on your blog, this plugin will inform you which of your posts received the most social sharing on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. This data will help you analyze the effectiveness of your titles.
How much time do you spend crafting the title of your post? Please feel free to talk back in comments.
Do you vary your anchor text? Surprisingly, many individuals that do their own SEO and link building activities don’t diversify anchor text enough. Today, over use of your keywords can lead to some pretty severe consequences – penalties, ranking drops and traffic decreases.
Luckily, there are easy ways to combat the issue of over optimized anchor text. Diversifying the keywords pointing to your domain is the best way to avoid this issue. Here are 6 tips to help you understand your options when diversifying anchor text.
Branded Anchor Text
The easiest way to start diversifying your anchor text is to use your brand as the keyword phrase. For large brands, the anchor text most often used when linking to their sites is their brand name already.
Use a tool like Open Site Explorer to examine your backlinks. Use their distribution of anchor text tab to help you see what keywords are being used most often. How often is your brand name used, or variations of your brand name? Keep an eye on the keyword variations showing up in your backlinks and actively pursue opportunities that will allow you to link to your site using your brand name: social profiles, directories, guest blogging, etc…
It’s natural to see keywords misspelled or used incorrectly. This is true too, of your backlinks. Purposely misspell and use keywords incorrectly every now and again. Sure, it’s not a best practice always but when you’re trying to find ideas on how to diversify your backlinks – this is an option.
Natural Unoptimized Terms
Do you know who ranks #1 for “click here”? Adobe of course! Think about it – many sites link to Adobe for their Acrobat Reader. “Click here”, “Download”, etc… are all anchor texts that are used. While this is an extreme case, it certainly can be a good lesson. Natural anchor text is sometimes not keyword oriented but action oriented. Build a few links to your domain using natural and unoptimized anchor text.
Long Tail Anchor Text
Another option you have when diversifying anchor text is to use a long tail term to hyperlink. Having a long tail SEO strategy is always a good idea, as long tail terms can over time draw in the targeted traffic you’re looking for. Try using a question or a quote as the anchor text or look for specific long tail phrases using keyword research that have some search volume.
URL as Anchor Text
Using your URL as your anchor text is an option. Sites that allow you to have a company profile often link to you using just the URL as the anchor text. Seek out these opportunities and try placing not just your homepage as the URL. Look to place internal page URLs as the anchor text as well.
Last but certainly not least, your option to vary anchor text may come down to identifying other similar keywords. Use a Thesaurus to help you come up with synonyms that will still apply to the keywords you wish to focus, but help in diversifying exact match anchor text. You may even find some of the keywords convert better than the broad match terms you’ve always tried to focus on.
Do you have tips to help users diversify anchor text? Tell us in the comments below!
Are you an expert researcher online? The average online user over time has become better and better at finding the things they need online. The use of advanced search operators is commonplace. While search engines work to combat spam everyday, there are still many sites you wish to avoid in your search. Advanced search commands can help you sift through billions of websites quickly and easily by narrowing down your search with operators or commands.
There are many options when it comes to advanced search commands. One of the more common commands is phrase search operator (“”). When you put quotes around a keyword or phrase, you’re telling the search engine to look for that exact match phrase online. They’ll serve up results with that exact phrase, or tell you that none exist. I use this one all the time when doing link building activities or trying to find out the name of the song stuck in my head at any given time. When you only know bits and pieces of the information you’re looking for use this operator to narrow down your search.
Don’t want to see a result in the SERPs? Use the exclude search operator (-). Exclude words from your search and websites too. Example: Command -.edu will take out all instances of .edu domains in your results. You’re also able to exclude specific domains simply by putting that web address after the operator.
Use what Google calls the fill in the blank search operator (*) if you’re really in need of finding a great site. This operator is a wildcard, or placeholder, for a term that you aren’t aware of. Additionally you can use this operator to find other websites on the same type of topic. Google gives this example query: Obama voted * on the * bill. The query will show results on different votes for different bills, with the unknown being a placeholder for what you want to include.
