Just when you think you’ve got your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tactics sorted, Google announce an algorithm change and you’re back to square one. So how can you stay on top?
First there was Google Panda (released Feb 2011) that aimed to lower the rank of low-quality sites and put higher-quality sites at the top of the search results. (Hasn’t that always been the aim?)
The Panda change affected almost 12% of all search results and caused an outcry from websites claiming that many copycats were getting better rankings than sites with original content.
Then there was Google Penguin (released April 2012) which aimed to clamp down on black-hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, duplicate content, cloaking and sneaky linking tactics.
And what next? Google Possum? What will the next Google algorithm release entail and how will it affect your website’s rank?
The truth is: we just don’t know.
Second guessing Google is difficult and often keeping up with the necessary fixes is like trying to follow the latest fashion trend, and having to update your wardrobe every few months.
When you’re trying to run a small business, it can be tough to find the time, money, or energy to keep your site in tiptop SEO shape. You could, of course, pay a monthly retainer to an SEO company, but that can prove expensive and they’ll never be as invested in your company as you are.
Nine SEO ideas that (probably) never go out of fashion
I’ve pulled together some tried and tested Search Engine Optimisation methods that are unlikely to ever go out of out of fashion – and you won’t need an necessarily need an SEO boffin to complete them.
1) Nice clean code
Google doesn’t like a buggy site. So make sure your site’s code is clean and free of errors. You can use the W3C website to check for issues.
2) Back(links) to basics
Quality links count regardless of pandas, penguins or possums. Try to make sure the links are from legitimate websites that are relevant to your business sector. Quality links take longer to build but the ranking effect is also much stronger.
3) Be unique
Try to create at least one page on your site that covers each of your products or services. Ensure the content on the page is original, well written, engaging and unique.
4) The need for speed
Ensure your site is jam packed with whizzy widgets and monster graphics. A fast site will always be preferred to a slow one, regardless of what changes Google chooses to make in the future.
5) Consider your audience
Popular sites that receive lots of visits and encourage the longest possible time on site will always get the thumbs up from the Google geeks. So write for your customers, fulfill a need, answer a question, help them and encourage them to engage.
6) Image counts
Name your images intelligently. If it’s a picture of ‘Swiss cheese’ call it swiss cheese.jpg. You don’t have to be a genius to realise that an image named 137image.jpg has no SEO value and no value to a user using screen reader software.
7) Avoid complications
Keep your page names, urls, page titles, meta descriptions and file structures short, simple and symbol free.
8) Get rich quick
Integrate other media into your site if you can, YouTube is the second-biggest search engine so think about creating some business-related videos and embedding them on your site.
9) For the social good
A personal recommendation goes a lot further than an anonymous search result. So make sure it’s easy for your audience to like, share and comment upon your content at all times.
Remember that SEO is only one part of the overall awareness pie that includes advertising, press, social media, word of mouth, print media, networking and so much more. So whichever beast Google throws at us next, follow the simple rules above and you’re highly likely to keep your search position.
Do you have any advice that could help others get survive the next Google penguin, panda or possum attack?