Millions of businesses throughout the world rely heavily on traffic generated through the major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) to generate traffic and sales, which is why the latest Google Panda(monium) update has led to chaos around the web. The update, designed to improve the overall search quality for users, was said to have affected over 12% of website rankings. This figure could be on the rise as newer (but smaller) updates seem to be released monthly.
- Original Content - High-quality, unique content has been (and always will be) the way to go when publishing content on a website. One of the biggest reasons sites were penalized was due to a lack of original, unique content. Spend the necessary time to ensure you don’t violate this website “code of conduct” and strive to have at least 500 words of content on your homepage, as well as the rest of your product/service sub-pages. If you are using content that is found on a different site, be sure to link to it and give credit to the source.
- Relevance - This one may sound like a “no-brainer” but you’d be surprised at how many sites there are that don’t match up the title tags/header tags with the content on the page. For example, if your site has a product page about dog food, make sure that the title tags, meta description, and headline tags contain the words “dog food” (hopefully a little more descriptive than that) in them.
- Backlink Profile -Search engines still rely heavily on a website’s link profile to determine how well the keywords rank. Strive to build a diverse backlink profile - don’t try and build all of your links from the same type of source. If you need help finding relevant places to build links, there are a few quality SEO softwares out there that can help. Also strive to integrate social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) into your business since any mentions of your brand via these mediums can lead to positive outcomes.
- Keyword Density/Variation - Don’t try and abuse or manipulate the system by spamming your keywords throughout your site’s content - search engines grow smarter by the minute and can almost always detect this. Instead, shoot to use your keyword (in different variations) about 2% of the total content. So if you are targeting a search term such as “weight loss pill”, use phrases such as “pill that can assist in weight loss” or “losing weight is a problem we all face. Fortunately, there are pills…”.
- Professionalism - Or in other words, make sure that the written content is grammatically correct without any misspellings, sentence fragments, or run-on sentences. To ensure that your site maintains a high level of professionalism, consider having 2-3 people read over each page of content to check for any of these errors. Yes, search engines can detect grammatical errors and may have an adverse effect on your keyword rankings.
- User-friendliness - Is your site easy to read and navigate, and does it offer insightful information (or helpful links)? High bounce rates are suspected to have a negative effect on rankings, so be sure to provide engaging content that will keep the user on the page for as long as possible with a desire to visit other pages of your site. Broken links are never a good thing. Be sure to update or 301 redirect them to their respective pages.
Keep in mind that having just 1 bad or irrelevant page of content can negatively impact the other pages of your site. Don’t get careless! Take some time to give your website a thorough review or get help from a professional SEO company and make sure you are keeping up to date with the latest SEO practices.