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SEO Best Practices: Google’s New Traffic Paradigm

Brand SEO

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.

This included:

  • 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 Panda

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

Source: http://blog.iacquire.com/2012/04/10/googles-2012-phishing-expedition/

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.

Please tell me your thoughts and post a comment.  I read them all. :)

About Mark Dulisse

Software Developer, Blogger, SEO Consultant, Internet Marketer

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110 comments

  1. Hello Mark,

    When I first got your email today, I wasn’t sure how I got on your list and was about to delete or send it to spam, but your subject line, “new blog post: Google Best Practices” caught my attention.

    So I came to your blog.

    What with all the many changes that Google is making, as you say, many of the old tactics of SEO aren’t working anymore.

    I for one am kinda glad for some of the changes Google is doing, because in truth, there really is a lot a crap out on the web these days.

    I will have to implement the many tips and suggestions you make, on my blog, so as to try and stand out from the crowd and to also be rewarded by the Google God’s!

    I am really glad I decided to come on over to your blog today.

    Thanks for the very informative and well written information.

    Willie Robertson

  2. Hi Mark,

    Great post to tell how to still rank after Google de-indexed blog networks.
    I think social signals are becoming really important to Google to make your site look more user friendly.

    Thanks for the information on the “branding” part. I was trying to debate whether to build multiple mini-sites or to focus on 1 authority site. Your post has helped to make my decision more clear .

    Thanks,
    Garry

  3. Thank you for this post. Your observations are thoughtful and easy to understand. Only wish it was as easy to carry out as it is to read, but I continue to try and have carried out work on my blogs to try to optimise them better. A lot more work to get through.
    Evangeline recently posted…GROWING ORGANIC CARROTSMy Profile

  4. Hi Mark, can’t thank you enough for your great posts lately. The info on this post would sell at the WF for $20 or more.

  5. Great write up Mark! Lots of good info here. I totally agree that it is all about providing an excellent experience for your visitors. If you focus on providing great, useful content that engages and/or provides value for your readers they will reward you with links, traffic, and business (if you are selling some thing).

    Google is always moving towards rewarding great content with each subsequent update to its algorithms and making it harder and harder to spam spun or poor quality content for to increase your rankings. The more you focus on the fundamentals you mentioned above the less you will have to worry about the next algorithm change down the line. Of course, just having great content is only half the battle – you should still have a strategy in place to make sure your work gets read :)

    Oh, and you repeated section F three times in the list about increasing brand awareness :)
    Aaron S. recently posted…Website Basics: Seo for Small BusinessMy Profile

  6. I’m experimenting a lot with Facebook as of late and I can say that Facebook’s traffic is nice. :)

    They tend to read your content and check out more than one page. They rarely bounce and they even comeback for more!

    I think this is the time to build a great Facebook following, because everything is new and the pioneers will get the most money.
    Monk recently posted…Engagement Ring Settings – Disaster And Rescue!My Profile

  7. Having worked on SEO for some of the largest global brands around it is good to see a well written post on the subject.

  8. Hi Mark,

    Nice post, thank you for keeping everyone in the loop. I value your SEO research and opinions, It saves me a lot of time on the subject. Thanks again for collecting and sharing applicable information.

    -Justin
    Justin S recently posted…How Exercise Creates InspirationMy Profile

  9. What I find interesting is how every guru out there teaches “Google” instead of how to create and run a true business. Google is one of many tools that can be used, but not something to base a successful business. It is unfortunate that so many new marketers are still lured into idea they can leave their job just by setting up websites that rank in the first position of Google. Position is a nice to have, but it should only be a small piece of your income.

  10. Thanks for heads up on the wordpress plugins.

    I agree with the social signals stuff as well.

    Did you see Becker’s post over on Thelinkback.com about how he got a website to go viral 11 hours after he bought the domain and went thru a bunch of steps to figure how to get traffic post panda?

    It’s good stuff…
    Paula recently posted…Losing weight…My Profile

    • @ Paula – I do not follow him. I took a quick peak. It looked rather dumb to me that process. I am into building a real web brand business, instead of just seeing if you can get viral traffic, and how quickly. While entertaining for people, it is out of my best practices scope.