Trying to find a similar set of URLs but not on the same domain? Use (inurl) search operator and you’ll find similar keywords in a file path. Many webmasters name pages similarly – contact us, about us, blog, etc… Use command (inurl:resources) along with your query to find a list of resource pages. This is one I’ve used to find link opportunities or even content opportunities. Find a great resource list? What type of content is linked to? Create that type of content and ask the site to add you to their resources list.
Sometimes you might be looking for keywords that appear in the title of the page. Use (intitle) search operator. Using this type of search command is common in advanced SEO research. Looking for sites with specific keywords that appear in their backlinks is also a common advanced tactic. Use (inanchor) search operator.
Know the file type of the page you’re looking for? Use (filetype) search operator. For example, if you were looking for PDFs you’d want to use filetype:pdf as your search operator. What types of pdfs are on your competitors website? Find out and get ideas for your next whitepaper or free guide.
These are just a few of the many search operators currently in practice. Not only can many of them be used on search engines you’d usually think of like Google and Bing, they can also be used in Twitter search. See a tweet go by and then not know where it went? I do this all the time because of the Twitter fire hose effect. But with search commands I can find the tweet pretty easily using bits and pieces of information.
These are just a few of the search commands available for you to use. Many more resources exist that give examples and practical application for each of the commands listed above as well as new ones to try out. Please visit the below resources for additional information on search commands.
Have additional resources we should add to the list? Let us know!
SEO is here to stay for a long time. Though it’s important to stick to best SEO practices and guidelines, you should never use too much SEO. Google spam team head Matt Cutts attended the SXSW a week ago. During his panel, he announced that Google is working on an update that’ll specifically target those websites that indulge in overdoing SEO.
Matt’s announcement is yet another proof that SEO won’t die soon. It’s here to stay and webmasters need to be more careful while incorporating search optimization strategies into their sites.
So, you need to ask – ‘Is my site overly SEO’ed?
The upcoming update is going to be a massive one. A hard pill to swallow for SEOs! Though Google usually doesn’t pre-announce an algorithmic update, this announcement should quickly raise the ears of SEOs around the globe. If you are working really hard at SEO (which I know many of you do), it’s about time you stopped this right away.
Though over-optimization or overdone SEO has been in discussion for a long time, you can’t ignore it anymore. The algorithmic update (which many Google engineers are already working on) will be launched anytime in the next few weeks. It sounds pretty scary, right?
Signs of Over-Optimization
I know this is what you actually want to ask. You want to know how much SEO is too much so that you can identify whether your site is overly SEO’ed. On the other hand, there are those who are over-optimizing their web pages and they know that they are overdoing it. Brace yourself!
A site is overly SEO’ed if -
it repeats keywords in Meta tags
it has long keyword-stuffed URL strings
it has keyword-stuffed alt tags
it focuses on SEO content, rather than the visitor
it has an unnatural backlinks profile
it has too many anchor-text manipulated hyperlinks on web pages
Many times, you would force yourself to complete 500 words when you can say or express your idea in just 300 words. You do it only because you want to meet a mythical search engine word count so that you can rank at top positions in search engine results pages. This is exactly when you start to create fluffy SEO copy, which indicates you are in the habit of overdoing SEO.
What to Do
Without any delay, you should warn all your SEOs or the search optimization agency (if you outsource the work) to beware before it’s too late. If you’re working with a SEO company, it’s always a good idea to keep a close watch on everything they are doing to improve your site’s rankings. Don’t make the mistake of handling your sites to a SEO agency or professional and never bothering to check what strategies they are using. After all, it’s your businesses and you’re accountable for where you want to take it.
Please people and search engines will be happy too. Google has told it time and again that they want to enhance the web user’s experience. If you want your site to survive in search rankings, you need to focus all of your attention to people. By writing for people, you won’t only escape search penalties, but you’ll also increase the rate of conversion on your site.
