We all know the internet has changed our world drastically since its inception. Not only has it revolutionised how people find information online but this complicated web of interlinked networks has also repositioned how businesses advertise their products or services.
Because of its constantly changing nature (companies have to actively adapt their marketing strategies. Search engines like Google and Bing strive to help the internet user find what they’re looking for and businesses have to do more than just create a website to be relevant and visible. They have to optimise their sites in order to rank higher on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This process is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
How to optimise
There are a few things that are taken into consideration in the SEO process
- Keyword research: What keywords are relevant to your business and its services (eg. Company name, service provided and location of the company).
- Onsite optimisation: Before a search engine indexes your website it scans for relevance and ranks the site accordingly. A fair amount of html coding and keywords in each web page (describing what the page is about) is necessary in this stage.
- Link building: This is a process that is designed to increase the traffic on a website or web page.
These are just a few of the steps that are involved. If you want to grow your business and reach more people, make sure your businesses website is fully optimised.
Google and National Positions USA have teamed up to co-host a FREE online webinar on ‘How to Maximise Google Adwords for Ecommerce Businesses’. Together they aim to help online retailers gain a better understanding of online advertising and how to maximise return on investment. It will take place on April 30th at 8pm and is available to everyone in South Africa and around the globe. Click here to register to join the webinar via National Positions.
The live webinar will feature industry experts such as Google’s Senior Marketing Strategists Samir Janveja and Kelli Pravash, National Positions’ President Bernard May and Search Engine Marketing Director David Jaeger. No matter the type of online business you run this webinar will benefit and give you insight into:
- How to increase sales when the competition is low
- How to double Adwords CTR’s
- How to double Adwords revenue
- How to use pricing in your Adwords ads
- How to boost sales from unconverted visitors
Besides providing you with advanced Adwords strategies the webinar will also touch on effective digital marketing topics including campaign exposure, online customer behaviour, Google Shopping and how online retailers from all industries and brands can leverage off this platform. Register today to be a part of this event.
Infographics present a fun and quick way to learn about a topic without any heavy reading and this way of presenting visually stimulating, relevant information is ideally suited to the online environment. Web users seldom really read content thoroughly but rather scan websites and if the content isn’t appealing, they simply ignore it and move on to greener pastures.
From an SEO strategy point of view, infographics can be used very effectively in a number of ways. Not only do they convey a lot more valuable information than an article or blog could, but they also be used as link bait. Link bait is web content that has attracted user’s attention and is interesting enough for people to share and pass on to others, consequentially increasing a websites inbound links.
Building Inbound Links
Inbound links are an important part of any SEO campaign and infographics provide opportunities to have users actively build more inbound links to the site. The trick here is produce good quality infographics that have meaning and value to the people you are communicating with.
Search engines have a hard time reading images and there is no way a few thrown together images posing as an infographic will attract the kind of attention or traction needed for it to go viral. Creating a powerful infographic takes time and that means investing in the right SEO company to do the necessary work. However, once the ball starts rolling and the right people share your infographic, you have a powerful tool that will bolster your SEO tactics and boost SERP rankings.
Written by Delia Woker
Countless websites were affected by the first Panda update almost two years ago. Many site owners, SEOs and webmasters failed to take Panda seriously, and as a result suffered massive loss in income and traffic. In fact some sites have still not been able to regain their previous hard-won positions.
The purpose of Google Panda is to tackle spam and promote high quality content and it has had an enormous impact on the SEO industry, but the impact of Panda goes beyond just rankings and traffic. Smart SEOs and SEO companies took active corrective steps to Panda-proof their websites and these strategies are vital to sustainable keyword rankings and traffic.
It’s more than likely that as Google updates its relevancy algorithm that search engine optimisation marketing will also adapt, meaning if you have not yet Panda-proofed your site, you need to take action now.
- Beware the evils of duplicate content
Duplicate content issues may not seem like a priority problem but the Panda algorithm has changed how it is treated and sites with high degrees of duplicate content have suffered severely. Purging sites of duplicate content is critical to Panda-proofing a website.
- Eradicate low quality, low value content
The objective of Panda is to help users find high-quality sites. The algorithm weeds out low value content which should be a critical concern for site owners and SEO companies. Another type of low quality content is pagination. Done correctly pagination is effective in distributing link equity throughout the site but done incorrectly it can dilute the site’s crawl budget amongst other things.
- Say no to skinny content
The adage ‘Content is King’ has never been more true in a Post-Panda world. And sites that lacks original content or content that is overly spammy will fast come under the fall of Panda’s axe. All in all taking the time to bolster page content is a good strategy.
Panda is here it stay. There are no two ways about it and those that take corrective action and align their sites to Google’s recommendations will succeed in the long run. To ignore Panda and continue to practice the same low value tactics that worked a few years ago will not work and will in fact do more harm than good.
Written by Delia Woker
Around this time of the month webmasters and SEO companies alike hold their breath in anticipation of the next Panda algorithm update. And this week has been no different with many believing that Panda #25 has indeed already been rolled out.
However, Google has kept mum on the topic and they are also unlikely to either confirm or deny whether the latest algorithm change has been implemented as in the future Panda will be incorporated into their indexing processes.
It would come as no surprise if Panda #25 has in fact already been rolled out. Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts did say that an update would be rolled out from Friday all through the weekend. Having said this, it is likely that these updates will be less noticeable as they are going to be more integrated into Google’s overall continuous algorithm updates.