  11. Thanks for the wonderful insights Mark. Im happy to say were pretty much doing most of what you have mentioned here in our quest to brand our company. Yes we’re on twitter,facebook, Linkedin and also Google + and its all interlinked.

    What I didn’t know was the little gem of info you mentioned about google chat. 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…Seriously? how the hell did you find this out? Thanks for sharing anyhow, as always a great read and full of beneficial information.

    one last thing, what’s your thoughts on connecting your rel=author to your google +1 account. I see you have done so on this blog but didn’t mention it was important in this post.

  12. This is brilliant stuff by Mark. I have always taught people to build their business outside of Google. That’s the only way to build a viable business in this day and age.

    Get our weekly business marketing update to stay on top of current marketing strategies. Go to: http://nbmuk.com/business-marketing-newsletter/

  13. This is an excellent post, which is very clear on what to do. Will love to get your ideas on getting social involement on the site other than getting traffic momentary using Flipper.

    Thanks.

  14. This comes at a great time. I am in the process of building out my personal brand.

  15. Thanks Mark, you’ve got some good insights. The thing that gets me with Google’s new approach is that while some markets are really hot for social engagement online, others simply aren’t. For instance, I have a client who sells windows. Are his customers going to be the kind of rabid social media fans that Google is looking for today? Nope. They just want good windows, installed right, and then they forget about them. And there are thousands of other niches exactly like this one, where social involvement is actually kind of weird.
    Jonathan recently posted…Bar Chords Made SimpleMy Profile

    • @ Jonathan,

      A window shopper most likely will not start social engaging but certainly the window online business wants to Brand themselves and dominate the results with a good brand presentation using their website, Google+ Business profile name, Facebook business profile, etc, etc, and have it all inter-connected.

  16. It all boils down to relevance once again. Give Google’s customers a good search experience and they will reward you with good placement. That relevance is continuously evolving with the tools Google offers. But I don’t believe you have to use all the tools to get good placement. Sometimes offering customers all the tools available could be outside their budget.
    Al Johnson recently posted…Why Do I Need A Mobile SiteMy Profile

    • @ Al Johnson – I don’t really know what tools you refer to in this sentence, “Sometimes offering customers all the tools available could be outside their budget.”

  17. hi mark
    SEO blogs are all talking abut social networking and making content Viral, so i thought it would be the same as i read on other blogs… but i found some new and helpful tools you suggested on this blog and i want to thank you for it.
    i like the Google talk add-on to help people talk one on one with me and implemented it immediately .
    I wonder if and how does Google see this traffic and how does it translate to better positioning on Google ranking??
    thanks Boaz

  18. Hey Mark it’s Sunday morning down under in New Zealand and I took a quick break from posting new articles to my health and weight loss sites to check my emails. Your email linking to this post was there and your “this is long” warning was on the button. Almost as long as a Sunday sermon but very useful content.

    As a relative newcomer to affiliate marketing I have focused more on “On Page SEO” than “Off Page SEO” so was pleasantly surprised to find that I was already doing most of what you suggest.

    Your thoughts from “Google is now able to smell spun content like a top cop blood hound” onwards I’m in total agreement with although I’m no SEO expert. I have studiously ignored all the backlink schemes, article spinners, etc.

    All the recent screams online from webmasters about sites getting de-indexed etc seems to justify my aversion to anything and everything that appears contrived or unnatural. Current example being all those sites selling facebook/twitter followers. To my mind if someone didn’t follow me of their own volition would their follow that I bought actually be of any value? Personally I don’t think so but hey I may be wrong.

    I have also never spun an article in my life so totally agree with your “write your content for what Users are searching for, not what the search engines are looking for” statement.

    When I started out online most gurus were teaching building hundreds of 3-5 page “auto pilot” websites which didn’t really turn me on – sounded like too much work to me – so I bought 7 domains in evergreen markets and focused on building them out with useful content. Just recently I saw one of those gurus who had been promoting the “3-5 page “auto pilot” websites” concept now suggesting that it was better to build authority sites. I had to chuckle when I read that one because in my naivety I had already started out doing just that without knowing it was actually a good idea.

    All in all this is a great post Mark and I’ve printed it out for regular reference.
    Jonathon recently posted…How To Use Twitter For Fun And ProfitMy Profile

  19. Hey Mark,

    I always enjoy information that you provide. Seems consistently on target and note-worthy. I’m constantly trying to keep up with the changing face of the internet and it’s often like taking one step forward and 2 back, but I like getting information from many sources.

    That being said, I tend to gravitate back to you more times than not. The other day I was reading or listening to the thought that linking directly back to your main site from 2.0 sites may be getting the frowny face from Google, as well at commenting on blogs within your niche for backlinks. It’s now being recommended that in lieu of leaving blog comments, that you take it one step further and become a guest blogger on various sites within your niche to help build your brand and get stronger backlinks (my interpretation). This source was also recommending linking between 2.0 sites (several deep) before eventually linking to your main (or money) site.

    You’re exactly right, though … without good, original content …. you’ll get NO Google love and like it!! :^)

  20. What I mean is, sometimes a small business will only have a budget to get a site ranked while not being able to pay extra to have social aspect ie. g+ or others properties. They don’t have the budget to pay for analyitics analysis. They can’t pay for webmaster tools analysis. It’s one thing to just glance at these things but you know there is more to it than that. There are may directions you can take when marketing your site that not all small business owners can either pay for or learn themselves.

    • @ Al Johnson – Google Analytics is free, Google+ profile is free, facebook is free. I’m not sure why a business owner would pay for Google analytics analysis when Google analytics gives you reports for free. Most business owners are astute, otherwise they would not be in business. If they say you charging for something that is readily available, that would look dumb. :)

  21. Thanks for being such an excellent resource Matt. You packed a ton of excellent info into this post. Creating the site is just half the battle, getting it seen is where the rubber meets the road!
    Dave Crabill recently posted…The Power of the EraserMy Profile

  22. LOL… I looked back at my comment and noticed that I was thinking about a clients site (Matt) as I was writing… sorry Mark! I’m using Traffic Player, RSS Link Bomber, WP-Short Codes and WP-Opt in, so I certainly know your name!
    Dave Crabill recently posted…The Power of the EraserMy Profile

  23. Man oh man, that was a freaking awesome post, Mark!!

    I agree with you 100% on everything…

    I do have a question for you.. Do you think the exact match keyword sites (old school SEO as you put it) would lose over the brand SEO sites, even if they still have lots of high-value information?

    And what do you think about little 5-10 page crappy looking sites, that have 300-500 word articles of valuable content?

    Ultra good stuff man! Thanks so much for sharing!

    ~Omar
    Omar Briones recently posted…Info Marketing 101 — Know your BoundariesMy Profile

    • @ Omar Briones – While your questions are good, I would suggest building a business, as opposed to thinking of “building a site.” What I am talking about is a thriving online business website.

  24. Mark,

    What about my sugar daddy dating site ? I tried building a FB fan page to it, but turned out that was a horrible idea. People were landing on my page, seeing the FB link, clicking on it (now they’re off my site), seeing a bunch of girls on my FB fan page, sent them a message “Hey I see you’re looking for a sugar daddy, wanna get together ?” Boom! I just lost registrations, they are totally bypassing me (lost revenue), and it turns out that I’m actually sending traffic over to FB instead of the other way around! Not to mention, while very popular, this is not exactly the type of website or content people wanna share with their friends!

    Where do social signals or “engaging content” come into play in my niche ? The only engaging content are the people on my site, that’s the commodity!

    • @ Sugar daddy – That is crazy, and I have no idea when it comes to your niche. I would suggest getting out of that niche.

  25. As always Mark, your posts are very thought through. You write well on matters that impact your audience. And you provide possible solutions that when implemented make a big impact on the viability of online businesses and the experience of online users.

    The days of spammy content with little or no relevance to what users intend in their search result is coming to an end. Some will regret that, but what’s funny though is that as online users ourselves, we all want only relevant content in our personal search results and are impatient and disappointed when we get garbage. Yet we are willing to insult other users with our deliberately programmed irrelevant content to further our own ends.

