Post Panda SEO –
There was a time, not too long ago, when life was easy on Google street. All you had to do was produce content, build tons of links to it, and there you were, ranking among the big boys in a Google search result — and enjoying the fruits of it.
But things changed last year, when Google Panda hit. Some of the world’s largest websites, including companies like Ezine Articles, eHow, etc, went from dominating the SERPs to nowhere… overnight. And it was because of one reason: low quality content.
Low quality content affects two sides of your SEO effort: link building and content strategy.
Post-Panda Link Building:
(1) One of the most popular advice SEO gurus chant before Panda hit is to submit articles to article directories. The idea was to give these directories content, in exchange for a link to your website. It used to work for a while.
But here’s the problem: these directories have little — if any — editorial filter. So instead of real, useful content, you get lots of shallow, low quality articles. Google Panda hit them hard, and the link juice they pass disappeared.
The same is true with “web 2.0” websites. Don’t bother creating squidoo lenses, hubpages and the like in the attempt to build links. Not only are these sites stricter with spam control now, these also pass a lot less link value. There are — much — better ways to build links… which brings me to my next point.
So what kind of links should you go for today? Here are 2 great ways to do it:
(1) Guest posts on high quality websites. This article is an example of it. It’s like submitting an article to a directory, except this one you have to approach a blogger who is usually very selective of what he publishes on his website.
(2) Create great content and link baits. Then go out and build relationships with other bloggers so they link to your website, naturally. It’s not easy, but that’s the point. If it’s easy, it will also be easy for your competitors to duplicate your efforts.
What many big websites used to do is hire 100 writers across Asia and have them pump out articles at $3 each. With plenty of content on their website, they began to rank for lots of long tail keywords and enjoy untold amount of internal link power.
Of course, they were also the ones hardest hit by Panda.
Today, you need to publish only quality content, and that means asking yourself these questions:
(1) Will this article be fit to publish in a magazine?
(2) Does it have substance? Will someone reading this article learn something new?
(3) Does the article consist of mainly duplicated content?
(4) Is the article’s content substantially different from the rest of the search results?
(5) Would YOU trust the information in that article?
(6) And last, yes, grammatical and factual errors matter.
These are some of the things Google TRY to achieve so it certainly doesn’t mean you won’t rank if you don’t meet all of these factors. But even if Google doesn’t care about these things, you should, because these things affect your user’s experience. And a good user experience leads to more business for you.
Other than your content, here are a couple more ways you can increase user experience:
(1)Place ads only in strategic areas. Google frowns upon websites that have more ads than editorial content. And if that’s not a good enough reason for you, here’s one that might: a company I used to work with tested this and we were able to double ad clicks by reducing the number of ads.
(2) Invest in great design and usability. It’s arguable that Google knows more about your website than you think. Browsers who use Google Chrome, for example, pass their browsing habits to Google for analysis — and so Google knows, on average, how well your website performs. The same is true with Google Analytics.
(3) This doesn’t have to do with user experience but it’s crucial nonetheless: start building your social presence. Beginners like to ignore this altogether since it doesn’t generate immediate profits. But a large website with no social presence is actually a little suspicious. And according to SEOMoz, the highest correlating factor of high rankings is actually not unique C-Block links — it’s Facebook likes.
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