SEOs, SEO companies and webmasters have begun tracking the recent monthly Panda updates as a matter of course, but the integration implies that future updates will be more real-time as opposed to manually rolled out. It also means that instead of expecting large scale changes on a particular day, there will be more gradual changes seen as the index is rebuilt.
As a business owner, you know your website presents a digital showcase of your products and how potential customers or clients can contact you. Statistics have proved that the majority of people research a product or service online before they make a purchase and with these numbers rising annually, you simply cannot afford not to be noticed in the search engine results pages (SERP).
Naturally the higher you rank on the SERP listings the better, and most people will click on the results on the first page and simply ignore the others. This said and done, how do you improve your organic search listing?
How will SEO help your site attract more organic traffic?
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving the ranking of a website in the SERP for a specific targeted keyword or phrase. Given that most people searching for that keyword are already looking for that product or service, SEO is a vital component of any successful website.
Unlike paid search which runs out as soon as your PPC campaign funds are exhausted, organic SEO takes research, time and work. This is especially true if you are targeting a highly competitive keyword.
Search engine optimisation is not a quick fix solution and SEO companies who abuse best practice recommendations set down by search engines like Google and Yahoo result in the website being penalised and the rankings drop or worse. Ultimately the investment you make in SEO will help you rank higher and attract more organic traffic.
It is hard to believe it has already been two years since Google launched its Panda update, the impact of which many SEO companies are still feeling the effects of.
The first Panda algorithm update was launched in February 2011 and targeted low-quality sites with thin or very little content. Google Panda caused massive loss in traffic and revenue and sites with low-quality content suffered the most. This sparked many SEO companies to rethink their business goals as well as their way of doing business. For search engine marketing companies to continue to be economically viable, they would need to adapt.
Two years later, many have tried to follow Google’s unofficial guidelines but for the few that have been successful even more have failed. While sites did go through a massive quality clean-up in an attempt to get back in Google’s good graces (and even began expanding into other digital channels like social media), smart content providers found ways to diversify web traffic without having to rely heavily on Google.
Monthly Panda updates are becoming expected and SEO companies are learning that in order to provide their clients the best service there are no hard and fast ways of approaching search engine optimisation and that a one-size-fit-all strategy is not the way to go to achieve lasting success.
With the Panda update hot on our heels this would be a good time to reassess your SEO efforts. Over the past few years SEO strategies have been forced to make dramatic changes and move more towards optimising websites for people rather than robotic search engines. Today the huge effect that referral links have on pushing up website rankings have turned social media into the driving force for spreading links which gives ‘the people’ more power.
Monitoring the trends, it has become apparent that sticking to old SEO methods is more detrimental to a website’s rankings than beneficial. If you haven’t already made the changes, it’s time to clean up your SEO strategy.
Here are five old school SEO tactics that are no longer effective in the age of Penguin and Panda:
- Keyword stuffed content and domain names
Stuffing your content and domain names with targeted keywords may have worked before but the Panda update has changed the game and now using this tactic will simply damage your SEO efforts.
- Content cloaking
Cloaking is one of the oldest Blackhat SEO tricks which involves hiding keyword stuffed content intended for search engines, from the sight of visitors. Using this tactic is an invitation for Google to drop your rankings.
- Article directory submission
This is a time consuming strategy aimed at building link power and traffic to the website. Today the effort is really not worth it since Google devalued a majority of article directories and the directories that still carry a lot of power utilise “nofollow” links.
- Buying backlinks
Backlink buying was knocked out by the Penguin update. Besides the fact that most bought links are unrelated or have low page ranks, Google also monitors the rate at which links are accumulated. Ultimately Google penalises websites suspected of unnatural link building.
- Article spinning
Article spinning was developed to avoid getting penalized for duplicate content. Today the technique no longer applies and Google is able to detect the slight changes made to original articles.
Looking at how SEO has changed over a short period of time it’s fair to conclude that change is a constant in this industry. That said one thing will remain true; no matter what changes Google makes to its algorithm it will always be to the benefit of ‘the people’.
The previous Google Panda update happened little less than a month ago and as we reach the 30 day mark, the blogosphere is ablaze with speculation as to when the next Google Panda update will be rolled out. There has been much chatter surrounding the increase in GoogleBot crawl activity and ranking fluctuations on WebmasterWorld. This increase in Google crawl activity and SERP changes seems to be an emerging trend observed over the last few months before a data refresh.
Similar activity was seen before the Panda #24 update and it is being speculated that the next Panda update is imminent and will soon hit. Panda #24 affected 1,2% of English based queries and was pushed out at the end of January 2013. The confirmed Panda #23 impacted 1,3% of English queries and was rolled out on 21 December last year. Prior to that, the last Panda updat
e affected 0,8% of English search queries and was rolled out on 21 November. This seems to imply that Google is updating on a fairly regular basis every four weeks or so, and it is beginning to look like we can expect a Google update like clockwork every month which means the next one is imminent.
Whether (or not) the 25th installment of the Google Panda update is upon us, only Google can positively confirm. What it does however mean for SEO companies is that vigilant monitoring of their clients sites is needed. It also implies that by the very nature of search engine optimisation, SEO companies need to be quick on the ball and able to adapt to the constantly changing marketing environment.