The Google Penguin 2.0 update was released on or around March 22, 2013 and since this date many webmasters have really felt the sting of lost rankings in Google. It is now common to read articles with a title similar to, “Is SEO Dead?”. It is understandable that individuals are frustrated, concerned, or upset about ranking losses, after all, how well you rank in Google could potentially control your livelihood.
Personally, I do not think SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is dead at all; however, I do believe that the days of trying to cheat the system is over. For years website owners have been able to take low quality content, point a bunch of low quality links to that content, and suddenly achieve high rankings. Those days are over. In order to best optimize your website for Google the number one secret (and it really is not that big of a secret), is to follow the rules Google has provided us all in their Google Webmaster Guidelines.
It is always ironic to me that individuals will search hard for articles explaining how to improve rankings (like this one) before they will even take the time to read the Google Guidelines. I have seen some of my websites affected by Google’s Penguin and Panda Updates; however, instead of complaining I have started taking steps to correct the issue and make my website focused around my visitors. I can only hope in time I will be rewarded for following these rules.
Our distinguish research team have released a great infographic demonstrating some do’s and don’t if you want to rank well in Google. After the latest Penguin 2.0 update we wanted to provide you with some updated and relevant tips that could help you rank well in Google. Remember, achieving great rankings is a process that takes time, building a brand, etc. Do not grow impatient and give up, follow the rules exactly as outlined by Google and you will slowly start to see results.
How to Rank Well in Google (Infographic):
Simple Rules to Follow to Improve Google Rankings:
- Rule #1: Content is King. You have heard this many times but go ahead and let it sink in now. Sites that consistently produce quality and informative content will be rewarded in the long run. Content can include but not be limited to: Articles, Infographics, Videos, PDF files, Guides, etc.
- Rule #2: Freshness. It is important to keep your website content “Fresh”. This can mean a couple of different things including: Regularly posting new quality content, Content should be relevant and up-to-date, and Content should be unique giving readers added value.
- Rule #3: Unique Content. If someone else has already published the information you are about to publish what added value are you giving the internet? Google rewards those who give added value to everyone on the web.
- Rule #4: Social Media. More-so now than ever social media plays a role in rankings. It is important to build a brand for your image and this requires a strong presence on sites like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Rule #5: Free of Technical Errors. A site with fewer technical errors can be crawled more easily by Google, users can have a better experience on your site, and the site will be faster. Therefore, making sure your website is w3 compliant is very important.
Google Panda Victims:
If you fell victim to one of the Google Panda updates there are a few possible reasons. The Panda updates historically have related closely with site’s content; however, who you link to from your website could potentially be considered under the “panda” update. I will outline just a few reasons you may have been hit by the Google Panda Update in the past.
- Reason #1: Thin Content. Too many websites in the past had very generically written articles that had little to no real substance. Your content should be rich and full of quality content.
- Reason #2: Duplicate Pages to Target Keywords. If you are in a niche and have found yourself writing separate articles solely focused around the main keywords in the niche, you most likely were hit by the Panda update.
- Reason #3: High Ad Ratio. If your website is cluttered with ads or promotions than it is obvious it is not centered around providing a great experience for your readers. Therefore, you will see a penalty.
- Reason #4: Empty Webpages. Having short or low value-added content is not acceptable anymore.
- Reason #5: Purchased Links. You should never spam your website with purchased links. If you do sell an advertisement spot to another business be sure to label it with the rel=”nofollow” tag and clearly let your readers know it is paid advertisement.
7 Important Things to Know:
There are several things you should have learned after the latest Google updates. Old techniques for getting rankings will no longer work to improve SERPS. Remember these seven tips when you begin working to improve your rankings in Google.
- Tip #1: Bad Links = Counterproductive. In previous years individuals swould go out and try to purchase links from low quality sites, this will no longer work. The perfect link is one that you achieve naturally when someone enjoys your content.
- Tip #2: Hackers Get Revealed. Google has found a way to identify sites that are used to hack, phish, or deceive internet users. Please do everyone on the internet a favor and make decisions that are ethically and morally correct.
- Tip #3: Niche Authorities Get Better Rankings. Sites that focus on a specific niche and become an authority brand in that niche tend to rank higher in Google. It is important to work on building your brand/image and become an expert in your niche and Google will reward you for your efforts.
- Tip #4: No more cliffhanging. You may be confused what we mean by “Cliffhanging” so I will try to explain. In the past website owners would attempt to deceive users with article titles, false meta descriptions, etc. Users would then click to read an article and be sadly disappointed that the site had nothing to do with what they were researching. Google has found a way to catch this so it is important to be honest and keep everything relevant to the information on your site.
- Tip #5: No More Clustering in Google Serps. In the past website owners could attempt to take over multiple top spots in Google Search results. With the latest updates you will see far fewer results from the same site in the results for a specific keyword.
- Tip #6: Multiple Languages are Affected. It is not only sites from your country being affected by Google’s changes, the changes are global.
- Tip #7: Guest Blogging Effectiveness. After the initial Panda and Penguin updates many site owners turned to guest blogging to gain links back to their site. Unfortunately, like many techniques people found a way to abuse the guest blogging system; therefore, the lastest update has taken away some of the effectiveness of guest blogging articles. Sponsored/Advertising links should clearly be marked with rel=”nofollow” as previously mentioned.
Our researchers have spent a great deal of time working to not only tell you but also visually show you how to rank well in Google and how things have changed over the past few years. The most important tip I can give you though if you wish to improve your rankings in Google is actually pretty simple, read and follow the guidelines set forth by Google.