By Lane Houk
July 6, 2011
Specific keyword searches by a consumer is a very warm lead for a business, any business that has a relation to those keywords more specifically because that consumer/searcher has raised their hand and indicated a very specific interest for an identified need, desire or purchase. This is really why businesses spend so much time working on SEO strategies to improve their organic search rankings and work hard to get to page one of any SERP (search engine result page). More eyeballs on well-designed website means more leads and should then result in more sales conversions!
In April, Google announced their global release of a pretty hefty change in their algorithm, more recently coined the “Panda” or “Farmers” Update. This global release dated back to their announcement in February that their stated goal is to help users find more high quality sites in search.
Here’s a short excerpt from that February announcement:
“Our goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible. This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content—both good and bad—comes online all the time.
Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking—a change that noticeably impacts 11.8% of our queries—and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”
In essence, Google’s goal with Panda is to reward sites that do the best job of implementing best practices according to Google’s Quality Guidelines.
So here’s a quick open book quiz… What is Google is looking for?
- Fresh, quality, original content – yes, CONTENT is still KING and quality is QUEEN!
- Relevance, (ie. value for your reader) and
- Popularity (trends)
With this latest algorithmic change, Google is really identifying black hat techniques like Bots and Link Farms and giving those sites a huge slap by majorly devaluing their ranking which basically results in a major drop in site traffic! Google is an expert at recognizing “footprints” which is what link farms put out and Google is devaluing any site that is getting traffic from link farms or bots. They are also devaluing sites which copy content from other sites. Sites which use automated feed syndication techniques are going to need to be VERY careful with the content they automatically bring in; they’re going to have to be very careful to balance their content with original content and ensure that there is more original vs. copied or syndicated content.
So, what is Google looking for now? Based on my research, here the 5 NEW COMMANDMENTS TO BE FOUND IN THE HOLY GOOGLE... and by the way, I estimate that less than 7% of all professionals/businesses are using these new best practices mainly because they are still scrambling to figure out all these new changes and once they do, they are going to have to rework their strategies and, likely, their infrastructure. Many, many sites previously ranked high in SERP’s have seen a serious downgrade and thus a pretty big drop in free search traffic.
Commandment #1 – Make sure your site is built on an SEO Friendly website platform
Search engine crawlers like certain platforms that make it easy to “crawl” the site. WordPress is arguably Google’s top preferred medium or site platform (ie. SEO friendly). Template-based sites that make up a pretty large portion of small business and professional websites should be replaced with a more robust and SEO friendly platform like WordPress. Many people think that a WordPress site is only for bloggers but this a myth-conception. In fact, WordPress sites can function as a typical corporate website while also allowing for the business to incorporate a blog if they so choose all the while having the main site on a robust, SEO friendly platform which even the most basic user can use to add content and pages.
Template-based sites also often contain lots of pre-written content that, ultimately, is not original which will put the site at risk of being devalued, if that hasn’t already happened. For example, many Realtor, Chiropractor, Attorney, Doctor and Dentist sites are template-based and are sold to these professionals from companies who sell them on a very cheap solution because these template-based solutions are largely pre-configured thereby minimizing customization and human capital to actually build a custom site on an SEO friendly platform. In essence, cut corners at your own risk.
At the end of the day, if your company site is not getting traffic because the site’s value has been downgraded by the likes of Google, then that site is largely ineffective. After all, the goal of any website should be to ensure that the site is providing the business or professional a measurable ROI instead of just functioning as simple “brochure-ware” as I call it.
WordPress is a very powerful platform that can be configured to handle almost anything a site owner can dream of. We are WordPress experts… give us a call and we can discuss some simple, affordable internet marketing strategies using WordPress as the platform.
Commandment #2 – Content must be original and lengthier than in times past
Part of the Panda update in algorithm is to look for content length and looking for originality and similarity. An established SEO technique has been article writing wizards or services; often times these articles are lacking in originality and/or length. Ideally, the length of any new article or site post needs to be 400 words or more. Don’t go overboard, because the value to your reader should still be the driving force and we all know that an overly long article or post can cause readers to lose interest however Google crawlers will like content between 400-500 words.
