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Google Penguin? But I’d just figured out Panda!

30 Jul

Google’s newest major update, Penguin, rolled out at the end of April and it’s managed to create a bit of a stir since then.

Of course, by “stir,” I mean crying and gnashing of teeth for people with crappy websites.

Sure, it sounds a little harsh, but you have to remember that the point of Google’s constantly updating algorithms is not to evilly punish everyone who’s trying to make a little living on the Internet.  The point is to weed out the bad seeds so that users can actually find your awesome content and not their sketchy content.

The lesson is simple: Keep your content fresh and your SEO honest.

Don’t try to “trick” Google into finding you. Don’t try to find sneaky ways around their very complicated, very top secret Penguin algorithm. Don’t stuff your site with keywords. Google is on to you – and they are going to make you pay for your dirty tricks.

Simply do what you can to make good content that people will want to read. Ensure you have a visually appealing website. Update your site frequently (something that I myself have been guilty of not doing as of late!). Try to find a niche that isn’t already hella-overpopulated. That’s how you get noticed on Google – I promise.

And if you’re moaning and groaning and saying, “But I was relying on keyword stuffing/link cloaking/insert-your-yucky-tactic-here, what can I do NOW?” well, please see above. I know it sucks to have to rethink your web strategy, but unless you run an online business where you don’t need Google on your side (rare to say the least!), then it’s in your best interests to play by Google’s rules – whether that’s Penguin or whatever animal comes next.

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The Little SEO Tip That Could: Part 4

30 Apr

Thanks for staying tuned to my SEO series: fabulous and simple ways to up your search engine rankings or the search engine rankings of your clients.

For the final installment, we’re talking about something super important: NON-SEO SEO.

Uh, what?

Yes, “SEO” stands for “search engine optimization,” which should mean whatever the current strategies are to make your site visible to search engine searchers, but unfortunately, it usually means “keyword stuffing.”

Last week I talked about why keyword stuffing is bad. It used to be that as long as your website had a whole crapload of repetitions of the same keyword, it would rank high for that keyword. Sadly, that was about 15 years ago and search engines have gotten a lot smarter and more sophisticated since then.

Thanks to Google’s Panda update, SEO means something new: social proof.

“Social proof” is a term that basically means that search engines like Google want evidence that communities of people are interested in your content… and thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and (very important!) Google Plus, it’s pretty easy for search engines to figure out what content people genuinely love.

To that end, you need to ensure your content is highly shareable. That means:

a) Include share buttons on your blog posts, articles, images, etc.
b) Make sure people actually like your content enough to share it.

Shareable content includes extremely well-written, interesting articles, cool videos, inspiring and/or funny and/or disgusting photos… you get the idea. Make sure you use catchy headlines and strong marketing copy for maximum impact.

And hey… if you like my stuff, please share using the links below. 🙂

The Little SEO Tip That Could – Part 3

23 Apr

Alrighty, today I want to talk to you about keyword placement for optimal search engine visibility.

Let me start by saying that what you don’t want to do is simply stuff your articles or blog posts full of your keywords. That’s called (and aptly so) “keyword stuffing” and Google picks up on it and assumes your content isn’t good enough to rank higher.

Ideally, you don’t use keywords at all… in a perfect world (or article), your content is naturally valuable and naturally contains language that people want to read and therefore search for.

In the real world, leveraging keywords is a practical way to ensure that you get noticed by Google.

Here are the spots where you want to include your keyword:

  • In your page title (the one that appears at the top of your browser)
  • In your article/blog title
  • Within the first sentence of your body content
  • One additional instance (or possibly more) in the body of your content
  • In the file name of your image (yes, the FILE NAME – you’ll need to set that before you upload)
  • In the image description
  • In the alternate text for your image
  • In the tooltips for your hyperlinks

These are all the perfect places to put your keywords because that’s where Google is mainly checking for them. Make sure you don’t overdo it by simply using your keywords over and over and over again in your content. That is crappy SEO and it doesn’t work.

Otherwise, the best thing you can do is not focus on your keywords too much and simply write great content – because even if your content isn’t keyword rich, Google uses a ton of other parameters to determine what is worthwhile on the web and therefore what should rank more highly.

(I can help you with your SEO and your great content – just get in touch.)

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