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    Google  Panda and Penguin pounder Google Panda and Penguin pounder Document Transcript

    • Google has been cruel this new year 2012 (as usual). A lot of websites suffered ranking dropthis Year. SEO consultants & companies have been quite busy solving the new algorithmpuzzles set forth by Google. You will find a lot of discussions on net on all what‘s happeningand how to cope with the changes Google is making this year – and a lot that we areanticipating soon after Google announces change in how it indexes sites and how searches aregoing to be affected going forward. Running an SEO company has become more pain thanfun as it used to be in the past. Here is some quick feedback, evaluation of the situation andmy suggestions on what happened this Feb and how to get along with these changes to my allSEO colleagues, webmasters and e-marketing executives.
    • On the brighter side, things have changed towards betterment if you are fond of ethical linkbuilding and give proper consideration to your on-page stuff prior to starting an aggressivelink building campaign. Last year Google Panda was active finding low quality or duplicatecontent and this year Panda is cracking on low-quality, unnatural links. As a matter of fact,nothing changed as regards to an SEO strategy; it‘s only that usual ways of doing SEO willnot work anymore. I say ―think human, think Google‖ I stress the need of this in order ofDeveloping a site‘s popularity as naturally as possible keeping in mind the human users ofyour site and NOT the search engines. I believe that stays the best strategy for this year aswell.Basic Steps And OverviewWith all Google updates (Panda, Web spam, Penguin), algorithm roll outs and changes,search results are not the same and so is ranking. SEO has changed altogether in the lastcouple of months. Google has been quality conscious since its start, and that explains why itgrabbed over 70% of the market share shortly after its launch, however recent changes are farmore than ―quality user experience‖ as Google claims. There must be some political,financial or socioeconomic factors that a simple user might not imagine, but technicallyspeaking, the most recent Penguin changes harmed more that it fixed the ―so called‖ qualityof search as it has been evident after many comparisons you can find on differentblogs/forums. I have also did extensive comparisons and research for my clients in differentniche, ran several reports to see the authority or the quality of current ranking sites and mostof the results I found were of poor quality.Having said that, this post is not explaining the recent Google changes or the Penguin update,but here I will discuss more in general the future of SEO and how the future SEO is going tobe done and whether or not SEO still exists?SEO is Dead vs SEO is not Dead!You will read this in many posts/forums that SEO is dead. From my personal view point,SEO is dead for those who were mainly relying on standard SEO process that includes,keyword rich content and URL, related METAs, keyword stuffing and placement, and thenbuilding link to appropriate anchor text for each URL on high PR blogs, or paid sites to raiseranking. This is not going to work anymore, and SEO is really dead for such a process.SEO is not dead, if you still believe in quality sites, better user experience and natural flow toyour websites in its content, URL structure, METAs and how you link to your site. StartingApril 25, with the recent Penguin update, Google is primarily looking at site authority andpage authority and accordingly benefit in SERP. Going forward, it won‘t make much sense tooptimize a single keywords or keywords for that matter. Going forward, it will matter howstrong your page is that you are trying to rank for a given set of keywords.Future of SEO:
    • Even though Matt Cutts says we would encourage only white hat SEO or even no SEO, Iwonder how those million dollar sites will rank at first place? How are those sites going to sitand hold on ranking solely on the mercy of Google to get there expenses met? So the point isthat the white hat SEO has to exist, but it has to be done more discreetly, naturally and slowlywithout focusing on keywords and much longer wait time for a page to increase in ranking,having a little control over SEO SERP.No doubt, SEO has to stay, but not in the same form it used to be in the past several years.Now the job of an SEO consultant or company has become more tactful than ever. Job ofSEO is now to improve your site authority based on how unique and interesting content ithas, how little emphasis has been done on pinpointing keywords for search engines, howstrong social signals it gets, and which authority sites are linking to it using the site URL, andnot the anchor text. These linking sites, must be of the same niche and must have an apparentnatural interest in linking back to your site (genuine press release with a link back to yournew product page www.example.com/product-y is a good example)If you are an SEO company or your sites are mainly depending on organic traffic and youneed your site to be in good books of Google, here is a list of future SEO steps that you needto take to make sure, nothing shakes your site even with another one hundred Google rollouts during the course of coming years. 1. Start with a fresh new domain or site name if you can, to make sure that you know you are doing it right from the start. 