This post was inspired by a tweet I noticed earlier today while doing my hourly review on Hootsuite
I think all online marketing and SEOs alike can say that their worlds were rocked and everything changed (biggest change in 10 years) when the infamous Google panda was released. Most notable the 11th April 2011 where it was rolled out globally and to all English speaking countries. This was the first instance at which SEOs and online marketers were shaken to their core. Google’s Matt Cutts was quoted as saying this change would affect a small amount of search queries, being less than 5%. Ultimately it ended up extending to 40% of total search queries. Since ‘Panda’ there have been hundreds of updates(that we know about), which directly affect SEO’s ability to affect change on the web. With the recent release of another update that is sending shockwaves through the industry is the most recent ‘Penguin’ update that supposedly attacks over optimised websites.
Sometimes it takes a very, very long time for this news to filter through and for people to LISTEN and react to changes and information that is right in front of them. A lot of people think that ‘SEO’ is what it was 10 years ago (*laughs to self*). No, it’s not!! If you are still doing practices from 10 years ago, then you might as well forget it. I set up a company last year and the mantra was ‘we don’t build a single link’. Today, this holds even more weight for the following reasons..
Google Panda, Penguin and more
Both of the most recent Armageddon style updates are targeting at weeding out low quality websites and unnatural link building. What is unnatural link building?
Social media has paved the way for modern link building. Why? To answer that question, I must lead with another question. What do you do on social media? If it’s set up a feed, ‘fire and forget’, then you might as well not bother.
Social media is about creating connections, listening and reacting. Simply put, conversation and advocacy are wonderful examples of a simple social media strategy that can be continued and work well, it’s not rocket science. ‘Pushing’ is simply not a tactic that is acceptable any longer. Neither is it acceptable as a link building tactic due to the masses of changes over the last couple of years at least in search.
Going back to the tweet that I spotted earlier, take a look at the ‘advanced’ nature of the links ‘produced’ by this person / company.
Just to be clear, in this modern world, you’re just burning money. Even with the link diversity, it’s still an archaic tactic that will do more harm that good.
Going back to social media…
Remember that a great social media strategy pushes great content and waits for a response and then acts on that response? That’s exactly what we need to be doing for SEO in 2012 and beyond. Please, please stop building rubbish links on all these platforms. The opportunity cost of wasting your time is building quality content that can not only diversify your presence online but create opportunities for people to link to you.
Make sure that we all follow the mantra that has been floating around for a few years at least – ‘content is king’
Act on it.
Creating high quality sites
Getting back to the point at hand, we’ve learned a few things not to do off site and these can be transferred and build brand new best practice opportunities for us and our very own websites.
The key take away from the first section was ‘quality’ and transferable learnings.
Here’s one more from the tweet.
‘Link building service, Advanced link building services – LINK’
Wait a tick, isn’t that just two keywords? YES!
And what about the transferrable part?
- Do not do this on social media.
- Do not do this in link building.
- Do not do this on your site.
To my absolute shock and horror (wink) the site in question has keyword separated by a pipe. This is three instances of SEO tactics that will give you the most almighty slap from Google. Please do not do this..
Let’s get down to it, creating high quality sites!
Make your site error free
Webmaster tools regularly spits out messages about errors that your site may have.
Here’s an example of a client’s site and the myriad of errors that have not yet been fixed.
Use .htaccess intelligently to soften the load on Apache and your server by creating a rewrite rule or ten to reduce the number of 4xx errors that your site is collecting.
Speed it up
Head over to Page Speed from Google and follow their advice point by point. You’ll be better for it.
Create great content
Start a blog, build a content calendar, write 1,000 words per day with great stuff and you’ll soon find that you’re site is being picked up. Just keep doing what you’re doing and improve.
Duplicate content is still a big no no and your site can be knocked out by having duplicate content on site as well as off site.
Above all, remember what year this is and remember the valuable resources that are at your finger tips on and offline. Get engaged with the right people and just continue to create great content, not forced links and your en devours will flourish.