As Google improves it services and refines its algorithms, effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategies are increasingly important. Keyword stuffing, content milling, and other once-effective practices are failing because Google is shifting towards a more quality and user experience focus. Unfortunately, it’s easy to feel like you’re caught in the crossfire. You may think you’re doing everything right but aren’t ranking as well as you should.
The unfortunate truth is that it’s often not enough to just be “good” anymore on the internet. When competing for Google’s ranks, stellar quality has to be your baseline, not your goal. Even excellent quality, however, still has to be leveraged properly to make it stand out. Here are some ways to better improve your search profile.
Optimizing For Keyword Searches
You may use the right keywords. You may carefully pace them so as to avoid saturation. You may even make use of a good variety of ways to talk about your business so as to catch every possible search query, but still don’t see an increase in traffic.
One way to remedy this is to change where the keywords are located rather than how many there are. When classifying a piece of content, Google prioritizes the title first, the headers second, content third and meta description last. If your headers or title are made of graphics rather than text, change it as soon as you can since crawlers can’t read graphics as easily.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Google does not, technically, care about keywords anymore; it focuses on meanings instead. Doing a search for “vehicle repair”, “car repair”, and “auto shop facility” will end up with more or less the same results and order each time. This is because Google’s algorithms have gotten better at gleaning the topics behind queries and content.
This can be a benefit to you. Since the meaning is focused on rather than the specific word usage, you have some more flexibility in how you optimize your content. Using the priorities Google places on different parts of the web page, a strong strategy can be determined. Open with your best, strongest keyword in the title, with a variant of some form used in the headers. Save related terms for the content itself. This both focuses your SEO (on the title) while also expanding (in the content).
Avoiding Pandas and Penguins
Google Panda is a program that aims to cull what it deems low-quality websites from the higher search rankings. It will penalize your entire website rather than just the offending piece of content.
Panda is attracted by weak content. It responds to short or uninformative posts, poor-quality content, and badly written pieces in general. Panda is also influenced by human raters, people tasked to look over websites and give input on elements like trustworthiness or value.
Repelling Panda, therefore, means maintaining high standards. Original, high-quality content that establishes your website’s authority is the way to go. The more unique value you bring to the internet, the more Panda will let you go about your business.
Penguin is an algorithm that is focused on eliminating websites that use techniques which violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This mostly involves methods to artificially increase a page’s rank, such as link spamming, keyword stuffing, or doorway pages. If you don’t engage in these practices, it’s still possible to get hit by Penguin. This will most likely happen if your page’s comments get hit by spam bots. Notably, Penguin only penalizes the violating pages rather than the site as a whole.
The good news is that, unlike Panda, it is possible to appeal Penguin. If you suspect that your website has been affected, find and clean up any unwanted links then use Google’s Disavow tool and file for reconsideration. Another thing to note is that Penguin takes into account how many good links your pages have as well as bad ones. Building good links can also help keep the scale tilted on your side.
Note: In addition to Panda and Penguin, Google staff are capable of penalizing you manually if they don’t like what they see on your site. The good news is that the Google Search Console will alert you if this has happened. This is different than Panda and Penguin, which give no direct signs that you’ve been hit. The Manual Actions in Search Traffic section will also list the stated reason for the penalty. Should a Google staffer mark you down, take their critique to heart and work to improve on the weaknesses they expose.
Being Mobile Friendly
About half of all internet searches are done on mobile devices. Google takes this into account accordingly and prefers mobile-friendly sites for mobile users. It doesn’t matter if you have the best, most optimized content on the internet—if it’s not mobile, it won’t get high ranks. This isn’t just about Google, either; a basic part of a good user experience is keeping your site accessible, and mobile-friendliness is a huge part of that.
Generally speaking, it should be obvious whether or not your site is mobile-friendly or not. Just access it from your own phone and see how easy it is to use. There are also various tools available that can evaluate the amount of mobile-friendliness you offer. Use this information to adjust your load time and usability so that you don’t miss out on such a large audience.
Skilled and Talented Assistance
Numero Uno Web Solutions is a provider of search engine optimization, content marketing, and traffic building solutions to startup and small companies from all industries and fields. We stay on the pulse of industry changes and adapt our practices to produce quality SEO, content marketing, and traffic building plans to fuel the growth of businesses across communities. Click here to learn more about growing organic traffic, different, SEO techniques, and how we can help improve your search profile.