And, be careful if you plan to hire a SEO agency or professional because prevention is always better than cure.
Should Google Define ‘Too Much SEO’ or ‘Over-Optimization’?
This is an important question. A lot of people are worried because they have no idea how Google is going to differentiate between great content and overly SEO’ed sites. Publishers and small businesses are investing in SEO in large numbers. They really need more clarity about what Google considers as ‘over-optimized’ or ‘overly SEO’ed’. Will Google ever answer?
What do you have to say about this upcoming Google search update? I really hope that your site doesn’t fall into the ‘overly SEO’ed’ catgory.
Wow, a content inventory is an excellent idea! Yes, creating a content inventory helps you assess the current status of your website, how you can improve the content and what you need to do to take your website to the next level. The biggest benefit of having a content inventory is that you can use it to enhance the SEO of your website or blog. So, how do you do it?
First of all, you need to know what a content inventory is. Well, a content inventory is an information architecture which is used to list all the content (whether text-based, images or videos) on your website so that no single piece of content is hidden from your sight.
Content has been the king for a long time now. It rules even today. If you want to enhance the SEO of your site, creating a content inventory is just the perfect way to go. After you’ve created the same, you’ll become an authority on what your website contains. With this in-depth knowledge, you’ll be all set to use the SEO tactics and strategies that your website badly needs.
What Does a Content Inventory Look Like?
Initially, creating a content inventory looks like a maddening exercise. Once you get started with the same, it can be a lot of fun. A content inventory is actually a spreadsheet, which contains information about each page that you have on your website or blog. The number of columns in the spreadsheet may vary depending on the number of on-page factors that you want to optimize for.
A content inventory, meant to improve SEO, looks a little different from a standard information architecture content inventory. Such an inventory does a great job to keep you abreast of all the individual content pieces on your site as well as help you plan your SEO strategy for future.
For example, the inventory can include information like the page title, URL structure, targeted keywords (or phrases), keyword density, meta description and image file name, for every web page in the spreadhsheet.
The Process Can Be Easier If …
If you have a big website or blog, you may find the task of creating a content inventory quite cumbersome. It’s, therefore, advisable to include other people (or employees) from your company so that you can assign each one of them some specific chunk. That means you’ll first need to break up all the components of your website in smaller chunks that you can easily manage. Once everyone completes their assigned tasks, you can draw up the entire spreadsheet and start analyzing the data to work out your future SEO strategies.
So, It’s Time to Analyze!
It’s a good idea to provide everyone (who was involved in the process) access to the copy of the content inventory (spreadsheet). Then, you can all get together to analyze the data collected in the spreadsheet and share inputs and suggestions among one another. During the content audit, you can also add notes about deleting, rewriting or optimizing various pages, according to specific SEO requirements of your site.
Now you are ready to take action! You can delete the pages that have zero performance or you don’t really need. It’s a good idea to take appropriate action first on those pages that are most popular with readers. You can prepare a list of all the actions that you want to take in terms of on-page optimization. Delegate the tasks to responsible people (or parties), set deadlines and improve the visibility of your website or blog in search engines.
How does creating a content inventory for a site sound to you? Please feel free to talk back in comments.
I am regularly asked about the effectiveness of article marketing. It’s been a little over a year since the first Google Panda update in February 2011 when many sites took a major beating in keyword rankings.
While researching free SEO tools, I found a nice feature in SEMRush that allows you to see the number of keywords a site is ranking for over time. Using a graph that pulls information from the last four years, you can easily see if and when Panda updates hit the site. You can also tell if the site has since recovered their rankings.
The following are some of the top article directories and how they have fared in keyword rankings since the first Panda update. Note the spike around 3/2011 in the graph and everything thereafter.
