SEO is often presented as being complex, and Google is this big unpredictable monster whom can chew up and spit out your website when it wants to. This isn’t true.
While Google has made some major algorithm changes in the past two to three years, its guidelines about what makes a good quality website haven’t really changed. The core guidelines talk about having quality content, making your pages for users not search engines, and making your website accessible across devices.
For the full list: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en
THEN AND NOW
The SEO industry has existed to maximise rankings on Google. Five years ago, maximising rankings on Google was obtained by deceptive spammy tactics including stuffing keywords on pages and making content more for search engines, not users. Large “link farms” also existed to link lots of low value irrelevant websites together, to pass some degree of “authority” to a target website.
If you hired an SEO company 3-6 years ago they probably did some sort of “link building” for you, that traditionally included using link farms, low quality directories and lots of websites linked together.
With developments in the software and Google’s algorithm, Google introduced two key updates to combat this: Penguin and Panda.
PENGUIN AND PANDA
Penguin focuses on identifying websites with low quality link profiles and penalising them. As a result of Penguin, millions of websites got hit and lost some or all of their rankings. Unfortunately for many webmasters, cleaning up a backlink profile that had many spammy backlinks is made more difficult because it usually requires the cooperation of the third party website.
Panda focuses on identifying thin content pages and pages that do not provide much value to users – including duplicate content. Panda hit sites hard that had gained rankings from having hundreds of pages to cover a wide range of search queries.
Recovering from these two updates is possible, but usually requires the help of an SEO company who specialises in link removal and content advice. Unfortunately, recovering from a Penguin penalty is much harder because it can be difficult to remove links without cooperation from 3rd party sites.
HOW CAN MY BUSINESS STAY ON THE GOOD SIDE OF GOOGLE?
If your website hasn’t been penalised, you can focus on doing clean “White Hat” SEO.
At Walter Analytics we recommend four things:
- Developing and executing a content strategy. This basically means that you want to be having relevant high quality content on your website and have a facility to add new content (such as a Blog) to remain relevant.
- Ensure your website is structured properly, takes care of on page SEO fundamentals and you understand what keywords are relevant to you. This includes accessibility, server speed and server configuration.
- Developing a natural backlink profile. In most industries, your business has often one hundred or more organisations you work with (such as suppliers, partners, government agencies etc.). Reach out and develop opportunities to get a link in to the appropriate section of your website where it makes sense. For many clients we have, this happens naturally through ongoing sponsorship agreements and other commercial partnerships.
- Have an SEO expert simulate a “crawl” of your website and identify any issues with indexing, or page visibility. A search engine spider sees your website in text only and due to configuration issues on your website or a lack of mark-up in code, important parts of your website can be hidden to search engines.
On a monthly basis, you can monitor your non paid search traffic on your website and rankings on specific keywords in partnership with an SEO company. We believe it’s important for clients to understand SEO and have ownership of how their website is found and accessible by search engines and users alike.
We’ve successfully helped clients understand how their website is being crawled by search engines and structure pages and implement a content strategy to obtain sustainable traffic and rankings.
Please contact us if you would like us to examine your website or have questions about any of the four points above.