SEO parameters and rules consistently change over time. What works well now may not work at all within a few months or even weeks. While many webmasters, bloggers, and other types of content providers do their best to stay on top of the latest techniques, SEO mistakes occur regularly.
This is especially true since the recent Panda/Farmer algorithm changes made by Google. The search engine demoted as much as 12% of their total listings due to sudden “new” regulations. There is now an entirely new set of SEO precautions that go beyond the usual suspects of keyword stuffing, leaving keywords out of titles, java script, etc.
Here’s a quick rundown of new things to watch out for on your site, which may have knocked you off page one:
1. No Action on Long-Ignored pages: Google’s John Mu clearly explains what to do with pages you’re not updating anymore. If you don’t want the pages, get rid of them.
Let them return 404. While you’re at it, come up with some entertaining way to tell your viewers they’ve reached a dead end. They’re more likely to click back to the page they came from, or to whatever link you provide on the page.
Use a 301 redirect to merge product pages. If for some reason that doesn’t make sense to do, then use the rel=canonical link element. If you’re going to rewrite a page:
- Use a noindex meta tag.
- Keep the URLs in your Sitemap file. Make sure they’re not disallowed by robots.txt.
2. Bad Homepage-to-Article Site Content Ratio: If you’re submitting content to article sites for the purpose of building links back to your homepage, but you are not updating your homepage, you’ve got problems. Publish your best content on your website first.
Your website needs to have the best and most relevant results to say in Google’s good graces. Bookmark new content when you publish it in order to tip off Google that your site was the first place the material appeared. Once you update your home page, completely rewrite your article for submission to other sites. This is important, since most submission sites will no longer accept previously published content.
3. Write Something People Want to Read: Chances are, every aspect of your chosen profession has probably been analyzed to death online, in every way you can imagine – except one: through your own experience. Write about your business from your point of view. Add your own expertise to the subject matter – spice it up. Become an expert. You can make good content happen by making it yours.
4. Size Matters: Believe it or not, the search spiders are smart enough to think they know quality when they see it – and garbage when they don’t. The industry standard of 500 words isn’t cutting it anymore. Vary your word counts. If today’s new content is 500 words, write 800 next time, or 650, or 430… the point is, mix it up with quality.
Keep these four tips in mind as you move ahead, and with any luck your site won’t be subject to any more Panda attacks.