2. If you are engaged (or married) to your old site, then remove all the old links you had on it (as much as you can), make it off-line, change DNS, IP/hosting, a new design, URL structure with fresh content based on above recommendations or Google quality guidelines and make a fresh start. 3. Make a structure of the site that is logical, and as you would want this structure to be like for your visitors/users if search engines didn‘t exist. Use WordPress example, make categories, subcategories to put your products/service under proper URL. Make your homepage targeting general services you provide in your niche. 4. Create a blog and write thoughtful, researched articles on it at least twice a week. Link these articles to your social media and tweet them so you get social signals to your valuable content, that‘s one important thing to raise your immunity against web- spam curse. 5. Each page (or URL) on your site must be very specific to one of the products or services or a category. If you are selling used phones, then make a category for each brand and then subcategory for each version/model of it. The MOST important thing here to remember is that don‘t mix several keywords in different URLs or you will never rank in this new changing Google search algo. This is what Google calls poor quality or repeated content. 6. Have a strong presence in social networks and engage users to get back to your site through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. Write valuable articles in your blog and post excerpts on your social network and link to URL on your site for ―read more‖, this is a good way of increasing your site and content authority and let people spend more time on your site. 7. Do a monthly genuine press release about anything that you have started or accomplished in your business and get a legitimate link back to your site (using URL not the anchor text)
    • 8. Submit your site do different niche directories using URL, the directories that have visitors and not the SEO optimized directories just to get a link back. Find local business directories to spread word about your services.9. Don‘t worry about PR of the page you get link to, do worry about the relativity of the site that links to you. High PR still has effect on your site authority but the old myth of having lot of high PR links getting you higher in SERP doesn‘t work anymore. Two top ranking sites in financial industry in Google UK have only 2 backlinks and zero PR.10. Do research, a lot of research, to find sites that relate to your niche and request a link back using a guest blog or partnership. Make majority of your links using your URL (home or subpages) and not the anchor texts. I would suggest 70% at least. Google will determine the keywords through your content and META to promote them once your page gets authority, that‘s why it makes sense to keep each page very specific to a single keyword or a group of similar keywords.11. Create some genuine profile links, genuine means that fill in all the data in the profile link, and update it weekly with any fresh news from your site and link these profiles to your site and social media, make it more social by linking to other similar profiles.12. Don‘t over optimize your content, or METAs. 3-5% of keyword density rule doesn‘t work anymore. See how naturally you can keep your keywords as you write. Try not to write a lot of content on your homepage rather make it to the point as an introduction to your services and site, give details in subpages.13. Try putting any industry seals, certificates, badges, buttons etc. that can produce authority to your site. Creating an SSL certificate to make it a trustworthy site is a great idea as well. Get memberships in your industry and mention it on your homepage.14. Avoid any sort of paid links, link schemes, or links to any sites that are not quality sites based on new Google algorithm, means they are not providing user experience, rather they are there to give links back to one who wants them, this includes blog networks etc. etc.15. Check for Alexa ranking of the sites you link to, to make sure they have reasonable visits and just not high PR websites to get a backlink.16. Don‘t link to any site that you are not 100% sure even if you are offered a free link and even if it‘s a high PR site.17. Make announcements on your homepage every now and then for any updates in your business, just don‘t leave it as a static page.18. Participate in active forums and blogs (commenting) for a long-term strategy. Become authority members or old members in those forums/blogs and give your genuine, authentic opinion of the post, having a link to your URL after getting a good place in such forums will help your site greatly. Try posting at least 10 authority comments in each forum or blog to start with to get confidence of the forum owner.19. Research for blogs in your niche and offer them high quality researched content as guest blog, even against a fee. That should be considered contextual link and should give your site good authority.20. Monitor your ranking regularly and see the behaviour of Google or other search engines and tweak your strategy based on that regularly.21. Don‘t worry about number of links, just the quality, relevancy and frequency. Increase backlinks frequency gradually and maintain it month after month so it doesn‘t sound unnatural to Google. Having 100 links in May and zero links in June can raise ―doubts‖ in search engines.
