After all the Google Panda, Google Penguin algorithm changes and in fact the latest one on EMD or Exact Match Domains last week, you probably know just how serious Google is in weeding out crappy sites. I thought this is a good time as any to sum up what are now the new rules of SEO and just what Google expects to see in a good decent website.
This is not a comprehensive list and is what I have learned from reading up much from many respectable bloggers, SEO specialists and other people whom I have trusted in getting some of my SEO work done for all my niche sites:
Google checks sites out very carefully now for:
1) How trustworthy the site looks.
2) Repeat copyright violations, via DMCA takedown requests.
3) Over stuffing of keywords on the site itself.
4) Relevancy of the backlinks linking back to the site.
5) No follow links in the site’s link profile.
6) An over used keyword being used in the backlinks linking to it.
7) Conversation taking place on social media sites about the site.
8) Social qualifiers in the anchor text linking to the site.
9) Plus a whole slew of other as of yet unknown factors.
If your site does not look trustworthy for whatever reason you risk losing your ranking if it ever gets manually reviewed by Google. So if your site is scarce in the content department or looks unappealing you can count on someone snitching your site out and you losing the ranking if and when it gets to the first page of the SERP’s.
SEO is a very competitive world. Someone with better content on their site than yours is not going to like losing their ranking to you if your content is rotten. So keep that in mind whenever you expend energy or money attempting to rank a site.
Your site needs to be clean looking, decent amount of original content, not overly plastered with advertisements and properly optimized for the new algorithm in order to succeed in the post Panda and Penguin era of SEO.
What is the proper way to optimize your site post Penguin?
For starters you can throw the old optimization playbook we have all been playing by right out the window because the plays just plain do not work anymore.
Google has made it clear that clean layout, logical navigation, and appealing design are now an integral factor in their determining a site’s ability to gain ground in the SERPs. While using an ultra-simplistic layout to maximize CTR or a widely-used free template to save on up-front costs for bulk site building may seem appealing, you’ve really got to ask yourself if the potential long-run sacrifice is worth the short-term savings. Perhaps it may be; but in most cases I believe it’s not.
PAGE TITLE TAG – <title>Page Title</title>
I never choose to single out one specific on-page element that is more important than all else, but if I did, it would be the page title tag. Along with the meta description tag, they’re the only pieces of your website that are explicitly displayed to visitors in the SERPS. Good practice of this tag calls for insertion of a single instance of your keyword aside or within other words that are relevant to your site content. In addition, be sure each page on your site has a unique title tag that does not exceed a total of 10 words.
Appropriate –> <title>Guide to YOUR KEYWORD and other keywordy things</title>
Not Appropriate –> <title>YOUR KEYWORD</title>
Not Appropriate –> <title>YOUR KEYWORD | A Variation of Keyword | And Another Variation of Keyword | And One More Variation of Keyword</title>
META DESCRIPTION TAG
<meta name=”description” content=”A sentence or two containing a single keyword instance within page-relevant text, unique from all other meta descriptions, and less than 160 characters.” />
With the page title tag, the meta description tag is shown to search engine visitors on the SERP as a snippet below your page title listing. Make sure it contains spam-free text with a single instance of your keyword, does not exceed 160 characters, and is present but unique on every single page of your website.
META KEYWORDS TAG
<meta name=”keywords” content=”primary keyword,secondary keyword,tertiary keywords…” />
Do not use the meta keywords tag. All of the top search engines have said for years that they ignore the meta keywords tag – but we still recommended its integration, cuz, you know, just in case. But now that Google has made it clear that the latest algorithm updates are exactly focused upon seeking out examples of keyword spam and over-optimization, it makes absolutely zero sense to hand them the master list of the terms they should seek out for examination. Dump it from every page on your website!
TOTAL WORD COUNT & ANCHORED TEXT RATIO
The minimum recommended word count for a single page is 450 words, but do not place all 450 words within anchors. In general, a page’s normal body text should outweigh its anchor text by a margin of AT LEAST 5 to 1
OVERALL PAGE KEYWORD DENSITY & ON-PAGE ANCHORS
There is no magical target keyword density which the search engines are seeking. Like many other factors, keyword density is elastic; the ideal percentage is variable and relative to other site factors. That being said, some safe generalizations we can make are:
1. Keyword density should be above 0.5% – one keyword instance per 200 words on your page;
2. Keyword density should not exceed 4% – eight keyword instances per 200 words;
3. Keywords should not appear excessively as anchor texts upon your page. Once or twice in the main navigation and once within relevant body copy is acceptable;
4. Keyword instances should be spaced apart from each other, never used in repeated spam fashion;
5. Keyword instances should not be stylized (bold, italics, underline) without reasons pertaining to enhancing visitor experience.
PAGE HEADINGS & IMAGE ALT ATTRIBUTES
Your keyword should appear once within an H1 tag upon your page and once within the alt attribute of one of your page’s images, but never in excessive fashion. It used to be good and standard practice to see how many keywords we could jam into H1′s and image alt attributes, but no longer.
WORDPRESS TAG CLOUDS
Do not use them.
HTML Site Maps and XML sitemaps greatly enhance a search engine’s ability to crawl your pages in an effective manner. An HTML Site Map is a page the same as any other on your website that contain a single link to every other page on your site. It should be linked to from your site’s navigation or subnavigation in the same manner as the other top-level pages. An XML sitemap is an xml file containing links to your site’s pages that is published for search engines. It should be named sitemap.xml and placed on the top level of your site directory – yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml.
Of course all that may change overnight when the next algorithm is rolled out but as for now keep them in mind when optimizing your site.
SEO or search engine optimization has evolved to an unimaginable state like today. Gone are the days when it was so easy to rank your niche site or your blog by just blasting your site with 10,000 links using your main keyword.Today Google wants you to be continually building high quality links using to a wide variety of similar keywords not just to your home page, but inner pages too. While SEO is a lot more expensive today it still is by far the best way get high search engine rankings that stay for a long time. Outsource to the professionals to do the job if you can afford it as that takes care of all the headaches and heartaches.