Originality is obvious but some of the black-hat techniques of the past which resulted in un-original content is going to likely result in a Google “slap” and you don’t want that to happen to your site so, BE ORIGINAL. Originality takes more time but you will be rewarded highly if you produce quality, original content for your readers!!! Don’t be afraid of length. If you’re still reading this, you’ve already read over 1000 words. The devil is in the quality and relevance details.
Commandment #3 – Interlinking
Pages that link to another page within your site are an excellent way to show search engines that your website has related content (a website should be a collection of related web pages). It can also increase the value of web pages not yet considered important to search engines. If your website’s pages are well-linked in a coherent manner, the website in general can appear earlier in search results. Tip: Use Anchor Text (specific keywords) linking to another page on your site. In other words, avoid the “CLICK HERE” method of linking and instead use keyword-rich links to another page in your site using the actual keyword(s) or anchor text.
Affordable Internet Marketing SEO Tactic: Do this on the page or pages that are already ranking high by Google if at all possible. This tactic may very well be the one thing that gets your page from spot 5 or 6 on page one to the top spot.
Commandment #4 – Multimedia is important
Not just text-based content… Video is much harder for a bot/technology to automate and autopost and Google knows this which is why they place positive emphasis on video and other multimedia content in a site. YouTube videos, Audio, video content on other sites like Vimeo.com or Howcast.com are great places to upload video and then embed or link to that multimedia in your post or page.
Yes, you can still automate or syndicate the posting of video in a site and that is actually a really great affordable internet marketing tactic because the more you can automate, the less cost you have to continuously bring that content in to your site. WP-Robot is a great affordable internet marketing automation solution to consider.
Commandment #5 – Use Social Media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to excerpt your content and link back to your page/post
Here’s a little tidbit of news in case you missed it… PostRank.com was recently purchased by Google… and you should pay attention to this and connect the dots with what is being focused on in this article.
Why is this important and what does it have to do with being the #5 Commandment in the new Google Bible for SEO? Simple: PostRank is the Google Analytics of Social Media.
Why is social media important to SEO with the new Panda update? Because Social Media is majorly relevant, real time, trending and largely original content! Didn’t we just cover that?
If you don’t think that Social Media is important to Google then what do you think Google’s purpose behind the Google+ Project is all about? The Google+ Project is taking direct aim at social networking.
- Google+1 is highly similar to the Facebook “like” button
- Google+ includes “Circles” – “Hangouts” – and “Sparks” to list a few of the known elements of what’s coming down the pike…
I think it is safe to say that the folks at Google truly understand the relevance and exploding popularity of social networking and the fact that millions and millions of people are using social media everyday to connect, interact and engage. If you need a statistic to verify this, as of the date of this writing, 750 Million People are registered on Facebook. 750 Million! Thus, it logically follows that social media popularity in any given moment along with some simple backlinking in your social activity should serve a site very well as this new algorithm continues to look for trends, relevance and fresh, original content.
The great thing is that it’s quite easy and time-efficient to use social media to engage and keep fresh content streaming to the online communities, especially the one’s you are hopefully engaging for your own business!
Here are some quick ideas…
- Build a quick Fan page on Facebook
- Hit your Twitter account with fresh tweets
- Use your YouTube channel with new, fresh videos (use free software like UtipU or Camtasia
- Update LinkedIn with new content/announcements
- Don’t forget to backlink on all social accounts “back” to your main site
So, there you have it, Lane Houk’s 5 New Commandments that have been added to the Holy Bible of Google SEO! I hope this article gets you on your way to addressing any current weaknesses based on these latest updates and gives you some new ideas, strategies and tactics you can employ to make sure your site gets a solid “thumbs up” from Google and its crawlers going forward, not to mention the other search platforms like Yahoo + Bing and the many others!
If you would like to discuss how my company, Think Big Enterprises, can help you and your business, please call me directly at (813) 438-2428 or feel free to email me at info [at] AffordableInternetMarketing.org
And to close, if you’re still reading this, you read a 1933 word article. Congrats! You must be serious about learning!
Copyright 2011 – Lane A. Houk – AffordableInternetMarketing.org – All Rights Reserved