    • 22. Protect your site from outside attacks, hacks and unauthorized access and links. Keep a track of all your links and monitor for any unnatural links that you didn‘t create to make sure no one is using negative SEO as a tool to tank your site. There are plenty of tools that can give you timely reporting on who is linking to you. On-Page SEO: On-page is your winning horse this year, more than ever. Have a thorough review of your site again, check for duplicate content through Copyscape or copying pasting in Google with quotation mark. If you find someone already scrapped your content, go ahead and make necessary changes to keep the theme with different wording. This is lot easier than going after website for removal of your original content in my opinion.With the latest Penguin update the SEO that needs to be done has changed a little and somethings are more important then other. Before the Penguin update it was more easy to rankhigh only with the help of anchor text and with the help of some blog networks, after theupdate the things are not the same and some facts has changed in the SEO optimizationworld.In this article I would like to put some of the things that need to be done after this GooglePenguin update in order to also to do good SEO and rank high in SERP.On Page SEO OptimizationFrom the things that I have noticed On Page SEO hasn‘t change to much after Penguinupdate, although you have to be very careful now with the content and the the things that youdo on your site because now Google is changing the ranking algorithm from anchor textrelevance to content relevance. Below is a list with the best practices that you can do in orderto be well with the Penguin:Title and DescriptionThe title and description has to refer the content that is on your page or site, also it has to bewritten for the people and not search engines. Don‘t try to stuff a lot of keywords in your titleand description as it was done before and just let your writhing flow and be as much relevantas it can to the content.Duplicate ContentAs of always the problem of duplicate content hasn‘t changed, if you want your site to beoptimized for SEO in the best way you need to be careful with this aspect.Optimized ContentThe content needs to be optimized for SEO as best as possible because as I have tolled youGoogle will use the content to rank your site or page. You have to be careful to not do
    • keyword stuffing and the content to be original. The content has to be written for people butalso needs to be structure as best as possible for SEO,Intelligent Site Structure for better SEOYou have to have a well structured site not only for SEO but also for the best user experience.Below is an example with an imagePowerful Internal Linking StructureThe internal link structure is still very important for SEO and for your visitors, Google willnot categorize this as over optimization if you are doing right. Here is a little moreinformation about how your internal link structure should beThe following are best 10 practices for linking the pages of your site together:
    • 1. Use text-based links if possible and use the proper link structure.2. Use keywords in your link text for every link.Part of the ranking algorithm includes checking the text of a link against text on the linked-topage. Use your keywords in link text.Don‘t use ―Click here‖ or ―Home‖ as the text of a link, as these are not relevant.3. Link from your home (or sitemap) page to every other page on your site.If your Web site is relatively small (less than 10 pages or so), your home page can effectivelyfunction as your sitemap page. If you have a larger site, this becomes unwieldy and you thenneed a separate sitemap page. Add some content to your sitemap page – it should not consistof just links.A sitemap page functions as an ―index‖ to your site and is invaluable for the followingreasons:• Helps Google find and crawl other pages on your site quickly• Helps your customers find what they need quickly• Helps distribute your site‘s PageRank to other important pagesTip: Because your home page likely has the highest PageRank in your site, youshould NOTput any outgoing links on this page. Ideally, the only page you should have outgoing links onis your Related Links page. This will minimize the small amount of PageRank ―leakage‖from that page. This concept will be discussed later.4. Link from every “non-relevant” page back to your home page ONLY.Non-relevant pages are defined here as those pages that are not keyword-rich and do notlikely contain the information that a visitor to your site is looking for while searching onGoogle. You do not want these pages to receive as much PageRank as your more importantpages. Examples of non-relevant pages that should ONLY link back to the Home pageinclude the following:• ―Copyright‖ page• ―Privacy Policy‖ Page• ―Disclaimers‖ Page• ―About Us‖ page
