The entire web marketing community was bit by some wild and ravenous zoo animals over the past several months which has forever changed the way search engine optimization (SEO) is setup and deployed.
If you are not in the web marketing industry, you may be a bit confused so allow me to clarify. February 23, 2011 Google released a major algorithm update to its search engine results nicknamed “Panda”. This was the first major blow to traditional SEO practices as this update penalized websites with more low-quality content (aka ‘thin content’) and websites that contained duplicate content. Since the initial release of Panda there have been numerous updates and one as recent as November 5, 2012.
The second wave of attacks on traditional SEO marketing came in the form of a cute little Penguin. Although cute, this zoo animal carried rabies and killed many unsuspecting websites in its beak of death. The Google “Penguin” update deployed on April 24, 2012 and for many SEO agencies this would be the equivalent of Black Monday or Hurricane Katrina. This update was such a game changer to SEO that literally every single book written on SEO should have been burned and every class being taught on the subject should have immediately came to a grinding halt.
For a description of all of the Panda and Penguin updates along with dates go here: http://mz.cm/A8zbzP
So what’s the cure?
Is there a repellent for these wild zoo animals? Is there any stopping them? In short- yes. After several months of personal trial and error, reading endless blogs and holding countless internal staff meetings (we call it the Penguin Task Force) I’m happy to say that there is a cure.
The cure is simple: stop all traditional SEO! We live in a post-apocalyptic SEO world now so the actual game of SEO is to not appear that you are actually participating in SEO. Does this mean that SEO is dead? Not at all, and quite the contrary. As long as there are organic (natural) listings on page one of the three major search engines then SEO will always be alive and well but SEO is now radically different than it was prior to Panda and Penguin.
The goal now should be to give the search engines what they wanted all along which is high-quality, relevant content and build back-links from more credible sources. In the past SEO agencies could get away with building bucket-loads of back-links residing on low quality websites in addition to writing and distributing ‘thin content’ articles and blogs all over the net. Today’s world of SEO is all about quality over quantity. Google’s updates can now sniff out back-links from bad websites and poorly written articles, blogs, etc. Below I’ll dive in deeper on how to apply your SEO Repellent to the zoo animals on the loose:
SEO Repellent for the evil Panda
- Spend more time researching and writing any articles, blogs or PRs you post on the Internet (onsite or offsite) so that they are truly newsworthy.
- Write quality copy that people will actually want to read and then share on social networks.
- Publish your high quality content on reputable websites and blogs that have established credibility and authority. Always try and publish on a website with a Page Rank score of 2 or higher. Stay out of blog networks and websites created for the sole purpose of SEO.
- Write 100% unique content. Never ever copy, plagiarize or spin content.
- Credit your web pages as the original source. How to: http://bit.ly/9V90JR
- Post your unique, high-quality copy to one place on the web and one place only. Do not post your content on your website and then turnaround and distribute it on the net.
- Include an author byline tag to all posts and link them to the author’s Google+ profile. Here’s how you can do that: http://bit.ly/RPjgui
- Reduce the amount of advertisements on your webpages as this will raise the trustworthiness and authority of your website.
SEO Repellant for the rabid Penguin
- Detune your SEO onsite by reducing keyword density ratios (number of times target keyword phrases appear in web copy)
- Detune your SEO onsite by reducing the amount of internal links your web copy contains and ensure they do not all contain exact-match anchor text.
- Detune your SEO onsite by removing or changing exact-match anchor text within your websites main navigation and footer menus.
- Detune your onsite SEO by reducing the amount of keywords in your meta-tags and writing natural sounding title tags and meta-description tags. More about meta tags: http://bitly.com/vQjgUB
- Build back-links on credible, authoritative websites with a Page Rank score of 2+. Avoid all link schemes that can get your website penalized. More on link schemes: http://bit.ly/unP5N2
- Remove old back-links that may be penalizing your website. If you cannot get them removed then use the Google disavow link tool: http://bit.ly/RzaLTn
- Create a diversified back-link profile and avoid only using exact-match anchor text within your back-links.
- Create an HTML and XML site map and upload to Google Webmaster Tools
If you follow the tips above you will be in good shape and begin to see your rankings recover. The bottom line is to always focus on unique, high quality, newsworthy copy and to stay away from the old ways of SEO- the game has changed and if do not adapt, then prepare for the march of the Penguin.
More tools for your arsenal
Monitor all of your site’s back-links using Google Webmaster tools: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/
Sync your web analytics with this cool tool that will overlay the Penguin and Panda updates over your analytics graphs to show how they may have affected your web traffic:
Find out if your website contains duplicated content:
Call a local SEO expert to take care of all of this for you: