Google Has A New SEO Paradigm For Webmasters.
In this article you will learn everything you need to know about increasing your web traffic to your sites through Google’s huge free search results.
First, not everything has changed. I have been in the seo school for a while, since 2008, and you still need to do the basics, which include:
1. On Page SEO – You need to know about things like title tags, meta description tages, putting the keyword in your URL, using images with ALT tags, h1-h3 tags, videos and video sitemaps, related keyords, inner linking of your website, easy navigation, etc….
2. Off Page SEO – Using the keyword you are trying to rank for, getting anchor text backlinks from external sites pointing to your website.
In the days of old, if you followed a simple formula you could pretty much gaurantee first page domination.
- Target a keyword with low competition and good search volume.
- Set up a WordPress Blog and use a sitemap with a seo pack plugin. Fill in the seo details (title, description, etc.) of the site and posts, using your keywords.
- Get backlinks from a variety of different sources and different IPs (blog commenting, press release sites, web 2 properties, bookmarking, forums, article directories, video sharing sites description box, etc.).
- Get backlinks from authoritative sites like .gov and .edu’s.
- Get backlinks from the same neighborhood and genre
- Get backlinks that are “wrapped in content,” instead of a link list.
- Get your site listed and indexed at Yahoo and DMOZ directories.
- Set up profile pages at free web 2.0 properties with a banklink in your profile page, and your rss feed (if allowed).
- Create a network of free blogs/hubs (blogger, wetpaint, etc.), and put backlinks to your website.
- Submit RSS Feeds of everything to RSS Directories
- Ping everything
- Use some automation softwares to do most of this for you, spamming and blasting spun content all over the internet with backlinks backlink pointing to your website.
- Sign up for some paid blog networks, and submit articles to the network with your backlinks.
Sounds great thus far. The only problem is: Google updates (see a good Google update history here). Google’s spam control department is finally getting serious and taking action, thereby cleaning up the search results from spammy content.
**The old approach as listed above to dominate Google’s page one is getting harder to do.**
Google is now able to smell spun content like a top cop blood hound. Blog networks, and their blogs, have been de-indexed and virtually shut down. Article directory sites have been penalized with Google’s panda update. Any backlinks coming from web 2.0 properties and feeder sites are such low quality, that their impact on search results is minimal at best. On-Page Title and description tags do not carry the weight like they use to. Even having the keyword in the domain does not carry the weight it once did. And, Google’s panda update squashed the idea for years that Google only looks at pages, and not websites. Your entire website can now get devalued if you have spammy content in some sections, or if there is more ads than content. In fact, Matt Cutts has warned SEO’ers of the danger of over optimization, and even working on a penalty.
Here is, in my humble opinion, the leading ingredients in Google’s new SEO paradigm moving forward:
SEO Ingredient 1: On-Page Basics
Know your on-page seo basics and do them well. While on-page seo has little weight compared to off-page seo, particulary for smaller sites, you still want to do this. The largest on-page seo factor that will sky rocket your ranking is Unique Potent Content that engages Users and is exactly what they are searching for.
SEO Ingredient 2: Off-Page Basics
You still want to get a variety of backlinks from a variety of sources: article directories, bookmarks, forums, press releases, video sharing sites, rss, etc.. BE NATURAL. And remember, these backlinks will count very little in Google’s eyes for ranking, particularly for a moderately competitive keyword.
Warning: Do not use spun content, and DO NOT SPAM using automated tools. Do not ONLY use a paid blog network, even if it is one that has not yet been de-indexed. Otherwise, your entire business is at risk. If you do use these tools, be very slow in your approach, and make sure you are using good private proxies.
My good friend Jason Katzenback and I often bounce ideas off of each other. One of them was an article that talks about Google’s recent warnings to webmasters about suspicious inbound links. What we did agree on was some solid points, and the dangers of webmasters using bad linking schemes, or other shenanigan over optimization seo methods, which are the following:
From our vantage point we see some basic commonalities existing from an off-page perspective when sites experience a significant ranking loss subsequent to a warning letter. The sites commonly feature:
- Volumes of over optimized anchor text (generally to the most competitive head terms)
- Links coming from multiple outside websites which show clear signs of being networked (same IP or C-Block class, cross linking, same Google AdSense ID,same/similar coding or CMS technology – double check the links your vendor gets you using SpyOnWeb.)
- Poor overall deep linking ratio to the site
- Low quality sites (repurposed content) and off topic sites
Once again, be Natural. Do not have all Tweets. Do not have all FB likes. Do not have all forum backlinks. Be Natural. Variety is the spice of seo life. Balance is key.
SEO Incredient 3: Be an Avid Keyword Research Geek
Keyword research is hard work, but worth the effort. Buy some great keyword tools to have in your arsenal, and know them inside and out. I will talk more about this in point 5 below.
SEO Ingredient 4: Social Signals Count
Bing and Google have both stated that they take social signals into account in their search results. In the days of old, webmasters create backlinks. In the new age of seo, everyone web surfer can create a backlink.
If your content is being shared and ‘liked’ on the social sites, Google see’s this and factors it. Admittedly, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ can be manipulated. You can get a $5 gig at Fiverr.com for 250 Facebook Like’s or Tweets, for example.
