Search engine optimization used to be so easy. It seems like just a couple of years ago you could just plug in some keywords you got from Google Keyword Tools, get some low quality links, and you would be ranking in no time. That is not the case anymore.
The recent Penguin/Panda updates have not been greeted too kindly by most in the internet marketing industry. Many believe that Google and Matt Cutts, Google’s head of web spam, is trying to manipulate search engine results and have contradicted many of the original commandments that they previously created.
That is most certainly not the case. Google, and Bing to some extent, are trying to make the best possible products for their users. There are trying to return each search result with the most relevant possible web page. They are not going to allow a websites offering sub-par products or services to rank ahead of tried and true companies that could genuinely be of benefit to customers. As much as I hate to say it, 80% of SEO is make the internet and search engines WORSE.
The recent update to the Google algorithm is trying to combat something that we have been adamantly working on for our clients for 2 years. Using the same anchor text for all of your out-bound links is not only obviously unnatural but is extremely easy for the web crawlers to pick out. Using various text in your link will not only help your site in the eyes of Google but also will help you organic keyword spread. The general rule is having a maximum of 55% of your links using the same anchor text.
Rules to Live By
It is pretty easy to see what the search engines want, and have wanted for some time. They are looking for natural linking sites with quality content. Focus on what it is that you do. Do not just go after the keywords with the most traffic. If you sell cakes, do not include cupcakes in your title tag just because you HOPE it will send addition traffic. Even if it does, traffic that arrive for cupcakes will increase your bounce rate.
I always refer clients to what we call the Trinity of a successful website. Quality, Direction, and Simplicity.
Quality is self-explanatory. If you have a blog, you should never post articles due to the sake of quantity. Always think before publishing an article, “Would I share this?”. If the answer is no, go back and revise or start over. The more sharable your posts are, the more natural links you will receive, and the better your site will do in the SERPs.
If you have an eCommerce site, focus on quality descriptions of each item. Is it going to take longer? Yes. But you will reap the benefits 10 fold.
Direction is key for any site. Users should be able to know how to navigate to the important sections of your site without even thinking. Large BUY NOW buttons, easy to read menus, and thoughtful navigation are key to optimizing your conversion rates and getting the most out of the traffic you receive.
Lastly, simplicity is important for customers and SEO. Make sure the search engines and potential customers know what you do and what they are there for. Nothing is worse than a site with five pop-ups, a chat window and 300 social media buttons on every page.
The moral of the story is don’t try to game the system. Provide great, clean information and do what it is that you do. As Google puts it “don’t be evil.”