April 28, 2016 by Iain Venn
The best way to avoid Panda update woes
Google updates the software and factors they use to determine page rankings in SERPS (search engine results pages) regularly, but every now and again, they make changes that have unscrupulous SEO's and business owners hiding for cover.
Why is this?
The simple truth is, too many people spend their time manipulating seo on and away from their site, instead of playing by the rules.
Google make changes to improve the experience for their customers. This lies at the core foundation of their thinking when it comes to SERPS.
As a website owner or SEO specialist, you are either going to subscribe to Google's thinking and work to improve customer experience, or waste your time using 'tactics' to manipulate Page Rankings.
Work on the former tirelessly and Page Rankings will look after themselves. Work on the latter and deal with the consequences.
What's the answer?
If you own a website, you should at least read Google's page on steps to a Google-friendly site here
Ignorance of how SEO works is no excuse. You should know the basics or refer to Google's guidelines if you need to bring yourself up to speed. All the information is there and you can use this to oversee any help you may need to improve your website performance on Google SERPS.
Do I need to SEO my website regularly?
Not every website owner needs regular SEO (monthly) in fact - the majority of small businesses on the planet don't need it. What you need is a strategy that includes best practice and provides visitors with an enriching experience. Keeping your website content interesting, informative, up to date and accessible to users on all devices (pcs, tablets, smartphones etc) is key.
If you are going to use an Agency or Consultant, they should know how Google rank web pages and guide you on how you can improve your visibility (through on-page optimisation) and credibility (through on-page content, reviews, accreditations, industry memberships)
Things to avoid at all costs
Google like to see other websites linking to yours. Google likes to see this happen in a natural way (ie websites link because they value the content on your website and want to share it with others) It is also acceptable to approach a website owner if you feel their site would benefit from sharing your link/s.
What you must avoid is paying for links or accepting payment for links (to your own site)
Also, if you place a link on your own website, be 100% confident it serves a genuine purpose - don't simply trade links with people because you think it will help boost your page rank on Google.
Examples of good links:
A holiday cottage company offers premium rentals. A link on their website provides web visitors with alternative, economy properties to a company they trust and recommend to customers looking for cheaper rentals.
The above link would serve a genuine purpose and tells the web visitor - 'this is what we do, but if you want something cheaper - this is who we would recommend next.'
The economy seeking web visitor can proceed to the link without having to re-search Google SERPS. Your site becomes more important because it shows you know where to point people next if they can't find what they are looking for on your site.
Examples of bad links:
Staying with the above good link example - let's say they operate in Cornwall (in the UK)
They receive an email from India requesting a link-swap to one of their clients websites. Their client operates a property maintenance business in London. In return, they will provide you to a website of your choice (from a small list of websites they control)
What purpose does the link serve to web visitors looking for a property rental in Cornwall?
Also - please be aware, at the time of writing, we are beginning to receive an increasing number of emails requesting links in return for a payment ($50+)
Whilst this can be flattering and tempting (if you run a business) the best thing you can do with these emails is send them to your junk folder.
In a nutshell
When it comes to Google SERPs, your website should focus on:
- how current, authoritative and helpful the content is
- helping visitors find the information on your site or point them to other resources ( documents, web pages etc )
- balancing sales and marketing pages with factual pages (or useful resource pages)
- making it easy for visitors to share your web pages with others
- ensuring your on-page optimisation is up-to-date and clear to all search engines (including Google)