Alexa Global Rank: 806
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.examiner.com/assets/handbook/index.html
Alexa Global Rank: 209
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.squidoo.com/originalitypact
Alexa Global Rank: 293
Editorial Guidelines: http://hubpages.com/faq/#what_is_allowed
Alexa Global Rank: 314
Editorial Guidelines: http://ezinearticles.com/editorial-guidelines/
Alexa Global Rank: 7,508
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.articlealley.com/guidelines.php
Alexa Global Rank: 2,660
Editorial Guidelines: http://goarticles.com/author.html
Alexa Global Rank: 1,321
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.articlesbase.com/editorial-guidelines
Alexa Global Rank: 4,834
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.articlesnatch.com/submitguidelines.php
Alexa Global Rank: 6,336
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.amazines.com/Article-Submission-Guidelines.htm
Alexa Global Rank: 3,802
Editorial Guidelines: http://community.suite101.com/support/suite101-submission-guidelines
Alexa Global Rank: 4,842
Editorial Guidelines: http://help.helium.com/helium-writing-standards
Alexa Global Rank: 1,868
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.buzzle.com/authors/become-author.asp
Alexa Global Rank: 9,756
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.articlecity.com/article_submission.php
Alexa Global Rank: 5,030
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.selfgrowth.com/submit_articles
Alexa Global Rank: 7,681
Editorial Guidelines: http://www.bukisa.com/info/bukisa-101
Do you use article marketing in your online marketing strategy? Has it been effective since Panda? What directories would you suggest?
Google is fast revolutionizing the face of SEO. It has almost vowed to take strict action against duplicate content and different types of web spam. The last year witnessed a range of Panda algorithmic updates, both major and minor. If your website gets its maximum share of traffic from Google, you should keep yourself abreast of the ongoing changes in the search ranking algorithm.
Most of the webmasters suffer from a feeling of apprehension, as to whether they would be able to survive the next algorithmic update by Google. They start shouting at even a slight indication of change in their website’s SEO, as an algorithmic update is announced.
Google only seems to expedite the process of algorithmic updates with the passage of time. If you paid some attention, you can easily remember the updates that Google launched last month. ‘Search Plus Your World’ rolled out on January 10. It updated its Panda algorithm with version 3.2 around January 18 while the ‘Page Layout Algorithm’ was announced on January 19. Such algorithmic changes show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
All you need to do is pay careful attention to every announcement that Google makes about a new change in its ranking algorithm. Don’t forget to confirm an update by checking out official resources (Google blogs).
SEO isn’t Spam, and It’s Not Dying Either
Officially, Google has always claimed that SEO is not spam or bad. After Google started the socialization of its organic search results, webmasters thought it was the death of good-old-fashioned SEO. No, SEO is not dying! All it means is that you can’t limit your SEO efforts to previous traditional tactics or best practices alone. You’ll now need to focus on many other things. It’s just the beginning of an era where SEO and social media marketing are getting intertwined intrinsically. But, does that weaken the title of SEO or make it only broader?
What to Do
SEO is continuously evolving. Since Google won’t miss to update its ranking algorithm at least 500 times every year, it only makes sense to plan out an effective strategy so that you can shield your website against any kind of sudden algorithmic update or a Panda smack down. Here are a few quick tips you can follow.
Don’t Panic – If you start to get panicky at each ranking algorithmic update or announcement by Google, you won’t be able to focus on the big picture.
Live up to the Expectations of Google – Get a clear idea of what a high quality website should look like or include. For more guidance on how to enhance the overall quality of your website, you can go through this post (published on Google Webmaster Central Blog).
Analyze Organic Traffic Trends – Analyze the organic traffic on a month-to-month basis. Most importantly, check out those periods where Google didn’t roll out any algorithm update. If your website’s organic traffic was impacted during that no-algorithm-update period, you might have some usability or other technical issues to focus upon.
Think Before Taking an Action – Don’t rush, as it won’t help. Whenever you notice a change in your website’s SEO, give it some time. Relax. Take all possible aspects of your website (including on-page and off-page) into consideration before arriving at any significant SEO decision.
Do you love Google’s Panda or Fear it? Please feel free to share your views on the changing face of SEO and how it impacts a site’s search rankings.