Google keeps shaking up the search engine optimization (SEO) world with new updates that have many webmasters scrambling to keep up with all the changes. These updates have friendly names like Penguin and Panda that belie the damage done when a website that formerly placed at the top of the results is suddenly pushed down in the rankings. Even those sites that have not yet suffered a penalty would do well to follow these guidelines and prevent future backlash from the world’s biggest search engine.
Think Like a Human
For years, many SEO experts promoted strategies designed to game the search engine bots into believing a website was an authority for particular keywords. Although the tactics evolved over the years, they essentially involved creating content from a standpoint of what bots would want to see rather than what human readers would prefer.
Google claims to be fighting back against these SEO strategies by putting the focus on the reader and trying to find the signals that prove a site has value for human searchers. Sites that want Google to send human readers need to create content aimed at real people first, and then code that content so it can be recognized by the search bots.
Don’t Walk Like a Duck
However, sites must be careful not to code content too perfectly for the search engines. In deploying its changes via algorithm tweaks, Google sometimes punishes valuable sites unintentionally. This happens when Google decides that a certain SEO tactic is a signal for low quality sites.
For example, Google may believe that a particular group of sites represent a link ring and will therefore adjust the algorithm to downgrade links from those sites. However, it is possible that not all sites with those inbound links are poor results for human searchers, and some quality sites then get punished along with all the others. Sites must avoid the perception of too much SEO in order to prevent the possibility of being taken down because they did things similar to those optimized sites Google is targeting.
Clean Up Your Act
Just because a site has not yet suffered a setback from algorithm updates like Penguin and Panda does not mean that Google approves everything on those sites. Webmasters should review their sites and remove low quality content and signals that may be targeted in future corrections. These signals can include: inbound links from low quality sites, inbound anchor text using the exact same keywords, and content with a high keyword density. By making these changes now, a site can better ensure its place in the rankings for years to come.
This guest post was written by Kenson Goo, who actively writes for Sidepon.com.