    I say , “Long Live Panda” and all of its yet to come iterations. Maybe living consciously and respect for others will start to permeate into all aspects of our lives including work and play, both offline and online.
    Maikol recently posted…How to Set Up AdsenseMy Profile

  26. Thanks for all your good advice.

    I CANNOT get anyone to respond to me through your support site. I purchased WP Optin Pro and do not have a name registered which will allow me to download it or any of the updates you are sending out.

    So in essence, I’m on the list, I paid for it, but no one will get me registered to get to the product!!!

  27. I am on your mailing list.
    This was really helpful. Good to hear from a SEO-expert that Google is back-to-basics. Only way to go is to give good overall content.

    Thanks again.

  28. Mark,

    Thanks for providing quality SEO info to the community. You are right on. Keep up the good work.
    Roger Gill

  29. Great info, Mark. I think it’s especially helpful for authority sites, but a little difficult to implement on niche sites without outsourcing.

    It seems like the bottom line is give the readers what they are looking for and a little more and you’ll have a winner.

  30. A long post whilst nothing changed: garbage in, garbage out. Do not use crappy techniques. pair quality in every element of your online presence.

  31. Mark,
    Very insightful post. I wish I had read this before a webinar guest asked this question on the air… Thanks for the post.
    Mike

  32. Great update Mark. Those who stick to the core SEO strategies based on trust factors and common sense never have to stress or worry when the search engine algorithms change. It is always the tactic junkies that panic and scramble to try to figure out the next big shortcut while darting around the internet screaming the sky is falling.
    Tim recently posted…Google Places Quality Guidelines UpdateMy Profile

  33. Mark,

    This is an excellent article about how to build a “real” blog and hence, a real business.

    Trying to play with the search engines is a LOSING games for losers. Believe me, i know first hand. Give the SE’s what they want, a remarkable web property that people love and like to share (like what you’ve done with your blog).

    Thanks for all the work you’ve put into this post.

  34. I have a 1 year old blog that has (had) a lot of links from BMR and also Blogging Underground. Strangely enough it has not gone down in the ranks despite losing a lot of link juice. The on page SEO is good and the content unique and it gets a few comments. Maybe that is why it is still doing well?

    Who knows these days?

    Thanks Mark
    Wendy
    Wendy Owen recently posted…Rheumatoid Arthritis Facts You Need To Be Aware OfMy Profile

  35. Google has gotten really good at spotting organic and tailoring your search experience. Even if I sign out of my Google accounts, the search results I see are un-likely to be the same as yours. A lot of people use the “last 24 hours” option. I think posting high quality, relevant, well keyword researched content, on a regular basis is the key to success in post Panda IM. I have taken to using blogger as I can rank new pages very quickly, especially for “last 24 hours” searches. I have extensive Google profiles and have always said “Google knows what’s going on in it’s own house and goes to the Google well first.”

    But I’m just pushin’ that broom…

    Brent
    Brent Stangel recently posted…UFC UNDISPUTED 3 TIPS GUIDEMy Profile

  36. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the article, great information. What do you think about using SEnuke now, with your SEO training product? I also use your RSS Link Bomber wp plugin, is it ok to use it?
    Larry recently posted…Larger Woodworking Projects How TosMy Profile

  37. Hi Mark,
    I often received your emails but almost never read them because of the routine. Today I read this post and found it informative and useful very much. Guess what am I going to do next? To learn all your blog! Because you give lots of answers to my questions.
    Big thanks!
    Frankie recently posted…Installing Hardwood Floors on Stairs – Advantages and Disadvantages of the DesignMy Profile

  38. Hey Mark,

    Great post. I’ve been using some of the technique above pointed and trying to get traffic from social sites to get the natural traffic and interaction Google wants to see. Posting good and relevant content is a must!

    I have done very little link building, since I don’t know what work best on this instance. I’d like to hear you opinion.

    Thanks for your insights.

  39. Mark,
    I have watching and learning from you for a couple of years now. Good stuff….as usual.

  40. G’day Mark,

    What a great (& long) post you needed a warning at the top “pack your lunch and water bag before starting”.

    Seriously this a very good and important blog and you should think about having as a downloadable PDF at the end so people can refer back to it, I know some of this information will change in six months but it is good to have at hand.
    Thanks Mark.
    Dan
    P.S. Can you send me a copy, please.

