Recently while listening to Pandora Music, I heard the song “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Being in the business of helping small businesses with Online marketing strategy, I can’t help but think of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates when I tune into the Pandora music site. When I combined that with the title of Jason Mraz’s song, it seemed to me a sign that I should give you some reasons why you shouldn’t give up on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Especially right now, as you may have some questions as to the adjustments you should make to your SEO strategy moving forward due to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates.
You may recall that Penguin algorithm update was announced back in April 2012. It was designed to combat spam and improve the quality of Google organic search results. It effectively “put on notice” those websites guilty of violating Google’s quality guidelines. What followed were two more Penguin updates in May and October.
On the other hand, Panda updates have been ongoing since February of 2011, with the latest update on January 22nd. Panda updates are designed to target pages that aren’t necessarily spam but aren’t great quality. These go after sites with “thin content”. It was also designed to stop scrappers (sites that republish other company’s content.)
Reports of businesses impacted by the changes, such as content farms that published dozens of low-quality, keyword stuffed articles that offer little or no value for the reader, caused some fear. Marketers started saying they are ready to give up on optimization strategies such as SEO.
If you do it’s a BIG mistake. Here’s why:
First of all, if some do give up on high SEO-fueled search engine rankings it means less competition for you. Which means you may be able to get your pages ranked higher, which could result in more traffic to your site.
Secondly, Panda and Penguin updates really just enforce what Google has been saying all along. The updates are meant to improve performance while keeping black hat and spammer techniques out of the mix. This means you don’t have to compete with sites that are manipulating search engines using spammy tactics.
The truth is that the companies impacted by the changes were guilty of using techniques that for over ten years now Google has been saying shouldn’t be used. Things like keyword stuffing (repeating the same keyword in excess in the content or in the meta tags), putting up duplicate content, and link schemes such as incorporating irrelevant outgoing links into a page of content.
In a recent study from PM Digital, they provide thirty tactics to improve your SEO techniques. The study dissected information such as location, relevance and recent content. In addition to high quality, relevant content, here are four tips from that study that will improve your page rank by helping you locate legitimate, quality links to include on your site:
Find sites that rank high for your keyword. Target websites that mention your brand and use keywords relative to your business. To find these websites, use Google Alerts and monitor them for authoritative people who may be talking about your brand in their site.
Focus on local links. When adding links to your site, focus on links that are local. For example, if you are in California, look for local California links. If you are in New York, look for local New York links. The report says this makes a difference for search query ranking.
Don’t use free directories. When targeting websites, avoid focusing on directories that are free. The word free is a term often flagged, so you may be able to avoid any potential problems in the future by simply making the choice now to not use them.
Pay more attention to “immune” links. The senior director of natural search strategy at PM Digital Clay Cazier says, “Pay more attention to incoming links that are immune to future updates, such as the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce.”
Don’t give up on using organic search strategies. Use the strategies listed here. And keep in mind that continually adding relevant, fresh content that adheres to Google’s guidelines is a surefire way to build your credibility with Google. And if you feel overwhelmed or still aren’t sure what to do, it may be that you just need to employ some help to better understand the technical aspects of SEO by enlisting the help of a qualified SEO company.
Thanks for reading. Here’s to your online success!
P.S. Unfortunately, most small businesses using spam or illegal SEO tactics don’t even know they are doing it. It might be that they heard about something or hired a company using those tactics. It’s really unfair when good business people are penalized for something they aren’t even aware of!
I want to make sure that does NOT happen to you.
Email or call me to get help with your SEO. Then you’ll rest easy knowing you never have to worry about black hat or illegal tactics being used on your site and can benefit with higher search engine ranking too. By the way, did you know that having a higher search engine ranking can help your PPC campaign be more effective too? When you rank on the first page for a keyword, this gives your PPC ad more credibility.