This is Part Two, the second of two posts discussing how convenient it is for almost anyone to perform an SEO Audit on their website. Read Part One for an introduction to this topic, a helpful video, and the beginning of a comprehensive SEO Audit checklist.
SEO Tactics & Strategies
So if you read Part 1 of this post, I thank you for not only reading that lengthy article, but for also returning to read Part 2 today! Part one covered the basics of on and off-page SEO fundamentals. In this article we’ll get deeper into SEO tactics and discuss which SEO tactics to avoid or have become out of date, Google’s recent algorithm changes, as well as strong content, Author Rank, and some new school SEO tactics that you should be aware of.
SEO Tactics To Avoid
Back in the day (and in Internet time that’s not very long ago…maybe 3 years +), certain SEO tactics were all the rage and worked like magic. Sometimes I miss those days dearly. In 2014, certain SEO tactics are out of date and will actually end up harming your website’s SEO or even worse, get your website penalized by Google. Let’s take a look at some of these.
1. Article Submissions (keep all your amazing content on your blog)
2. Duplicate Sites (too much effort, not worth the risk)
3. Spammy Blog Comments (use spam blocking plugins)
4. Linking to Google for Strength Purposes (did anyone actually ever do this?)
5. Doorway Pages or unnecessary “splash” entry pages (what purpose did they serve?)
6. Link Schemes (never a good idea)
7. Hidden Text Behind Images & Backgrounds (so 2004!)
The SEO Zoo
As you’ve likely heard, Google is infamous for updating and changing their search algorithm a few times each year. The following are two of the recent major updates:
The Penguin 2.1 algorithm update is the most recent update. It’s focus is on links. Penguin targets webspam and was introduced to punish websites with poor quality links. In order to not be penalized by Google Penguin 2.1:
- Links should not be excessive.
- Links should be natural and organic.
- Links should not be paid for.
- Links should not be reciprocal.
- Links should be coming in from a variety of domains.
Google’s Panda update was introduced last year and is more content focused. Panda was introduced to target and punish websites which use poor quality duplicated content throughout the site. Panda will also penalize sites with very little content. To avoid the wrath of Panda:
- Content should be of a decent standard. At the very least. I say strive to produce quality relevant content regularly.
- Content should be unique.
- Content should be on all of the main pages you want to rank for.
- Content should not be scraped or spun.
What’s next? Will the next Google algorithm update be called Zebra? It’s just a rumour at this point, but if it came to fruition, what would this update target specifically?
- Spammy social media activity?
- Fake social profiles?
- Social bookmarking?
- Fake Followers?
We’ll patiently wait and see.
Google Algorithm Updates In 2012
1. Penguin: April 24, 2012
2. Penguin 1.1 (#2) May 25, 2012
3. Panda #20: September 27, 2012
4. Penguin #3: October 5, 2012. Impacted 0.3% of search queries. source.
5. Page Layout #2: October 9, 2012. Targeted sites with excessive ads.
6. Panda #21: November 5, 2012. initially affected 1.1% of English queries. source.
7. Panda #22: November 21, 2012
8. Panda #23: Dec 21, 2012. Impacted 1.3% of English search results. source.
Visit Moz for a complete list of the google algorithm change history.
New School Tactics
Social Signals are one of the most important factors to focus on with your SEO and your social media optimization (SMO). As the SEO landscape evolves, social media becomes ever more a necessity. The following will create social signals which search engines use to rank websites:
- Facebook Shares
- Twitter ReTweets
- Twitter @Mentions
- Google+ +1’s
- Facebook Likes
- Twitter Followers
- Facebook Comments
- Fan Engagement
Google Authorship will also become a necessity in 2014. It was important for me to get mine set up in 2013. I can say I have seen much benefit from that in my blog traffic.
- The writer’s avatar id displayed alongside search results. (see above example)
- This is a trust indicator for Google users.
- It offers credibility for ranking purposes.
- All of your content is linked to your Google+ profile.
- Verified authors will gain more authority.
What is strong content? What is good content? You need to produce regular, quality, and relevant content – not just blog articles. Examples of the varieties of content:
- Guest Blogging
- Slideshare Decks
- PR Mentiones
- Blog Articles
- Correct grammar and spelling.
- Ensure text starts above the fold.
- Do all pages convey the right message – based on the keyword that page was optimized for?
- Do you need to write more content for any additional pages? Google prefers at least 400-500 words per page.
- Avoid using excessive ads on each page.
LinkBuilding or PR … or Social?
Links are still important and relevant to SEO in 2014 but they’ll need to be from strong, worthwhile, high quality sources. This is where PR comes into the SEO equation. Seek links through:
- Blogger outreach.
- Creating great, engaging and insightful content.
- Promotion on relevant and targeted websites.
- PR opportunities.
- Speaking opportunities & conferences.
There you go! The information in Part One, and the above Part 2, should be more than enough to guide you through a simple SEO audit of your website and give you a chance to analyze your SEO tactics. If you have any more ideas or suggestions, please let me know in the comments.Sources: Ben Norman: http://www.ben-norman.co.uk/ SEO Audit Checklist on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/158118636891055528/
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