  41. Hi great article….. this just reinforces most of the fragmented information i have been reading and i agree with you totally that search is changing its not just about seoing anymore…. its more about brand awareness, social connection and also contribution to the community.

    Thanks for wrapping this up in a nice neat article.
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  42. Thanks, you really clarified a few things I thought was happening with all these Panda updates. It can be really frustrating trying to rank in google with all the constant changes.
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  43. Hi Mark, I think basically what it means to webmasters is that you should provide quality content, engage with your readers, update on a regular basis, and simply be honest and put a bit of effort into it!
    We will not be able to throw sites out there any more hoping to make a good income from them, but each of us will only be able to maintain a few good sites (after all, it all costs time! Unless you start outsourcing…). This will automatically weed out the “crap”.
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  44. Hi Mark, this is a good post, and link @Nigel I thought that the info about Google chat was fresh and very useful.

    I’m glad that Google did this – they cleaned up plenty of sites that were ranking well in one of my weight loss niches and because I didn’t use BMR etc, I’m still making money while they have disappeared.

    There’s now going to be a mad scramble for guest blogging….;-)
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  45. What’s up Mark?

    This was a very insightful look at how SEO is being rendered across the web. I think the old days of doing things are still apart of that learning curve for the average new blogger. Best practices I believe is something that has to explored and appreciated. It will ultimately prove itself to be true for the ones that are in it for the long haul. Good one…I read it twice

  46. Hi Mark,

    What a great post, thank you.
    As the person in the previous comment says, I too am doing most of this.

    I always resisted the temptation of the private blog networks, thinking that one day Google would find them an easy target.

    My main challenge now is generating the ‘User Engagement’, this can be particularly tricky on niche specific clients sites where traditionally there is not a lot of sharing going on!

    In the past, once the on page SEO has been done, 100% of effort has gone into Off page SEO with link building using the methods that you talked about at the beginning of your post – how would you split that now with the ‘Brand SEO’.

  47. Hi Mark, Good article and advice, it’s time for people to know that setting up a website, and business takes hard work, there are no easy ways and short cuts that you can use.

  48. Nice update on whats going now in google, it looks like spam times are over 😉

  49. Nice post. I’m actuallly a software guy helping individuals and small businesses. I got interested in SEO a year or so ago, as many of my clients had business sites that weren’t being utilized. The affliate marketing / high traffic thing never appealed to me. It seemed like a lot more work than they made out. So I’m more interested in targeted traffic. Having a rather limited budget, I always appreciate the “freebies” and good advice.

    Thanks, Steve
    PS My own site is still “under contruction” and neglected :( Got to get busy with that. I’m trying to go for the “branding” effect.

  50. Hi Mark,

    Really enjoy your no nonsense insights. You were going to do a review on a curation software called PageOne – is that going to come? I bought it under your recommendation and it is really cool as I can see it is certainly a way to build good quality content (and yes, it does require work).

    I did all the mini sites – they made me next to nothing so I am now concentrating on building quality authority sites. It’s a discipline but one that I know will pay off in the long run.
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  51. I think I’m blessed. Getting up on a sunny Sunday morning and reading a post like this one.

    I’m so happy because finally somebody gets his hands dirty and tells us the truth about Google and SEO and good ranking.

    I’m so tired about all the lies, and the old fashioned ways about: “How to get a good ranking” with methods that do not work anymore but still preached and sold as best and latest secrets.

    Google has changed its Algorithms, made a Panda update and a lot of other updates. If we do not want to put ourselves in a backwater we have to realize the facts and make the changes ourselves. But first we need to know about them.

    Therefore I’m so thankfull that somebody puts them together for us in an easy and understandable way.

    Thanks, Mark I really enjoy and appreciate this post very much

    Raphaela
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  52. time to get out I’d say! I’m moving into day trading and running IM on the side. With all these google changes it’s too much hard work and in the blink of an eye google can destroy your business that you’ve worked so hard to build.

  53. Mark, that was a great presentation on SEO, and it shows you know what you are talking about, and I appreciate you sharing it.
    The problem for many when starting out online is trying to learn all that has to be learned. (Think Information OverLoad or Analysis Paralysis). The beginning marketer should FIRST learn to MAKE some simple money, add to it, and then learn the techie stuff, for long term growth. That’s what we teach at http://AutoInco.me

  54. Hi Mark.
    What are you doing?
    You just disclose all marketing secrets in one post and left gurus jobless. LOL.

