Michael Gray: Beat Panda and Penguin with Strong SEO
Does your website have flags that caused you problems following Google updates like Penguin and Panda? Implement some SEO best-practices into your website and subject it to a little spring cleaning. Remove weak content (low page views, high bounce rate, low on page load time), keepsites small & tight, and keep your website fresh. Moderate, edit and proof user-generated content, and keep threads active as they are a great way to keep pages fresh in the eyes of spiders. Look into schema and XML markup and add the Google author profile markup to your pages and blog. These tactics, in addition to many more, will be useful efforts in keeping your site above water in the face of Google updates.
Link building is like art. There are different types and the one right for you might not appeal to someone else. Create valuable content that stands on its own. Stray outside of your industry, guest blog about your industry and how it relates to other industries and let your links grow naturally. Guest blogging on a few sites is good, but a consistent guest blogging gig is better. With that said, one really good guest post is more valuable than a bunch of midgrade posts.
Social signals matter, but not just as a number—they also hold trust and authority components which are valuable to you and your brand. Additionally, author accounts matter but only if you can create and maintain authoritative ones. Don’t just consider the SEO benefit—focus on branding. Create content that people want to read. Reap the benefits of sites like Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
Syndicate your content. Try to develop long term syndication arrangements, and create high qualitycontent with links that other sites want to use. Scraping on low quality sites can be bad, so be on the lookout for it. Scraping is becoming a bigger problem—go through their host and report the site for stealing your content. Update high value content often and add/update the post date—try to keep it less than 6 months old. People like fresh content as opposed to old content. Remove crawling obstacles like complex URLs, parameters, complex structures and more. Keep website looking fresh and updated and rotate content on the homepage to pull out data that might be overlooked by spiders.
Get familiar with the “Linkerati.” Look at top news stories in your industry; see who writes it, when they are writing about it, and how you can be intertwined into it. The more your name is out there, the more you can gain credibility and trust. If you want to be press-worthy, do, act, write or say things that are press-worthy, whether it is by humor of by philanthropy. Issue press releases and use a publicist if you are unsure how to do this. Sponsor local events, host contests and reach out to industry or area bloggers and barter for coverage. Make a list of 30 sites where you want your link to show up, based on relative keywords, industries, similar images and more. Check those sites backlink profiles and see where they are getting links and see if you can obtain any of them.
Social media for link building is beneficial as well. Your main goal is to get attention and build linksfrom secondary, trusted press and news. With social, you are not trying to make sales or gain links with specific anchor text, you are trying to get recognized and increase brand awareness. Google + is personalized search on steroids, and it uses you, your friends, and things you and they like to give you specific results.
Implement these various ways to build out your link portfolio and remember that the best link profiles are diverse and filled with different, high quality links. Keep in mind that a link building strategy is a long-term investment in your site and should be a continual effort. Building a solid SEO foundation is your best defense in the face of pandas, penguins, and what’s to come.