It’s now an established fact that ranking high on Google can have a significant impact on winning new business. Little wonder then that many businesses adopt unscrupulous methods to optimize their web pages for higher search engine ranking. Google, on the other hand, has been continuously introducing improvements to its algorithms to improve the search experience for all its users. The recent rollout of Penguin 2.0, as the company has dubbed its latest algorithm update, is a case in point. Instead of the usual refresh, this time around, Google has completely revamped its algorithm to minimize web spam.
According to Google, the Penguin 2.0 update will penalize websites that adopt black hat web marketing techniques to rank high on search engines. Penguin 2.0 will identify websites that purchase links, employ spam, publish bad content, create low quality backlinks, and adopt other such questionable online marketing practices. The previous Penguin updates were also aimed at catching black hat techniques such as these. Penguin 2.0 takes this stringency several steps further, and is a much more comprehensive update that will test websites on several parameters.
What can you do to avoid a drop in your ranking?
If you have built a backlinks profile that is in contravention to Google’s guidelines then your page ranking can drop significantly. Key areas you need to watch out for are listed below:
- Low-quality inbound links will be given less weightage, so you need to improve the quality of your links or face Google’s wrath
- Start auditing your backlinks to ensure that they are aligned to the new Google standards
- Your content needs to have depth and demonstrate industry expertise
- All advertorials and spam links across your website need to be eliminated
- Avoid heavy usage of exact match anchor text links
- Become an authority in your target market: Build your online authority by offering a wide variety of content types. Websites that provide visitors highly authoritative content are likely to rank higher. Companies that are dealing in niche areas and targeted markets have an advantage here. Provide fresh, high quality content on a regular basis.
- Leverage social media: Post links to your content on Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social media sites relevant to your business; market your content using the Like and Share features most social media sites offer, and most importantly, build a strong online network.
- Avoid Keyword Misuse: Penguin 2.0 will enable Google Web crawlers to assess the anchor text being used to link to your website. Avoid using too many keywords as your anchor text. Google could misinterpret this as a black hat tactic and lower your rankings.
- Earn your links: Penguin 2.0 will strictly penalize sites that buy backlinks. Create quality, authoritative content to earn links.
How to Benefit from Penguin 2.0?
SEO Moving Forward
If you are building a new website or revamping your existing one, don’t wait till the site is ready before you call in an SEO expert. Your website architecture is integral to the success of SEO. Involve an SEO expert right from the planning stage to maximize benefits. Additionally:
- Ensure your information architecture is intuitive: Your information architecture is as important if not more so than the web technology you use in the backend. Don’t focus purely on the aesthetics of the website. Take usability into consideration while planning your information architecture.
- Eliminate duplicate content: Don’t deploy the same content for related webpages. If you are running an online campaign, don’t reuse the content from a related product or service description page. Create fresh content for each new page you add to your website.
- Plan your keyword strategy: Align your keyword strategy with the needs of your business. Analyse the websites of your competitors. Don’t overuse your keywords in your anchor texts but leverage them effectively.
- Content is still king: Ensure that your web pages provide relevant information with all the necessary information a potential customer is likely to seek. Think human—if you were the buyer what information would you require to aid you in your decision making process? Make sure that information is available on your website.
- Website search functionality: If you have a comprehensive website, offering information about multiple products and services, you need to provide your visitors an internal search function. Don’t expect users to spend time hunting for information on your website. But if they found interesting information on your website they are more likely to run a search query for related information. You can also leverage these insights on search patterns within your site to refine your keyword strategy.
- Analyse, analyse, analyse: Create dashboards, pull out site visit details, check which keywords work best, identify pages that are most visited and list the pages with maximum bounce rates. Now analyze this data to fine-tune your content and keyword strategy so you can make it more effective in driving traffic to your website.
Contact WSI Thames to help you plan an effective SEO strategy in 2013 and stay on the right side of the Google Zoo!