    Excellent post Mark, strait to the point without any nonsense.
    And what a response ha…
    I consider your blog as an authority of internet marketing.
    Thanks very much.

    PS. Many marketers hate Google, I love it.
    Google give’s everything to do and grow business online, people just have to study it,
    instead of buying course after course.
    Do no evil , you’ll get no evil…..
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  55. G’day Mark

    thank you for this timely post that doesn’t beat around the bush and lays everything out in an easy to read and understand manner.
    I welcome the changes that Google has made, I never felt comfortable being involved with Link Farms – one question that has been rattling around my brain for the past week – will the use of software like SE Nuke be effected by these recent changes?
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  56. Thanks for an interesting post Mark. Many people still think that the many old methods of SEO still work today, but this is sadly not the case for the honest marketer (and happily not the case for the spammer and creator of the junk sites that abound on the internet).

    I agree with the sentiments of your first poster, who said that he was just about to delete your email and unsubscribe. This was in my thoughts too, and like him, I am glad that I did not do that and came to read your post. I believe that i am a little bit wiser for having read it.

    Barry

  57. Hey Mark

    very good overview, but I would suggest, based upon my own experience, that of all the factors mentioned ONE stands out above all for success with Google for the long run. I base my comments on the fact that I am NOT an SEO professional and yet have consistently been able to get #1 site rankings for my site in some competitive niches.

    It seems that regardless of Google algo changes and updates, my sites have been totally unaffected – in fact, I would say they have benefited by each successive Google update.

    The only thing I can attribute that to is the fact that I am an experienced writer and have expertise in the topics that I create websites around. All of my content is original, thoroughly edited, up-to-date and informative to those searching for my keywords.

    I believe that after all the SEO basics (which are relatively simple for anyone to incorporate), Google ranks sites highly that provide original material that will cause visitors to stay and read. My average visitor time is around 3+ minutes with a 30% bounce rate, and that alone I believe has led Google to eventiually rank my sites above some very well funded and professionally designed and optimized commercial sites.

    I believe website builders should focus 90% on quality original relevant content, and 10% on “SEO basics” for success.

    As Google continually gets better, that formula will become even more productive.

  58. Mark.

    Great post as usual. Not sure if I should have one Google+ account with all my websites linked to it along with one Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin account to promote me, the author and show my worth to Google or should I have one of everything for every website especially sites that I deem authority sites and putting more effort and content into.

    Bruce

    • @ Bruce – Good question. I would suggest first to get a notepad and think of a clear business plan of different authority sites, and which one has the potential to really take it to the next level. From there, I would focus on turning it into a powerful force and brand.

      • I write and have a number of different websites in a number of differing industries. I will mainly focus on one site per vertical. Can I be author verified across more than one website within 1 Google+ account? If so, then is this even advisable?

  59. You hit the nail on the head with this post. I think a lot of people who have been penalized were only using blog networks and were not randomizing their anchor text. The way of the future is diversification of linking, social engagement, and unique quality content. Great Post Mark!
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  60. Hi Mark,

    Great article. I wonder if this information related to the last two updates of Google Panda in February and in March?
    We should avoid too many exact anchor text links!!!!
    Oh yeah Google Panda is harming, we have the example : JC Penny got hurt by Google because he was playing around with the fire by getting unrelated sites to link to its site with exact match anchor texts. Well Panda 3.4 didn’t do the job alone, well well well NY Time made the first investigation;-)
    Cheers!!!

  61. Giovanni Dattoma

    Great post. I think what Google has done since Panda makes a lot of sense and I am very glad they acted on it to clear away non content fake-linked websites.

    Enter Brand SEO at last. This now gives us a clear blueprint on how to build a meaningful website, realated to the keywords people are searching for, and nothing else. Mark walks the talk with this blog.

    After wasting years being led astray by futile tactics, I can now build on what makes sense. Blog curation and Brand SEO are where my efforts will be concentrated. Building for content first, monetization afterwards.

    Glad for all the pointers of this post.

