Google recently reworked its search algorithm to provide users with more relevant search results. While changes to its algorithm typically go unnoticed by many, Google’s latest change — which targeted as much as 12% of results — has garnered much attention and anger from site operators. The reason? Many websites have seen their traffic drop drastically. Make sure yours isn’t one of them.
What’s been changed?
Google’s latest tweak targeted low-quality content, specifically content farms. Content farms are sites that compile a large amount of content aimed toward manipulating search results as opposed to providing worthwhile information. Many content farms rehash articles and overload their stories with the same keyword phrases over and over again without regard for quality. So in an effort to combat these inferior sites and boost the recognition of high-quality sites, Google finally flipped a switch.
How to overcome the algorithm changes
The algorithm changes are forcing Internet marketers to adapt. And while conforming to the new standards obviously takes up time and effort, the tweaks will ultimately not only improve your Google ranking but also the user’s overall experience. Here’s what you can do to give your site more authority:
1. Produce high-quality content. This is pretty obvious. If Google is cracking down on low-quality content, you should be producing high-quality content — no ifs, ands or buts. Some tips to make your content shine:
○ Create unique stories. Stop spinning articles and using the same language over and over again — content farms are notorious for using the same passages verbatim across a large number of articles. Make sure your stuff is one-of-a-kind and you’ll avoid getting penalized.
○ Publish regularly. The more high-quality pages you have, the more food the search engine spiders have to feed on. Also, pumping out a steady stream of posts keeps your readers coming back for more — it’s a big traffic boost.
○ Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Ask yourself, “Would I share this page with my friends?” If your answer is no, then there’s room for improvement. Is your blog not comprehensive enough? Are there a lot of grammatical errors? Identify what’s keeping you from answering yes, then tackle those issues head-on.
2. Build Links. Now that Google’s change has boosted the reputation of some sites and diminished that of others, it’s time to go back and do some new research regarding which sites can provide you with the best link juice. To start building reputable links, try the following:
○ Exchange links. Contact bloggers with similar interests and see if they’re willing to trade links. The advantage of this method is that you have the ability to target as many — and whichever — blogs you want.
○ Write guest posts. Many sites are looking for contributors. When you write unique content for their sites, you can add links back to your site. Need help finding the right blogs? Try using www.myblogguest.com for leads.
○ Promote your site. Get the word out on your social media networks. Submit your article to social bookmarking sites. Post your link on forums and other blogs when contributing to the conversation — don’t spam them. The more people know about your blog, the bigger ripple effect you’ll see.
○ Add deep links. Don’t just get links to your home page. Boost the rankings of your inner pages by linking to them, too.
3. Don’t ignore the user experience. Quality content is crucial — there’s no arguing that. With all this focus on content, however, it’s easy to overlook the other aspects of your website. The total user experience ultimately factors into whether Google views your site as an authority. Make sure it does with these suggestions:
○ Less ads, more content. If the ads on your site outnumber content, then you’re in trouble. The more ads you have in your site, the likelier Google will penalize you. If you must have a lot of ads, try to make them as unobtrusive as possible.
○ Fix your site navigation. Is your site easy to navigate? Does it look professional? Aesthetics is just as important as content. For Google to consider you a great site, you have to look the part.
○ Avoid using “black hat” SEO techniques. In one night, sites that thought they could cheat the system with shady tactics saw their traffic plummet. Just continue to produce unique content, build links and ultimately improve user experience, and you should survive this change and future ones as well. After all, who doesn’t want a high-quality site?