    • • ―Contact Us‖ page• Order form, shopping cart pages• ―Link to Us‖ page• ―Testimonials‖ pageThis helps return and concentrate PageRank back to your Home page. Remember, you wantto maximize PageRank for your most important pages.5. Link from your “Related Links” page to every other page on your site.This page contains outgoing links that point to other websites and will ―leak‖ PageRank fromthis page (but not from any other pages). Since PageRank ―voting power‖ is shared evenlyamong all links on a page, having many links that point back to your own page will minimizethis effect.As a rule of thumb, try to keep all links going to other sites on a single page – your ―RelatedLinks‖ page. (If you have more than 100 links on a page, consider splitting them up intomultiple pages).6. Link ONLY between pages that are related by keyword.This helps distribute PageRank among pages that are related by keyword phrase. These pagesare likely important to your customers, which means you should concentrate PageRank onthese. These pages should also contain a link back to the Home page.7. Ensure every page links to at least one other page.This will help Google crawl your site faster and help your customers navigate through yoursite better. Pages with a link to them but without a link on them are called orphan pages.8. Use Absolute URLs to Link to Your Home PageWhen linking back to your home page from other pages on your site, always use the absoluteURL instead of a relative URL or file path. For example, always use:http://www.yourdomain.com (note the www)instead of:index.html (or whatever the file name of your Home page is)orhttp://www.yourdomain.com/index.html
    • to link back to your Home page. I would also use absolute URLs for any subdomain,subdirectory and other main ―category‖ pages you might have on your site. Google has hadproblems assigning an accurate PageRank value to a page if it uses inconsistent or differinglink URL forms to it.9. Use “Bread Crumb” Link NavigationEffective link navigation between your pages can provide keyword-rich internal links andassist your visitors in determining exactly where they are on your site. A populartechniquecalled ―bread crumbs‖ can be used for this. For example, if this book were in HTML formaton the Web, I could insert a series of links at the top of each page.For this particular page, the bread crumb links would be:Optimizing Your Website > Linking Your Pages Correctly >Best Practices For InternalLinkingNote how this can increase both content and provide keyword-rich links.10. Use the “NOFOLLOW” Attribute LinkThe rel=‖NOFOLLOW‖ attribute in a link has been used on blog and forum sites to block theGoogle spider from following a link to its target page, and hence blocking the passing ofPageRank. This is in an effort to reduce link spamming.You can use the NOFOLLOW attribute to your advantage on your site to channel PageRankto your most important pages. Here‘s the syntax:<A HREF=”yourpageURL” rel=”NOFOLLOW”>Frequent UpdatesUpdate your site as often as you can in order to get a boost in SERP. Google itself announcedthat likes more the sites that have the content updated more often.This is the best tips that I know that can help your On Page SEO optimization.Of Page SEO OptimizationThis is what changes the most with this Google Panda update, now Google takes amore closer look on the links that you are pointing to your site. This is the over optimizationpenalty that Matt Cutts is talking about, below are some key aspect that you need to take intoconsideration when you are doing link building:Anchor Text Variation
    • Before the Panda update the majority of the anchor text that was used when building linkswas the keyword that needs to rank. With this update Google targeted this kind of sites, nowyou have to diversify more on the anchor text for the keywords that you are trying to rank.Use something like this ( no one tested id but they are saying it): keyword 20%, direct link30% and the rest with keywords like: here, this site, etc.Diversification of the LinksTry to build links from more sources and that looks more natural, my advice is to notuse spam software‘s or premium blog networks because they are dead. Try to build links withcomments, bookmarking, social media, forum posts, press releases, wikis, web 2.0 or guestposts.Link RelevancyThis is something that all SEO Experts are saying but from my point of view this only addsan extra to the link. Of