Are you worried by the latest Google’s algorithm update (Farmer / Panda Update)? Then read on.
As Google’s algorithm gets smarter, content farms are getting weeded out of the search results. The stricter quality guidelines make for better search results, but they also make it even more important for you to put an emphasis on letting Google know you’re a high quality operation. Here are some tips on how to do that:
It used to be that you just had to label things nicely and search engines would know who you are and what your content was about.
For the most part, all you had to do was insert your keywords in the page title, again in the meta description, write clear headings that use your keywords, and sprinkle your keywords throughout the body text. Boom. Ranked. And people looking for your content or services would find you. It was nice, really.
Then, as people got wise to the algorithm (and spammers abused the system), search engines had a harder time serving relevant pages in their search results. So search engines evolved.
Instead of focusing predominantly on keywords in the actual source code of a page, search engines started focusing more on how many links a site had pointing to it. Treating inbound links like votes, search engines began to reward sites with a higher number of inbound links (links from other sites).
But then overzealous link builders began gaming this part of the algorithm by generating as many inbound links as possible to their sites to manipulate search engines into thinking their site was more important than it actually was.
Search engines reacted by penalizing some of sites who took part in this style of manipulation (like the now-famous case of JC Penney).
So where are we today? In an era where Google is trying its best to separate the real brands from the content farms. And how are they doing it? By focusing even more on how humans are reacting to your content.
Sure, on-page optimization still counts (labeling your content accurately) and a good link profile still matters (how many quality sites are pointing their readers to you), but now more than ever social signals and brand equity are factoring into Google (and other search engines that copy their) rankings.
Google now wants to know how engaged people are with your content, and they measure it by social signals such as the number of Tweets associated with a URL, number of Facebook likes, and are even rumored to paying attention to performance metrics like the bounce rate of pages.
So, what can you do to help distinguish your real-life brand from the content farms that are being punished in Google rankings?
Avoid the “bad” SEO techniques…
- Volume directory link building
- Reciprocal linking schemes
- Writing low quality content that doesn’t serve a purpose for a human, but includes keywords
- Paid links with manipulative anchor text
- Generic design and layout
- Keyword stuffing in titles and page content
… and focus on the “good” SEO techniques
- Create content that humans will actually read the whole way through
- Manage social media accounts that have a real human running them and build an actual following
- Provide physical contact information with a real street address, real peoples’ names
- Register with government and civic organizations, and local business directories
- Claim your Google Places page
- Generate branded search query volume
- Receive traffic from diverse sources (as opposed to search engines alone)
Google wants to reward real businesses and organizations with real people creating original content that serves a purpose to other real humans. Focusing on anything else is a distraction to you, and provides useless results to Google.
Create quality content, label it clearly, and be clear about who you are – you’ll be rewarded with better search engine rankin, increased traffic and more importantly, happier readers / visitors.