How do I keep on top of Google's changes that might affect SEO?
OK this may be asking you to reveal parts of the "Secret SEO Business" aka what to us, mere mortals, at times looks like Black Magic..! But how do you keep on top of the different changes that Google is making to their ways of determining site rankings? Are there some information sites somewhere? Trial and error? What's the secret?
Further to Ivana's points, the most recent Google algorithm changes (Panda and Penguin) are making it harder to use some of the traditional methods (keyword and backlinks for eg) to fool Google into giving you a higher page rank.
The emphasis is moving more to what is on the page and how relevant that is to the reader, ie. How long are they on the page for, are they interacting with the site or leaving straight away. Google has realized over the years that getting a high listing on Google and not having people want to engage with the content once they click is not a good user experience for the their search results or their users.
This is making it harder in some ways for SEO companies as its not just about keyword stuffing and massive amounts of backlinks - which were generally paid for to give the illusion of a highly regarded page.
In short, think of the user, will additional images, videos, social channels, better written content appeal to your users? If so this is a great place to start.
An SEO company can still have a very positive effect for your site if you have fundamental technical issues that need to be addressed - are your URL's readable (friendly)? do you have a sitemap? is your site menus and page structure as clear as it possibly can be to make it easy for your users to find what they are looking for?
Hope this helps!
Original Content and Quality Backlinks are probably the basic foundation,
A few tips for staying ahead for 2013 and years to come.
1. I would remove any low quality links to your website, if some one has built junk links over the years they are only going to do bad things for your website.
2. Diversify your link building to the website, do not push all the links to the home page of the site that is a common spam signal for Google, split up your link building efforts to lower level pages. Please also try to make link building natural use brand terms and terms which the general public would link too, if you make your link building efforts 100% on exact match you are asking fro trouble.
3. Implement Schema.org tags onto your website, if you do not have relevant mark ups you are missing out.
4. Get onto Google+ and impalement rel author onto your Website if you do not have rel author set up your are missing out. set up here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1408986
5. Set up a content calendar for your business work out what content marketing efforts you can push for up coming dates in the year which relate to your business.
6. Do not cut corners, if some one is offering to do your SEO for $100 a month with guaranteed results its probably too good to be true and you will probably end up with your site been penalized.
Good info here too
Great question Henrik. There seems to be so much panic everytime Google makes changes to their algorithms. So the first thing I'd like to say don't panic. If you are not employing any black hat techniques your website should be fine. Despite all the changes that have been made, 3 things have remained constant.
1. Keep the content on your website original and update it regularly
2. Get as many backlinks to your website as you can (ie. one way links from other websites, rather than reciprocal links), as Google sees those as a vote for your website.
3. Keywords and key phrases should be incorporated in each page’s title, headings, description and meta keywords as well as in alt tags of your images.
One point that has come up recently is getting involved in Social Media, as search engines now watch how you interact with your visitors.
You may wish to read the following article which provides more info:
Also subscribe to Google's YouTube Channel for up-to-date information:
I'm starting to think $100 a month is too much for outsourced SEO. It seems that the traditional armory of the "SEO expert" is rapidly diminishing and businesses tactics to keep up there will revolve around maintaining and growing engaging and a content rich site with a strong dash of selected social media interaction.Possibly something a little difficult for a plumber, electrician and a dozen or so other trades but easier for a marketing company. James' suggestions about backlinks, schema tags and Google+ Authorship is solid advice. Keyword stuffing is finished, and that's long overdue. Hendrik's advice on images, videos, social channels, and better written content's appeal is spot on. My point is that a solid, well found website designed to capture leads and promote your 'identity' will rely more and more on the people in the actual business and less and less on outsiders. Possibly always has :-)
I would be interested to know what value a SEO company can provide now that the game is up. But that's a separate question!
Good points... I guess at times one may only realize that techniques are "black hat" once the ranking drops (-: I'll check out the links thanks
James, yes a great point about becoming a Google verified author (point 4). This will boost your credibility with Google and increase click through rate, as your photo will appear next to your content, articles and posts in search results.
Actually not a bad question though.. Perhaps these days it's less about "secret magic" and more about just taking that extra task off our all too crowded daily task list..??
If you're looking for guidelines and updates straight from the horses mouth, checkout Google's own sources:
Webmaster Guidelines: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769
Google Webmasters Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au/
Google Webmaster Tools on Twitter: https://twitter.com/googlewmc
Hope that helps!