  62. Great post Mark,
    nothing has really changed with SEO if it was done the right way in the first place, Google always gave favour to quality sites that engaged searchers the only thing that has changed and I am glads that it has is all the spammy backlinking .

    What does my head in as an offline marketer is trying to convince businesses that now they need to have all these new methods like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, video content etc to keep their business on top, they don’t want to pay for that and it does not make much sense for a local plumber or joiner to get involved with this type of marketing. If they don’t already have an optimized Google places listing then their business does not have much of a chance of being found online, unless they want to pay me a fortune to carry out all that boring stuff for them, and most won’t. I have even found it difficult trying to give away a free text message marketing service to local restaurants.

    Thanks for this post.

    Mike
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  63. Hi Mark,

    thanks for the insightful article (this is more than just a blog post!!).
    I confirms much of what I have read from some other authorities.

    It comes down to building a brand/real business. In that regard your very last point is something that is often neglected. Making quick bucks with little to no effort seems to be getting a rare thing.

    Thanks for posting this.

    Detlev
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  64. hi mark. Great post but any chance u can put in a mobile version
    As it is very hard to read. Cheers
    Well done on such a well thought out post

  65. Thanks Mark, I have always being a strong believer in giving Google what they want and that is what I keep on telling my clients. I have actually increased in the positions of many of my keywords in the latest Google update. My best jump is from position 11 to position 4. In is eventually paying of for all the years of hard work and always listening to what Google is telling us.

  66. Thank you, Mark. I began to use uniquearticlewizard 3 months ago and quickly suspected that this stuff doesn’t do very much. I have already planned to slowly stop with it. I have FB and Google+ accounts, but all I see is that people are posting a lot, though not participating with others, unless it is on their own stuff. What is left for me is video marketing.
    Even when you have hundreds of pages with a lot of content, you don’t get any traffic, if you don’t rank high and if you don’t get enough traffic, you are not ranked high.

  67. Nice post Mark, at the end of the day not a ton has changed. Just the spammers are getting tapped. Anyone who has been investing in useful original content and getting a diversified portfolio of backlinks from quality sources is fine and will most likely always be fine.

    The challenge is this all takes work and too many people try to short cut it. Short cuts are often short lived.

  68. Mark this is very extensive post on recent changes from Google and SEO in general..

  69. Mark,
    Do you advise removing Google analytics and/or webmaster tools from our sites? I have heard some talk of this. Would appreciate your thoughts.
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  70. This post I think is the most refined version of current SEO trends and practices followed by internet marketers. I think the single strategy which seems right at this point of time in the eyes of google is how natural you SEO efforts actually are and the content of your website.

  71. Just like there are no magic weight loss cures or ways to earn money from home without a great deal of effort, there is no one simple solution to guarantee Internet marketing success. However, Internet marketing is not overly complicated and many business owners can enjoy at least some degree of Internet marketing success with only limited knowledge about the industry.

    Your post was very informative and I really enjoyed it. I hope you don’t mind me sharing a quote from my related blog post in future…
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  72. The biggest thing for everyone to wake up and realize is that we forgot the principles of running real businesses, of building good will in your market, brand building, and getting customers from as many places as possible. Now that there is a massive shakeout happening in free and paid search, you can see that those who are surviving have focused on those things.

  73. Mark, great article. I have always been amazed at the way in which some sites ranked in the top 10 have been so clearly affliate sites providing no value and very little relevant content. I was clear from the start. Provide the reader with what they need and do not waste their time.

  74. Holy crap Mark. This is one of the best friggin SEO articles I’ve ever read. It was so good, that I thought I would have to pay to keep reading.

    Of course I’m a marketer so I naturally think like that.

    But WOW man. That’s all I can say. I’m bookmarking this and using the content to build my business all the way out. You’re right about the Fiverr gigs and stuff. It’s cool and all. But I know it won’t last.

    As a matter of fact, as long as I get my tribe (I’m a Seth Godin fan too, go figure) to engage with me, I’ll be good to go and relevant to THEM. Which is what REALLY matters.

