SEO is one of those markets that adapt and change almost constantly, partially because it is a constantly improving and advancing area, and partly because it depends so much on what the search engines are doing. And as those of us in the industry can tell you with complete confidence; the search engines are always changing.
Google, in particular, being the biggest search engine on the net is one of the biggest factors you need to take into account when developing your SEO strategy, but to do so effectively you need to know what Google is doing and how that impacts you.
What are the key things Google has done in recent years? Well, there has been a much bigger focus on penalizing duplicate and low-quality content.
Punishing those who share and allow low-quality links. Penalizing certain types of content, with more specific punishment towards content relating to or advertising ‘spam topics’ (these updates were released as part of the payday loan algorithm updates and target short term loans, PPI, accident insurance, and other such topics commonly associated with cold callers and spammers).
Another update has targeted a number of those within the blogging community, as blogging has grown in popularity and become an increasingly popular part of SEO strategies in the form of guest posting in order to gain backlinks.
Now – this is something that I will explain in more detail later, after all this article is a guest post, and my author bio does include a backlink, but I’m not concerned that I’m about to get penalized for it.
With these things in mind, what should you be doing with your SEO as we come into
What’s your site content like? Google algorithms are punishing duplicate content and weak content more than ever before. It doesn’t have to just be unique, it needs to be interesting, relevant to other content on your site, legible, and useful.
Google has some very intelligent algorithms, it can tell which content is providing the most valuable resource to the customers by keeping track of bounce rates, comments, engagement, the connection between that specific content and other content on your website, you link profiles and so much more, which it uses to decide who should be given the highest-ranking positions.
Even if you have to re-write every bit of content on your website you should do it, even product descriptions. Trust me; as someone who has worked in SEO for a number of years and spent months updating the 3,000 product descriptions on one website to ensure that they were all unique and useful; I can promise you it has a positive impact – and this does make the process worth it.
Do you blog? Blogging isn’t something everyone can do well, some businesses just aren’t suitable for blogging, but there is always an alternative. Don’t blog? Then do you offer your own twist on industry news? Do you provide a selection of resources that are useful to your customers?
Do you share pictures and information about your latest projects? If you could do any of these things, even if you don’t do it already, then you could blog. Google loves blogs, they provide fresh and interesting new content on a regular basis, engage the audience and increase the amount of information-based content on your website.
Guest blogging was once one of the biggest and most effective ways of getting a backlink from a decent site, but these days it is much harder and in general rather largely frowned upon. Of course, as this post demonstrates I still use guest posting to share content, and I do use this to gain a backlink, but it isn’t doing it that causes problems; it’s doing it wrong.
If you want to guest blog there are some things you need to make sure you’re doing; share quality content. Don’t offer up something to post on someone’s blog that you’ve posted in fifty other places already, all of your content should be unique even if it isn’t on your website. Provide unique, quality content that serves a purpose, not just something that gives a backlink.
The idea would be that you know what you’re talking about and you can provide effective information that the readers are going to value enough so that they would want to go and read your blog, not just so that Google can see a page has linked to you.
Do you have social media profiles? You should have at least one! With so many social networks around these days, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have at least one profile for your business, and in some cases, you should have a selection of them.
Give your business a Facebook page and Twitter profile, sometimes customers will look to these social networks as means to contact the company, but they allow a greater standard of engagement and encourage you to produce more shareable content, which can drastically improve your organic searches.
Follow the Google blog – generally, Google lets you know about the updates that are going on and how you can handle these. Unfortunately, we haven’t had good old Matt Cutts to help us figure things out for a little while, and he is extending his leave so we may continue to do without his informative little videos and updates for some time to come. But keeping up with his blogs, the Google blog, and websites like Moz and SearchEngineLand can also help you to keep up to date with the goings-on of Google and how the SEO industry needs to respond to these changes.