How to Survive SEO in a Post-Apocalyptic Penguin Environment
In the past, website owners could “game” the SEO system and get to the top of Google within a few weeks of going live. This is no longer possible and, in fact, some site owners saw their rankings plummet and disappear from the top page permanently. With Penguin, Panda and other updates, Google has made changes which have adversely effected millions of website owners. After this, some gave up on SEO altogether and tried their hand with advertisements or Facebook. While these methods are effective, it is wise to get back in the game and make the right changes to get back to the top again. With this in mind, here is a guide on how to how to survive SEO in a post-apocalyptic Penguin environment.
Without a doubt, content is the most important part of a site. Not only will well-written content excite visitors, it will impress the leading search engines, including Google. With this in mind, one must realize that gone are the days of stuffing the keyword into the Web pages. In the past, many did so by using a five percent density rate for their keywords. Now, this is not helpful and will hurt the chances of a page landing on the front page of Google. Instead, a site owner should aim for about 1.5-2.0 percent keyword density for the main phrase. Any lower, and Google may not value the content; any higher and they will, probably, penalize the site and mark it as spam. Fortunately, one can use a free tool to measure the keyword density of any site. If some pages are too high or too low, one should take steps to edit the content and test the page again. Remember, this will go a long way in fixing any issues; at the same time, readers will appreciate browsing content that is both interesting to read and does not sound like a sales pitch.
When writing out the Web pages, a person should make sure to use related keywords. For example, when selling used cars, one should use the words pre-owned, previously owned and used. With the phrase “cars” A writer should use the word vehicle, automobile and car. When using similar words, a writer will do two things. For starters, people searching the other keywords will find the site. Secondly, and no less important, when using similar keywords, one will not overuse a phrase or word. This is a smart way to get back on Google’s good side. Luckily, a site owner can edit his or her content and replace similar keywords. Whether one sells used furniture or new bikes, this is an easy step to get more traffic and have a naturally sounding article or Web page.
In the past, a person could lift content from another site and use it as their own. Sadly, this is often difficult to avoid for product descriptions or other related information. However, when minimizing this, one will not throw up red flags. Fortunately, there are multiple websites available where a user can check his or her content and verify that it is unique. If there is an issue, a site owner should edit it; otherwise, it will be nearly impossible to climb the ranks of Google. If a business employs a writer who provides plagiarized content, it should immediately fire the contractor or employee and look for a higher quality provider who will hand write all the content.
Just like with content, one could “cheat the system” with a lot of links from any source. Website owners, in the past, used to buy hundreds, if not thousands, of low-quality links from poor sources. With this, Google, naturally, assumed that the site was popular and thus ranked it highly for a lot of keywords. After Penguin, this changed, permanently. Now, it is still wise to have a link building campaign. In fact, it is just as relevant as it was in the past. Only, one should get their links slowly, methodically and with a little more care. For starters, when obtaining one, a site owner should first check out the other site and make sure they offer quality content. If not, it is wise to move on to another source. At the same time, one should, when building a link profile, try to get ones from similar sites. For example, when selling camping equipment, a site owner should try to get links from companies in the industry such as hiking blogs or shoe companies. Otherwise, Google will devalue the content. Remember, it is better to have 10 or 15 high-quality links. Sadly, many still get thousands of low-quality links and end up suffering.
Now, most smart entrepreneurs already have a well-run social media campaign. Ideally, one should use Facebook, Twitter and any of the other major providers. When doing so, not only will a person enjoy traffic in the short-term, he or she will see long-term growth in SEO. To get the most out of this, one should run a natural, methodical and slow social media campaign. This is simple as all one needs to do is post often, engage with users and place links back to the website. To take this further, a company should encourage sharing and try to find a lot of quality followers. When doing it this way, a site owner will see a long-term gain in the SEO rankings for his or her main keywords.
Any smart business owner should track the website traffic. In fact, if possible, one should check the traffic statistics once or twice a day. At first, this might seem like overkill. This is not the case as it is important to see how things are going in the short-term. Of course, a site owner must keep his or her eye on the prize and not worry about short-term fluctuations. With programs like StatCounter or Google Analytics, one can do this without struggle. To take things further, on occasion, a site owner should simply Google his or her main keywords and do a manual check on the rankings. When doing this, a computer user must remember to clear his or her cache and log out of Gmail. With this information, one can take immediate action and fix any small issues. Of course, it is not wise to check the rankings too often. Instead, a site owner should do so once or twice a month to look for any trends. Without a doubt, when tracking everything in a smart manner, one can catch any problems and make changes before it is too late.
Gone are the days of cheating the system and getting to the first page. While this is not good for people who want to make shortcuts, it provides long-term opportunities for a small business owner. Ideally, one should make sure to take time to understand all the metrics. While this is correct, nobody will go wrong if they simply write great content, obtain quality links slowly, employ a social media strategy and track results often. Simply put, when taking the time to do it right, one will enjoy a lot of organic Web traffic from Google.
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