Let’s get something straight here: spammy SEO techniques do in fact work. But they only work until Google catches on, which could take a few months. In the meantime, you’ll rocket up the pages of Google (and those other search engines) and look like an SEO superstar. But in the long run, it’s not worth it, and when Google catches up, you’ll be ranked even lower than you started. The moral here is that you should think in the long-term, be ethical, and avoid wasting space just because they say you should always be updating.
With new Panda and Penguin updates from Google, we can see that now, more than ever, spam techniques are being targeted, and new, more scholastic site improvements are being rewarded. With this in mind, here’s a few ideas that I cleaved from Moz’s Whiteboard Friday, which explored this very topic.
The beauty of interconnectivity and offsite references
One of the most important things that the new Panda and Penguin updates emphasize is the importance of propagating visible clout (as in hyperlinks). Offsite references are links from your content to the content being…referenced. Case in point, here’s a link to the blog post that triggered Moz’s Whiteboard Friday talk.
You already know that your website needs backlinks in order to grow. At the same time, you need to recognize that you must do the same by citing your sources. We’re helping you, the reader, find Moz’s post; and we’re helping this article by showing Google that it has something to do with Moz’s post. Follow me? Good. So you can increase SEO by citing your sources contextually, or at the bottom of your content like a bibliography—either way makes Google happy.
Make sure your site is getting good reviews
In real life, how people talk about your company can make or break it. Likewise, when it comes to the internet, your reviews have a lot to do with your success. Did you know that your SEO is affected by reviews? Google can read reviews on verifiable websites in order to understand more about your domain. This means three things: make sure your website has a kick-ass UX, politely request reviews from your customers on Google or review sites, and check up on such reviews to make sure you’re doing things right. If not—make plans for change.
About that UX, can we see what’s up?
It’s worthwhile to remember that Google is run by academics, which helps explain the importance of offsite references. Along the same line of thought is the idea that observing good business practices means making it easy for the customer to find and recognize what he or she wants. With this in mind, go back to your website and make sure you’ve included your company’s information not only on the “contact” page, but on every page. Even if it’s just an address in the footer, that’s what needs to be done.
Another aspect of the UX to be aware of is its clarity. If someone visits your website and finds the contact form, will they know that’s what it is? What’s clear to you might not be clear to your customers, or to Google either. It’s like making a comic strip—sometimes a comic that makes you laugh out loud will fall on deaf ears when it goes public. So go back and make sure the contact page isn’t just a default form, but something robust, with additional contact details, hours, anything that would be helpful to visitors.
The on-page conundrum
Why is on-page SEO a conundrum, you say? So much of what we thought we knew to be correct optimization practices turn out to be bologna (and I’m talking store brand bologna, folks). Where before it was all about having 4% keyword density, now we’re talking more about keyword synonyms and combinations. Now it’s actually frowned upon to create anchor text with keywords, where before it was the norm. And you know what we think about these changes? We love ‘em!
As SEO professionals we can actually say, “don’t repeat keywords so much on a page or across the website—it hurts your SEO.” We can even say, “don’t publish just to publish.” Thanks to Google updates, we can finally be ethical and rewarded for it!
So with this in mind, you can increase SEO if you make some basic corrections. Don’t ever write keyword-packed content. It’s not only annoying, but also Google won’t approve. And though you should want to update, don’t just update to update—create “wow” content that will be shared. And last but not least, don’t make orthographical errors—write well and observe good grammar, ‘aight?