Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may change over time, but there’s no question that it will always be important for someone who wants his or her website found. The good news is that while many of the rules change with every algorithm update released by Google, you can still retain your rankings by keeping in mind what the search giant wants. Other search engines attempt to mimic Google to a limited degree, and Google has the lion’s share of traffic with an estimated 70% of all searches being through them. Making sure your SEO and marketing efforts give the big G exactly what they want is the best way to maintain and even boost your site’s position on SERPs.
Here are some tips to help you understand Google’s philosophy:
The importance of social media campaigns
The last few updates have made social media more important than ever, but it’s also important to have the right type of social media setup. If you have a two-year old Twitter account with no tweets or a two-year old Facebook page with no posts then that isn’t going to do you any good. This doesn’t even mean that you have to update every single day, but Google can see the measure of activity and if your site ever comes under manual review, those bare accounts aren’t going to look good.
All sites should want a Google+ account since that not only gives you a social media footprint, but let no one kid you, Google likes seeing their own properties show up. A few updates and a connecting link will put you in good shape here. A Twitter account with even an occasional tweet is pretty standard, as well as a Facebook page.
There are many other forms of social media and depending on your type of website or blog some places like StumbleUpon or Delicious can provide even more links. Some people should even look at a LinkedIn account. However if in doubt then Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are your three basic social media accounts that you need to make sure you have associated with your website or blog.
An unused account with a backlink and nothing else can even actually hurt you versus help you, so make sure to take care of at least the basics with social media!
Branded or URL backlinks – forget the keywords!
Backlinks to your website are still important, but things have changed with the Panda and Penguin updates when it comes to getting the right type of backlinks. This isn’t a pure numbers game anymore, and in fact many types of backlinks can actually hurt your SEO efforts. What Google wants to see is actually pretty simple. Outside of social media backlinks Google wants backlinks that:
Have your brand name or website name as anchor text and not keywords
Links that come from websites on the same or on related topics (think “context is king!”)
When you write your blog posts you want to think of keywords, and especially long tail keywords and similar sounding or related keywords sprinkled lightly throughout the article, but when it comes to backlinks forget the keyword anchored backlink – it used to be gold but now more often than not it is poison!
Remember that Google owns YouTube
I’m amazed at how often people forget this fact just because it happened a few years ago! There are many different ways that having even a few basic YouTube videos can have massive positive effects on your SEO. In fact this is so true that it’s almost a guarantee that anyone not taking advantage of YouTube is missing out on some serious rating power.
First of all, Google search results love videos, and they especially love YouTube videos (surprise, surprise!). This means there’s a good chance that a couple of YouTube videos with the right keywords will actually rank above your own website or blog post on the same topic… which is why when you make the video you have your website in the profile (which also counts as a good social media backlink) as well as under the description of the video itself.
This can help to rank your videos and pull up the ranking of your websites. If you are good with social media, then why not include those videos on your Facebook page, Google+ account, and even with a Twitter update? This not only helps get a lot of traffic to your YouTube videos, but it also keeps those social accounts active and funnels visitors back to your website, as well.
Don’t forget, you can add your address at the end of a YouTube video itself with the help of a wide variety of tools out there. This can straight out persuade video watchers to check out your site. YouTube really is an underused tool – you should add it to your arsenal of SEO efforts today!
Very high quality content
Google has said for years that they want very high quality content, and they’ve backed that up. The Panda update had a reputation for tearing down websites with poorly written pages or blog posts, and Hummingbird brought that even further home. On top of those major changes, there’s also the fact that Google began hiring manual reviewers a few years ago and they don’t just look for comma use and the natural sound of the language: they judge authority, the solidness of the information provided, and the overall quality of the article and whether or not it delivers on its stated purpose.
You want every page and every article on your website to feature very high quality content. In other words: no fluff and no filler. By giving Google what they want, you’ll naturally see your website rankings improve!