Search Engine Optimization December 6th, 2012
Search Engine Optimisation gets harder every year. The demands for standing out in crowded search results, and being able to respond to Google’s algorithm updates, are making it difficult to develop successful marketing strategies and on-page optimisation that deliver results. Google’s most recent Panda and Penguin updates have particularly focused on reducing spam or irrelevant content on sites, and are also clamping down on bad inbound links and other ‘black hat’ SEO tactics. In this context, it’s worth briefly looking at some ways in which you can improve your SEO strategies for 2012.
Gone are the times when sites could contain poorly written content with keywords randomly inserted to build links. Google Panda is particularly tough on this kind of content, with the result that sites can benefit much more from high quality, contextually relevant content from guest posts and bloggers.
A mobile SEO strategy should combine specific campaigns for mobile sites, which can incorporate local keywords, as well as adjustments to designs and tags to make sure that the right information is showing up; this will ensure that sites are being caught by mobile searches.
Google recommends avoiding long and overly complex URLs; instead, they recommend designing simple URLs that use dashes and punctuation for more precision. Doing so will prevent a site from being mixed up with similar results in a search.
The focus of Google Penguin has been on attacking multiple inbound and back links between irrelevant and spam sites. ‘Black hat’ SEO techniques like paying for directory farms are consequently no longer going to be relevant if web-masters want to get a site recognised by search engines.
It’s now important to ensure that you use Robots.text files, rather than meta tags, with sites. Different search engines will respond to meta tags in different ways, and the best way to allow for better crawling and indexing is to use the .txt extension.
Again, make sure that you’re producing great content for sites; this means having longer articles of 500 words or more, and articles that boost keyword density through contextual, rather than awkwardly placed words. Organic SEO is crucial to getting blog posts and articles posted on higher profile sites, so make this a priority.
Having a sitemap in place is important if you want to create a better index for search engines. If using a platform like WordPress or Blogger, you can also take advantage of plugins that will generate sitemaps for you.
The best way to use social media is not to take things to an excessive level, but to ensure that you’re posting relevant content, and finding the right affiliates for distributing content. Keep the basics – retweeting, fan pages, blogging – but always make good content the priority.
Another approach that Google tends to like, having header tags like H1 and H2 in place will make it easier for a site to be picked up.
In terms of a general SEO strategy, and in the context of the impact of Panda and Penguin in 2012, the lesson going into 2013 is that quality over quantity is crucial for the future. Rather than trying to hit as many different sites and affiliates as possible when building links, invest in quality and receive more solid results and links on your keywords.
What SEO components have you seen change this year?