What is hard to manipulate is the grand kahuna of SEO in Google’s new paradigm moving forward, namely…
SEO Ingredient 5: Brand User Engagement SEO
The huge new change from what I see is Google moving towards Brand SEO and the extent and quality that User Engagement is involved, coming from a variety of sources.
First, what do I mean by Brand SEO?
Google gives a lot, and I mean A LOT, of authority to those sites who have decided to brand themselves in a particular niche, and in a particular way. Let me explain….
Brand SEO is not about using long tail keywords and building a ton of minisites. Rather…
Brand SEO focuses on building ONE website that posts potent and relevant content that users are searching for and want, and in doing so, the brand builds up a lively readership and ‘following.’ Your BRAND and website is quoted, shared, tweeted, liked, discussed, chatted, and linked to. When people do a web search, they type in ‘your brand website’ to find you. (people actually type in ‘mark dulisse’ to find this blog).
Secondly, what do I mean by User Engagement?
When a visitor lands on your page are they bouncing right off, or are they sticking on your website? If they bounce off quickly, the search engine’s will take this to mean that your website does not have quality content and no user engagement.
We already know that Bing counts people bouncing off your website as a factor in ranking, and most likely Google does the same, particularly since webmasters can already track Bounce Rate for themselves using Google Analytics.
Here are things you can do right now to increase your Brand SEO and User Engagement:
A. Connect your website to Google services AND non-Google services
- Create a Google+ Profile and add your website link to it. Create a nice profile with picture, links, and other practical information about you.
- Install and use Google Chat. Did you know that when you build up your contact list inside Google chat, when other people on your contact list do a Google search, your website and BRAND links will show up in search results?
Yep, Google knows your connects, and also has a good knowledge of your non-Google connections. When you are logged into your Google account, click on your Social Connections to find out. I find it now interesting that Google+ profile almost looks like a Facebook Timeline with image on top.
- Create a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin profile (make them all nice), and connect them to your Google+ profile.
You are creating your Brand. You will need to manage these social sites and build up for followers, friends and contacts. Having someone tweet your content that has 50,000 followers is much more authoritative than someone who tweets your stuff that only has 5.
B. Put Social Buttons on your website for people to share your content. Make the buttons highly visable and engaging.
Google Analytics Social Interaction now allows you to measure your Social Traffic. There is also a free wordpress plugin called Social Essentials that will keep stats for you as well and add the social buttons to your blog. If you want a quick and dirty method of checking the social sharing stats of any of your web pages, simply add this bookmark. Drag and Drop this link, Shared Count, to your Firefox toolbar, and the click it when you are visiting any of your pages you want stats on.
C. Make Site Speed Fast For Users.
Matt Cutts of Google has told us numerous times to increase User Engagement by having a speedy site, and they have even created a cool Google site speed tool for us to check our websites speed. Vladimir Prelovac has created a great free Firefox Addon called SEO Doctor that will check your website speed, and a whole lot for doing a website audit. If people click on your website in the serps, and it takes forever to load, users will not stay. They will click away. Hence, do the recommended changes. (fyi – MarkDulisse.com/blog has a score of 90%.)
D. Write your content for what Users are searching for, not what the search engines are looking for.
This is hard to do for a SEO’er. But, any type of Push Button SEO mockup tool or automated script that tries to give Google what it thinks it is looking for is old school thinking that will not be rewarded in the search engines any longer. And for pete’s sake, stop buying links (thought I’d throw that in there). Start building a Brand and start engaging Users on your website.
E. Do your keyword research and zero in on helping people find the solutions and results to their search queries.
If a user does a query on “How to build my business on the internet,” and they see your website in the first page results of Google, with the title as, “Build your Business Online: Learn How,” when they land on your page the headline and first sentence should be something like: “Step by Step Guide on Building Your Business Online: In this article I am going to show you the right way to build your business online.”
Make the keywords flow from the search results to the landing pages, giving the User exactly what they are searching for – quality and engaging content.
F. Make your website have good cosmetics and presentation.
You can spot a spammy website or blog network site right away. Your Brand SEO and User Engagement website site will be different.
When people land on your website they will say…
“This is a business. There is a real person behind this website. In fact, I bet there is a contact form and I can contact this person. Oh, look at this…they have Facebook page, and Google+ too. What a great brand and business they have here. I will bookmark this site and come back. Do they have a rss feed? I will add it to my reader. Hmm…. What a great post, I’m going to add it to my Facebook and share it. I love this video, very inspiring. I will share that too. Do they have a newsletter? I’m going to get on it. I like this site. It adds value to the web, has easy navigation, great copy, and is engaging.”
F. Do not annoy the User Experience with a lot of Ads.
Users will bounce off your website if there are a lot of ads, so use them sparingly, but logically placed in good positions. If a User see’s that you are simply trying to entrap them the ads, instead of letting you feed their minds with real engagement, they will bounce and click off.
G. Add a commenting system to your website.
Encourage User Engagement by asking them to make a comment and participate in dialogue with your readership.
F. Google Proof your Brand Website
When you have successfully branded yourself online, you have avid readership and following. Not everyone may agree with you, and some may even not like you, but they respect you and your voice which is being communicated through Brand SEO and User Engagement.
Ask people to get on an autoresponder newsletter so that even if Google unilaterally decides to de-index you, or their super computers worldwide get a super new virus, your business still thrives.