  75. Read you blog yesterday and made a checklist today to follow. Thanks a million for the advice.

  76. I closed comments to most of my blogs because
    many are spammers. Never thought to add
    comments feature will increase SEO.
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  77. backlinks really mean a lot to every blog. Quality backlinks help us a lot really. They drive some traffic, they enhance our position in SERPs and they can help in the improvement of our PR too… I personally prefer guest posting and blog commenting for quality backlinks

  78. So, the biggest buzzwords with big G now are “fast”, “brand” and “engage”, and the big buzzwords among SEO’s are “curation”, and “cautious” (almost timid) . Seems like everything pretty much falls under those key thoughts.

    And, it seems that while all those things are important, it’s all supposed to come together in a fashion that is as “natural” as possible. (I guess “natural” meaning – results that are professional, but implementation that is amateur?) Apparently websites are supposed to be – fast but not too fast, curated but not too curated, branded but not too perfectly branded, engaging but not too engaging, etc., etc., ad-nauseum.

    I dunno, it’s almost like we are supposed to sit back and think – “How would I do this if I wasn’t planning to make money with it?” And then put the site together that way, leaving the monetization until the end.
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  79. Hello Mark,

    Google is a big and successful company. They employ hundreds of very competent scientists and technicians as well as experts in internet marketing. They know what is going to be good for conscientious, dedicated internet marketing entrepreneurs. That’s good for us all. Its even good for the bad guys because they will be pushed to produce great material or get out of the market.

    In fact it’s a great improvement on what pertained prior to Panda.

    It’s taken time to get to where they are now but I cannot believe the latest Google updates are anything but good news for the image of internet marketing. I know it will help my sites to easily rank above all the rubbish that some so-called marketers portray as honest websites. They cannot be honest when they use every dubious short cut and spammy connivance in an attempt to put their rubbish in front of unsuspecting people seeking good material online only then to be conned out of their hard earned money.

    Now is the start of really good content at the top of the search results. I look forward with eager anticipation. Thank you Google.

    Best regards,

    Toby Carlisle.
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  80. hi Mark, i really love your blog, this is my first time to come here, nice to meet u

  81. Hi Mark , very interesting article but i have a few points to ask , backlinking from farms is dead , ok , got it , Article marketing? from Ezine thinking in original Articles does this still work? or is penalized by google

    What about forum profiles like Angelas & Paul , i read different opinions one says it works others says you get penalized

    tks in advance

    • @ Geom – Great question. So good I will use it in my next next upcoming blog post to lead with it. I know that doesn’t get answer your question, but it takes some thought and analytics/measurements to answer. All I can say is make sure you are on my list so I can notice you when i post it.

  82. Mark another Question regarding Senuke , I saw that in your products you have a guide or tutorial for Senuke this program is still valid I mean the Senuke one ? or is Panda risky

    thanks again
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  83. Mark, thanks for this very valuable overview. One question I have, what if you have a high quality site for which you have used some of the automated backlinking strategies that Google is now penalizing, and you want to try to fix the damage and repair your sites rankings? Can you identify which links are hurting your site and remove them? Or would it be better to move your site to a new domain and start over?

    Thanks,
    Tim
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  84. As always Mark your right on the money! and this is a great article for anyone looking how to do things ‘the Right Way’!!!

    Do you think that maybe sometimes Google changes things up with the algorythm to better suit their paying advertisers rather than those of us that use SEO as opposed to paying threw the nose for PPC?

  85. All the Google updates really hits almost all webmasters. Google panda puts most of webmaster down and was caught off guard and much more with what happen with Google penguin updates that really pulls the income of most webmasters to like 80% and it was so sad that it was hard to stand up again after that.

  86. Google has never ending updates on algorithms and that sucks! My google adsense drop and never regain it’s daily earning and now I shift to other source of advertising instead.

  87. It has been a while since we had the Google Panda and I have seen website dissapearing for the face of the earth, while all this was happening I had zero negative effects with these updates. I have been a strong believer in giving Google what they want, I strongly follow this on my blog and now have a site ranked 180,000 within one year. Thanks Mark you are one of the few Pro Marketers with true Integrity.
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  88. Really great information here Mark. Thank you so much for sharing your valuable time to help so many people.
    Many regards
    Les Foster
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  89. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on seo. Regards

  90. hy mark,you can say i am a fan of your writing.i always love your blog.just updated with you.thanks

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