417 Marketing Blog

SEO in a Post-Panda and Post-Penguin Era

In the past couple of years, Google has waged a war on SEO and the people that practice it with two main updates to their algorithm, Penguin and Panda. Why? Two reasons:

  1. People are spamming search engines and it makes it harder for Google to do its job (provide quality, relevant results to searchers).
  2. They want people to spend their money on their pay-per-click advertising services (and not SEO).

The first reason makes sense. The second is a bit more sinister, I think. It doesn’t matter what I think though. What matters is this: how does one optimize a website in the current hostile environment, where Google is seemingly willing to do anything to kill SEO (even if it means lowering their own search quality to get rid of SEO’s and make more money in pay-per-click advertising)?

Start with a Quality Website

A professionally built website should be free of HTML errors, load quickly, and be easy for search engines to crawl. It should use current best practices for Meta data and incorporate quality content. Most importantly, it should have a strategy. What market are you trying to get in front of? Know your target and do your keyword research. Don’t hire a web design company that doesn’t have a firm grasp of SEO. Not if you want to be easy to find in search engines, that is. Having a well-built, properly optimized website is extremely important. It’s only going to get more important in the coming months and years.

Produce Lots of High-Quality Content

Let’s keep this simple, ok? I’m not going to go on and on evangelizing on why you need to blog more. What I will say is this: blogging serves two extremely valuable (and highly practical) purposes. One, regular blogging ensures that your website will have lots and lots of pages of quality content. Two, it will mean that your link profile will be naturally more…natural. Un-natural backlink profiles (ones with the same keywords repeated over and over again) are easy for Google to detect, and they have gotten more and more aggressive about penalizing sites that have these un-natural backlink profiles.

Build High-Quality Backlinks

Backlinks aren’t dead (yet). What is dead are low-quality backlinks. High-quality backlinks are VERY much alive. It’s important to build backlinks to authoritative, relevant websites. Anybody that tells you that backlinks aren’t important are being too simplistic. They are important. Just stay away from backlinks from sources that are not authoritative and/or relevant.

Get Social

Personally, I have better things to do than to spend all day on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. I’ll assume that you do too. But it doesn’t take all that much effort to use it effectively.

For Facebook, focus on likes (authentic likes…don’t buy them), shares, and comments on your status updates. There are two ways to do this.

  1. Produce high-quality content
  2. Help others. If you help others with social shares and comments, they will probably help you.

For Twitter, focus on curating a network of like-minded individuals. Use it to share information and network. Focus first on helping others. Help them spread their message, and they will be more likely to help you do the same.

Google+ is really no different. Find like-minded individuals and focus on helping others – both with information they find useful and in helping them spread their message.

Have you noticed a theme in the post? That theme is quality. Given that, I think it would be appropriate to point you over here, where I write about the hidden cost of cheap SEO services.

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