course is better to link to the relevant sites but sometimes is not thateasy. Anyway try to build as much relevant links as you can and if you can‘t don‘t give a lotof thoughts to this Keyword Stuffing: The old methodology of 3-5% of your main keywords stuffing will not work. You need to concentrate on writing for users and wherever your keywords come naturally put them as you go. Believe me, even if your keyword density goes down to 1% but it‘s natural, it‘s going to be much more effective than a 5% density that ―looks‖ written for search engines.Keyword stuffing, or the practice of shoving as many keywords onto a page as physicalpossible, has long been the bane of SEO white hats everywhere.There was a time when the method of stuffing worked as well on a webpage as it does in aturkey. Back in the early years of search engines, one could easily manipulate a page‘sranking on Google‘s SERP with keyword stuffing.Sites could rank on a large variety of keywords by simply cluttering them onto a page, even ifthe keywords were unrelated and the site was absent of any real content.You could be (somewhat) classy about it by hiding the offending keywords, matching theirtext colour to the background colour, or you could just be blatantly obnoxious.Naturally this led to a terrible user experience, because most people aren‘t looking to find asite that just reads ―discount bike tires‖ repeated 500 times. Google and other search engineswised up and began filtering out offending keyword-stuffed pages, because these pages werelargely devoid of useful content.
    • The Dangers of Keyword Stuffing and Over-OptimizingKeyword stuffing is now considered a strictly black-hat tactic.Does keyword stuffing work? It depends on who you ask. It does tend to have some positiveshort-term effects, but it‘s playing with fire and rarely is beneficial in the long run. Googlewill penalize your site if they catch you stuffing the keyword turkey. Your page could bedemoted in rankings, or even removed all together!Google‘s own matt cuts warned webmasters about SEO keyword stuffing and overoptimization at SXSW last week, saying: "We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and a great site. We are trying to make Google Bot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now."In other words, Google keyword stuffing is a dangerous game, and isn‘t likely to get moresafe anytime soon.Google dislikes black hat tactics like SEO keyword stuffing because those methods focus onbeating the search engine algorithm rather than a great user experience.Look at the keyword stuffing example below: Are you looking tomakemoneyonline? If you’re looking for makemoneyonline, look no further. Our makemoneyonlinewebsite is the best place to order your new makemoneyonline. Feel free to check out our selection of makemoneyonlinefrom our makemoneyonlineselection below.Pretty unattractive, right? That‘s not even the worst keyword stuffing out there.The silly thing is, even if you somehow end up on the first page for ―cheap running shoes,‖no searcher who clicks on to your site will want to stay there. It naturally repels people, likedog poop left out in the sun. No one is going to see that mess and think ―Wow, these peoplereally care about me and my need for cheap running shoes.‖ Instead they will feel disgusted,used, and itching to get out of there.Keyword Stuffing vs. Responsible Keyword OptimizationIt‘s essential to differentiate keyword stuffing from general keyword usage. It‘s still reallyimportant to use your keyword in your content, so don‘t let all this Google will eat yourbrains and destroy your home if you do keyword stuffing talk frighten you away fromresponsible keyword insertion.Like so many things in life, keywords need to be used in moderation. Some other things thatrely heavily on moderation:
    • Cookie dough: A little bit is like an everlasting gobstopper, too much makes you feel sick. (And could even kill you. Salmonella poisoning anyone?) Sunshine: Vitamin D or 3rd degree burn victim? You decide.Simply focus less on the robot-crawling-spider-bots and focus more on people. You know,the ones who will actually be looking at your site. Create information-rich content that useskeywords appropriately and in the proper, well-to-do fashion. Would Downtown Abbey‘sDowager Countess keyword stuff? Not likely. Its simply not done in proper society.How to Insert Keywords Safely: Walking the Fine LineSo how do you use keyword responsibly?Some say there is no magic number. Others say there is a magic number: 2-5% keyworddensity is considered safe by most.Instead of using the same keyword a hundred and one times, try using some long-tailkeyword variations to spice things up a bit in your content. Seobook has a handy SEOtoolbar that can help you generate long-tail variations and keep track of how many keywordsyou‘ve inserted to hit that keyword density sweet spot.Another tip is to try implementing synonyms (various words with the same meaning).Search engines recognize that words like ―bat‖ are homonyms; they are words that havemultiple meanings. Google prides itself on relevancy, so they want to be able to differentiatesomeone searching for a baseball ―bat‖ vs. a flying vampire ―bat.