Since Google brought the Penguin and Panda updates online, it has caused chaos for a lot of webmasters. Google still sends out warnings to site owners that they have links pointing to their site that are not good, however they never tell you which ones, and yet they recommend that you do not use the Disavow tool. If your site has thousands of links what can you do? Nothing. Do not do anything, just ensure that the SEO you do from now on gives Google exactly what they want.
When these updates first came out, and Google started notifying people of bad links, and thousands of sites ended up receiving emails asking for links to be removed. This was rather stupid, as many links that were removed were actually positive ones, and so not only had webmasters taken a beating off Google, they also gave themselves a beating by lowering their own rankings. The webmasters that ignored these emails didn’t get hit by any kind of penalty.
So why had a lot of sites taken such a big hit with these Google updates if it was not due to bad linking? Well Google do not penalize sites for what they consider bad links pointing to them, as theoretically, you can’t control who links to a site. So what did happen to sites that dropped down the rankings? Google took down a lot of link networks, and so the Pagerank juice coming from them no longer counted on the sites they were pointing to. It was this lowering of the PR that caused sites to drop down the rankings, not any kind of penalty.
With the rankings having settled down in recent times, webmasters need to make sure that they use SEO techniques that make sure they are not only Penguin and Panda proof, but can also sail through any future updates in the years to come. It is reported that Google now uses over 200 variables to determine the ranking of a web site, and so you need to make sure that you use numerous SEO techniques. Most of the old practices you have known for years still work, they just have less effect on your overall ranking score, but this does not mean you should not use them.
Below you will find a number of techniques you need to implement to make sure that your site moves up the rankings during future updates, and at worse, stay the same. All of these techniques should be implemented if possible.
• Always setup a new Google Account for each web site, it may be easier to use just the one, but they should really be kept separate.
• Install Google Analytics on your site, and use both Google’s and Bing’s webmaster tools. If you use WordPress, then there are plugins available.
• Always interlink your pages, these links are just as important as links coming in from third parties.
• Always use H1 tags, but also H2, H3 etc if they fit into the page. Always ensure that H1 are used first.
• Your keyword should be in the URL, the title and description, and as a tag.
• Bold and italics used to be a favorite for SEO, but it has fallen out of favor. However, Google still uses it as a way to find keywords, just do not overuse them. If you can Bold and interlink even better.
• Make sure that your description is no more than 156 characters, as anything over that will not be shown on the results pages.
• The rules for backlinking have changed, so make sure you abide by them. You need a diverse spread of backlinks from all kinds of sites. This means blogs, forums, article directories, social media, and anything else you can think of. In fact, think what happens naturally, and then do that. Loads of links from the same kind of sites now gives out a red flag as unnatural.
• When using keywords in your backlinks you need to randomize them. If Google sees that 80% of all your backlinks are for ‘XYZ Widgets’, then that is another red flag. You need to split the backlinks between primary keywords, secondary keywords, naked URL’s, and calls to action. How these are split is still up for debate, but a ratio of 40:40:10:10 should do. Calls to action are just keywords such as ‘Click Here’ and ‘More Information’.
• There are plenty of tools for spying on the competitiors above you, so use them. Find out where they are getting the most PR juice from and try and get a link from those sites.
• Use either an online tool or a plugin to check for broken links. The odd one here and there is fine, but if they start to mount up then they can count against you. If you have a forum with tens of thousands of pages, do not worry about broken links. Google works on a percentage, so those that are broken, compared to those that aren’t will be a tiny figure, and so are irrelevant.
• Use the Google Keyword Planner tool to find keywords, and write a post on each of them. If you are no good at writing, or do not have the time, then outsource it. You should only pay around $4 for a generic SEO article.
• Use Google’s PageSpeed tool. Site loading times now effects your rankings, the faster your site loads, the higher up the ranking you will be. Even small tweaks such as compressing graphics more can move you up a few places.
• Make sure you server is using compression and caching to speed up your site.
• Make sure you have accounts with the main social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and Google+.
• Make sure all of the images have ALT tags.
• Use a sitemap, and have it submitted to Google and Bing.
As you can see, not much has really changed apart from the way you use backlinks and keywords, and social media now plays a bigger part in ranking. By using the above techniques on a regular basis, you should ensure that your web site is secure from any of those nasty updates Google like to surprise the webmaster world with.
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