There been a number of people who asked me, “Why is it hard to rank in Google search nowadays?” and someone specifically asked me, what changes I notice in Google – in relation with the recent panda updates. Since last march 2011, Google has really changed the way search results are. Google now is so intelligent that it can scale quality websites and list them on a way that search results are useable.
So if you are someone who is busy working and just building and building links to save someone’s ass, here are bold notes why your page or website does not rank or having a difficulty on ranking in Google SERPS keyword search.
Remember the quote “Content is king”? You don’t just need content, but fresh content. The freshness of your content plays an important role in search engine optimization. The fresher the content is, the higher the chance that you can attract crawls faster. This is why blogging is always recommended as an approach to provide fresh content to end users and search engines. Even businesses should start a blog and know the magic behind enterprise blogging.
Freshness is scored based on its inception date, I remember reading this helpful post by Cyrus Shepard on SEOmoz blog – Freshness Factor: 10 Illustrations on How Fresh Content Can Influence Rankings
Old posts and pages do rank, since they are already an authoritative resource and provides an important information on search queries. This is why Wikipedia doesn’t have to be fresh always – and this is how genius Google in providing relevant search results.
Read more by reading the search quality highlight, dated 12/1/11 – Google search blog
How Google improved this month – search quality highlights – 50 changes, dated 4/3/12
Content Quality & Quantity
Ask yourself, is this good for my traffic? Would they want to share this post to their friends? Like it on facebook or even tweet it on twitter? Pin it on pinterest?
Keyword prominence, proximity, frequency and density, these 4 words can help you a lot on understanding what content you need to write, how you should write it and publish it. Prominence relates to how close to the beginning of the web page is your keyword. This is why writing title, description and headlines is crucial for every content. Proximity is the closeness of keywords and how are they relevant to each other. Density is the percentage of keywords that can be found on the indexable text on a web page and frequency is the times that a particular keyword appears on a webpage.
Content duplication can also put you down to hell, the www and non-www version of your website can be addressed on the webmaster tools under site configuration > settings > preferred domain.
Google, Yahoo and Bing can all recognize “rel=canonical” tag, a tag used to reduce content duplication in a way that you don’t have to delete or deindex the duplicate content. All you need is to add a rel canonical element on the link attribute. See this post Duplicate Content: Block, Redirect or Canonical written by IMI SEO Director, Benj Arriola to further your understanding about content duplication. You can also solve duplication on your content through Google Webmaster Tool, learn how
Overall content should be written on way that your traffic will WOW on it and tell everyone that your content is worth reading and consider it as an informative resource.
More reads on creating quality content:
What is anchor text and why is it so darn important in SEO by Hugo Guzman
A Guide to Producing Effective Ego Bait by James Agate on PointBlankSEO
High Quality Content on the Web = Golf by Tom Schmitz on Portent
Viral Content Marketing: Creating, Promoting and Scaling Content by KaiserTheSage
Design and Usability + Accessibility
User experience is the most important thing in optimization. Keeping your users happy and smiling will always drive them to come back and be a return traffic.
Remember the basics:
Page load speed
By all means, the faster the better. Since not all your traffic and customers will wait for your webpage to load. The slower the page loads, the higher the chance that you will get a bounce of traffic.
Why is my page slow?
- Images – High resolution images can eat you alive. You can always use photoshop to adjust the quality of your images. You can also opt in for an external hosting and just rely on embeds – Flickr, Imageshack etc.
- Videos – Streams can eat up your resources. You can use youtube, vimeo etc to upload your videos and just embed it into your website.
- Flash Animations – Many SEO professionals will opt out on flash animated designs. Not only that search engines can’t interpret flash animations, it can also eat resources.
What is the use of a flashy website, if it takes 4,5,6,7…10 seconds to load the web page – people can’t wait!.
Page Speed by Google, a family of tools used for optimizing the web page performance.
YSlow on Yahoo Developer Network, analyzes the web page and suggests ways to improve your website performance.
Responsiveness – Is your website responsive on mobile devices? Can it be access on different platforms? Extreme User Experience, Responsive Web Design.
Google cracks down Pages With Too Many Ads Above the Fold, Now Penalized By Google’s Page Layout Algorithm. So if you are serving ads and engaging on affiliates, understand how important to analyze ad placements.
Accessibility – Is your website accessible enough for users and search engine crawls?
- Sitemap, XML File and HTML version of your sitemap. Have it submitted on Google webmaster tool and keep the crawls flowing.
- Error 404 Pages, Page not found. Make sure that people who can’t find what they are looking for gets a little help from you. Setup a custom 404 page and don’t let your traffic bounce around.
Forgetting Usage Metrics
Often overlooked by many people, both website owners and SEO. Usage metrics is the most important thing on understanding your traffic. Seeing usage statistics such as frequency of visits, unique visitors count, pages per visit, visit duration and many more can show you the real score behind your website. And when you see it, you know if you need to work more to improve on such usage metric.
Forgetting something? How Google might rank pages based upon usage information
Google panda update is more focused on end user optimization, How Google panda changed SEO best practices forever – A thumbs up whiteboard Friday post that talks about Panda and usage metrics.
Spammy Link Building Methods
Building links has always been the main juice that fuel success in search engine optimization. If you want to do well in search, do it right – and when I said do it right, I mean stay out of those old link building methods that solely focus on manipulating search engines.
Buying links from link brokers – Sucks and a big time waste of money. This method is against Google webmaster guidelines and Google is actively detecting and disabling paid links so that it won’t pass any juice to anchored websites.
Reciprocal linking / Link exchange – Links should be obtained freely, not on a way that you will contact people and tell them that you will give them a link, when they link back to you. If you are doing this, we all know that you are trying to game the search engines.
Forum Spamming – Building links out of forum signatures and spammy comments. Remember the day that Paul and Angela became as famous as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie?
Spam Commenting – Thank you, Great post here, I will share this one. Low quality comments is not helping you. Comments work if you can build conversation out of it. So do a little more of talking and keep the conversation rolling.
Article Directory Submission – I don’t see that this will last forever. Still, many people use article directories to dump their spunned articles and get something, at least even a small drop of link juice out of it.
The concept of link building is so simple, do not focus on how you can manipulate search engines. Work on creating high quality contents that will drive your readers to share it with other people and everything will work in your way:
Favorite link building posts
Please Exit Link Building, Ross Hudgens
White Hat SEO: It F@$#ing Works, Rand Fishkin on SEOMOZ blog
Link Builders, do you look at the world through a link building lens?, Will Reynolds on SEER blog
21 Advanced Link Building Strategies, Jason Acidre on KaisertheSage
30 Link Building Experts You Need to Follow, Jon Cooper on PointBlankSEO
30 Ways You Can Earn More Guest Posts & Squeeze More Value Out of Them, James Agate on SkyRocket SEO
Photo credit – LutherBash
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