Google’s 4.0 Update, aka Panda, is not fooling around, you guys.
After you’ve read this…how do you feel about it?
With the last couple updates over the past year (Hummingbird, etc.), I knew that Google’s updates to their search algorithms were going to make it harder and harder for crappy content to appear high up in search results, and in many cases, not be indexed at all. But the Panda update proves to be serious business. If your website and/or blog are not being careful to follow certain “rules”, your content is surely going to be ignored by the Panda like sub-par, practically rotten bamboo.
This brings about a 50/50 split on feelings, in the commentary I’ve seen about the update. People either love it or hate it. If you’re complacent with mediocre content (that is, to be lazy or boring), you’re gonna hate it. If you are happy to keep writing non-ghostwritten material and providing fresh viewpoints, you’re going to love it because you stand a chance at keeping afloat with good company in better search results for whatever you’re content is targeting.
I recall when I did a lot of on-page SEO on my former website back in the day and was always floating between the #1 or #2 spot for “St Paul web design” on Google for about 2 years between 2004-2006. I also did a lot of linking with good/decent authority sites and directories (remember the exclusivity and relevance that being listed in DMOZ promised?) Now, if your site factors in good domain age, fresh content and AUTHENTIC content, you can avoid being buried.
How can you do it?
Be yourself, when writing content. Don’t parrot others, no one likes an echo chamber. Come up with your own spin/way to approach a topic, and do it. If you’re funny, make it funny. If you’re controversial, try that. If you’re an intellectual, put together something brilliant – basically, be offering something that no one else is offering. Personally speaking, I have this steaming pile of crappy opinions that no one really likes, but I post them in this here blog, anyway. It’s me, and it’s what I do.
Strategize. Have some kind of step recipe/process you go through when publishing content, and follow it every time. Set up a Google Webmaster account and use the available analytics they provide, checking the results in your website search term visits. Use Goo.gl, Bit.ly, or other link tracking to see where clicks are coming from, then change things up and try it a different way, if you don’t like what you see. Writing content consistently is a lot of work, but you can do it a few minutes a day (I am needing to take my own advice! Shut up).
Try Google+, if you haven’t already. You can thank me later. Your brand/business blog/site NEEDS to be on this network. I don’t care if you love or hate Google vs. Facebook vs. Apple vs. Etch-A-Sketch. Where do you think Google’s hungry mouth goes for content and to list in search results? To places it owns first, including YouTube. Then Google+. Not Facebook. Really think Facebook is still good for business? Have you read this yet? Knock it off and get to it. Yes, Facebook’s probably great for your walled-in network of a couple thousand people, 30 of whom are probably listening but don’t really care, and the other 925, you don’t want to talk to anyway because they’re some annoying old lady friend of your mom’s or that douchebag from high school who you didn’t like then and can’t stand now. And before you start yammering about how it’s sort of “word of mouth”, bitch, please. For public internet searching, your pitiful page is not going to be found. When it comes to indexing, Facebook and Google have blocked each other off. They’ve been dead to one another for some time, now. Before I get off my soapbox, please know that I’ve seen the benefits of Google+ for brands and personal social networking which is on its own level, it’s that far above the rest, IMHO. If you need advice or tips on using it, feel free to holler at your girl.
Don’t be afraid to ask for emails. This is how you capture your audience’s attention before it goes away. Best way to do that is to ask for reader’s emails, to promise them something in the future, even if it’s a month away. Giveaways of nice shiny things like ebooks or whitepapers/downloads, e-newsletters full of tips, etc. are all great pieces of incentive, but they also can help convert readers to clients, if done right to keep you top of mind with them…but that’s another blog post!