Search Engine Optimization Evolved: Retribution

Google has put forward several changes to its secret algorithm, major division of them coming in the past couple of months, 2012. These changes have had a tremendous effect on the ranking of websites, mainly in the US, but a worldwide affect has also come into observation in the last couple of updates. So, what are these changes? – Google Panda and Penguin updates. There was amplification in the amount of malpractices when it was to market a website online – black hat and grey hat search engine optimization. So, there was no benefit for people practicing legal and fair search engine optimization – evil black hat marketers were always winning with their nasty tricks! But, no more because search engine optimization evolved!

Though these people still haven’t stopped their foul play, they cannot continue like this forever. After the algorithm updates came into effect, post-mortem case studies of affected websites proved the presence of a large amount bulk back links (along with keyword spam) which are both unnatural and unethical way of Internet marketing. Analysts forecasted a forsaken future for SEO and SEO experts. But the battlefield has leveled, and it has become very hard to rank for authentic search terms, or in other words, become friends with Google. Google has launched its counter measures!

So, if your website is way back in the listings, you are not going to benefit, and will lose valuable amount of traffic as people usually do not go beyond the 3rd page of search results. Or, if your website is a victim of recent algorithm updates, you can read about Google’s Panda Update and Google’s Penguin Updates by visiting these links.

Versatile Keywords & Back links

Google is giving more power to the natural user search – people don’t just enter specific keywords in the search box anymore. For example, if your website is about “online marketing tutorials”, instead of just focusing on this keyword, what would be a way better approach is to focus on its synonyms or alternatives and add them to your marketing list. So, “online marketing tutorials” is also internet marketing tutorials, web marketing courses, online marketing guides, web marketing lessons, internet marketing lectures, and so on. The benefit is that you are adding keyword diversity and opening up more ways of people to find you. Users do not always pop up the exact keyword in the search box, searches have changed a lot!

Same goes for back links. Keywords and back links work in accordance and both have a significant impact on the marketing campaign and its outcome, well now you will find out why. We all know a good choice of keywords is fundamental, but building links with these keywords is usually not the same. Internet marketers used to build links with the same keyword(s) everywhere on the internet, for example, if your website is about “internet marketing tutorials”, it would generally have back links with that specific keyword. This is obviously unnatural! How? Because it is a form of forced link building, you are telling the search engines that my website is only linked with a specific keyword, which is wrong. Use keyword variations as mentioned above.

The second aspect to back links is the back link relevance. Building back links all over the place used to help, but with the recent updates, it simply does not. You need to find websites that are more related to yours and build links on them. You can do that via comments or guest posts.

Content Is King

This term finally got what it deserved. Websites and blogs were full of keyword plugged content which nobody ever liked. Their sole purpose – getting the website ranked. And it actually worked until now. Internet marketers didn’t care or worry about the true essence of content, which is providing useful information to us, the readers. Instead, we would read so little of the content with meaningless keyword rich phrases. All that mattered was the keyword density.

Blogging and articles, as we know, are a great idea for getting traffic. But they have to be user-driven or incentives must be given to the readers to turn them into loyal subscribers. So, you actually have to spend a lot of time, put in the extra effort, and take extraordinary measures while writing content, keeping it in focus to your online presence theme, and maintaining the reader interest. To keep updated with fresh ideas, here are some tools and tips.

  • Google Trends: See what is trending, and write about it. Simple!

  • Google Alerts: Set up alerts and be notified when an activity takes place! Monitor the web for interesting content.

  • Comments: Always ask for reader feedback on your articles and posts. Listen to them and implement. It’s like Newton’s third law where your paying attention to the finest details will award you with loyal readers, traffic and sales! So, try to reply to every question or feedback in the comment section below the content. Because that is what it is for – it is not only for marketers to build links to their websites.

  • Twitter: Use twitter’s search with your keyword and pick out interesting tweets so you can use them to write content.

  • How-To and Top Ten’s: Think creative, be creative and act creative. The most interesting content on the web all begins with how to or top ten or top with a numerical. For example you can turn your boring online marketing article into something like this: Top 5 Mistakes Online Marketers Make While Marketing Products or How To Market Your Product For The Very First Time: A Beginner’s Tutorial, etc.

  • I call this writers' heaven. Enter your keyword, and it will present you with tons of ideas to write about. Remember having versatile keywords we talked about above?

Sharing Is Caring

With the power of social media, you should not depend on search traffic solely. Google tracks and gives importance to links shared on social media, especially Facebook, Twitter and Google +. Benefits are numerous.

  • Objective: Our goal must be to stop "forced link building," or reduce the amount of link building that we do ourselves and instead let the audience do it for us!

  • Equilibrium: Maintain a balance between search result traffic and social media traffic. Depending on search results only will make you lose valuable traffic. Google shows a lot of social media search results so be sure to market on all social channels.

  • Distribution: Share your content on social media to create natural back links.

  • Link Bait: Write link bait content! (i.e., content that people will want to share)

  • Social Sharing Widgets: Install social sharing widgets on your blog/website and ask people to share, or like, your posts. This will result in more natural looking back links to your website.

  • Social Bookmarking Networks: Share content on social bookmarking networks. Connect with people on these networks, comment on their shared stories. Result – they will probably do the same.

  • Social Media Optimization: Optimize your content on social channels. For example, the best way to optimize would be to share your blog post on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn with the exact same title followed by you asking for user opinions. You can also tweak the limited amount of words you use just like product punch/tag lines.

  • Video Marketing: Making a video about the content is an added benefit. Start a VLOG on YouTube and talk about your articles and the user response to them. Add a link to it in the description. Write proper titles and be sure to give relevant tags.

  • A Satisfied Writer: With all the content sharing you do, and the readers that do it for you, you will be proud of your hard work and earn a well deserved targeted traffic to your blog/website. You will feel the difference between the old content you used to write and the power of content optimization.

Be sure to read the in depth detail of the changes of Penguin and Panda in our recent articles. We have discussed the what’s, the what not’s, why’s and the how’s comprehensively. What do you think about the changes Google is making? Are you an online marketer? If so, how are you/your website affected by the changes? Leave a comment below.

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