Our search engine climate has drastically changed and evolved this year, there is no doubt that the game has been changed severely by Google this year. That being said, there are still some very strong SEO techniques that are succeeding around the web while other techniques could get your site devalued and even banned quickly. I’ve been lucky to have the majority of my websites and client’s sites do better after each round of Panda, but I took specific steps to ensure their success. Let’s take a look at some of those tips and how you’ll need to be implementing them to stay ahead of the competition.
Panda demands high levels of content for any website to become an authority and you’ll gain trust quicker if you can distribute high volumes of content and gain inbound links from relevant domains in your niche throughout the web space
1. Relationship networking – never before has it been so important to prove your interactions with other peer websites to your own. Especially if your are a blogger or content management system style of website, you’ve got to make sure that you are distributing more unique content across relevant websites throughout your market and niche. Google’s Panda update loves to see relevance in your inbound links and you can build trust quickly this way.
• Distribute unique, quality content across RELEVANT networks online to gain inbound links and authority quickly
• Keep creating high amounts of unique and well-written content on your own site as well
• Panda loves these 2 combined and will greatly increase your ranking weight as your information bank builds on your own domain and others..
Google is focused on improving user experiences in search, imagery and videos are a major player in delivering higher quality user interactions and information communication
2. Incorporating Media into your pages/posts – is more powerful than ever. Since the Panda update we have seen Google place a lot more emphasis and ranking weight on the integration of unique images and video into content creation. In my own experiments I have witnessed that a lot of times a page/post in the SERPs with images and videos will easily outrank a higher word count, but media-less page or post. Not only that, but it seems these pages/posts are indexed much sooner due to their incorporation of media and I do not mean crawled, but actually indexed into ranking on the SERPs. It is very clear that Google wants to improve user interactions with websites and media is a vital part of that.
• Make sure to add keywords to all meta tags
• Target specific keywords from your research
• Distribute the media through all available channels; Youtube, Flickr, Google images, etc etc
Inbound links found in high volume, keyword rich content are highest valued since Google’s Panda updates, many non-contexual backlink methods have been greatly devalued, i.e. profile links
3. Contextual Linking – just like #1, Google has increased the weight of inbound links found within well ranking content pages/posts throughout the net. Non-contextual linking like profiles links, link exchanges, directory listings, etc have been devalued and are nowhere near as powerful as they once were. So how can you establish these types of links?
• Focus on finding backlink sources where you can incorporate your own written content
• Make sure to do some keyword research for each article/topic
• Add keywords consistently in the body, title, description, etc
• Keywords need to be added to any meta tags available
• Press Releases, Guest Blogging, Web 2.0 building, these are all good platforms for contextual links
Loading times and valid HTML/CSS code is vital to receiving first page rankings, Google wants to be sure that their search users will have no problems loading and accessing various sections of your domain
Click here for Webmaster Tools Video on W3C Validation, HTML Errors and SEO
4. Loading Time and Universal HTML/CSS Standards- since Google has made their algorithm updates this year we have noticed that a lot of websites that have majorHTML/CSS errors and/or very slow loading times have dropped in their search engine rankings. Matt Cutt’s specifically talks about these issues in his webmaster tool’s video series and makes the point that, “websites that have minor HTML/CSS errors will not be penalized, but any major errors that affect loading times and usage can be devalued or penalized until fixed”. This seems to have a direct correlation with Google’s focus on improving the user experience when they do searches, if it takes a search user a few minutes to load a website that has broken frames and java script crashes, how will they extract worthwhile information that they are looking for?
• W3C Validation is important, clean up all your coding
• Major errors in code CAN affect your rankings, small errors that do not affect loading shouldn’t harm you
• Use cache tools to help improve loading times (WP Super Cache and much more available for WordPress users)
• Make sure to remove old java and flash objects that can cause serious errors and very slow loading times
Panda has shown to place more emphasis on local search results so make sure to integrate all local marketing tactics possible in your SEO campaign
5. Maximize local SEO efforts – this is pretty much a no brainer for any successful SEO campaign, you’ve got to incorporate local targeting and geographic ranking signals as much as possible. Any sort of geographic directories, business listings, and more are vital to getting improved rankings for local terms such as your city, county, and state keywords. These can help you get organic traffic much sooner as well, while it may take you a year or more to break into highly competitive, high volume search queries, you can conquer the local rankings within months. This should usually convert a lot better as well since people often prefer to work with local businesses instead of far off corporations and such. Google Panda has made it clear that gaining any localized search signals will vastly help improve your rankings and organic search traffic.
• Look for Geographic based directories, business listings, forums, blogs etc
• Maximize the content added to these listings, fill out all you can
• Target keywords and focus on the terms/phrases you want to rank for
• Google places, Manta, YP.com, and more are mandatory additions asap to your SEO campaign