‖ For this reason, theres adatabase index of Google synonyms to help it differentiate between word meanings. Googleknows that if a site is talking about ―clubs‖ and ―bats,‖ they are probably talking about sportsequipment and not flying mammals.Because synonyms help Google stay relevant, they tend to reward sites that implement them.Having a variety of related words also means that your site is more likely to have craftedcontent of real value rather than meaningless drivel meant to trick search engines, whichgives Google another reason to add weight to synonyms. METAS: Make sure your META title and description are well written, and while reading it makes a complete sentence or proper sense instead of a keyword stuffed sentence.It might have happened when Google rolled out the penguin update on April 24th. However,I am pretty sure that I noticed the shift in the way that Google deals with meta tags a whilebefore that. Still, Google‘s crackdown on over optimization and web spam has caused most
    • SEO‘s (myself included) to look at almost every area of our strategy. Along those lines, Irecently dug into the way that our site was writing our title and description meta tags. Ilooked at sites that were ranking above and below us and at the way that those sites werewriting their tags and at the way that their search engine results were being displayed. Hereare some of the things that I discovered… Branding vs. Non Branding: It is no secret that with both Penguin and Panda that Google has been shifting emphasis to large trusted brands. One of the first things that jumped out to me in my research was that sites like Office Depot, Amazon, Staples and Office Max had taken over spots in the SERP‘s that previously belonged to either myself or my competitors. That being said I noticed that their title tags were simple, to the point and almost always contained their brand. In the past I had always heard the advice that you should leave the brand out of your title tags since it is so easy for you to rank for your own name. However, with Google‘s recent emphasis on brand strength and crackdown on over optimization I have been working on starting to include my brand in our title tags again. Shorter and Simpler: Another observation that I made when looking at the title tags of the sites that were ranking the best was that shorter and simpler titles seemed to be outranking longer more keyword stuffed versions. Not to mention that the shorter versions in most cases provided a more clear description of what the page was about than the longer versions that had multiple keywords separated with hyphens, dashes or pipes. Singular vs. Plural: In the past I would often try to fit both the singular and the plural version of a keyword into the title of the page. This often involved using dashes, hyphens and some creativity to make both words fit without seeming completely awkward. However, when digging into the SERP‘s for most of the my major keywords I discovered that with Google it no longer really mattered whether you had the singular or plural version of the keyword in the title tag. Instead if the page was relevant and the brand was strong the singular or plural version would still rank. Meta Keywords (goodbye): Although I have known for a long time that Google or Bing doesn‘t use meta keywords as a ranking factor. The Penguin update finally caused me to go and remove all the keyword tags from the pages on my site. Why? With an emphasis on over optimization and keyword stuffing, the possibility that keyword tags can hurt you actually increased. Something this simple isn‘t worth taking the risk on. Meta Description Length: Looking back at the length of the Meta descriptions that I was writing for our site, I realize that I had really overdone things on some of my pages. In some cases, the meta description was more like a paragraph. One of the things that I noticed was that in these cases Google was just ignoring my Meta description anyway and finding something more relevant from the page to include in the search result. The result was that I decided to write shorter 2-3 sentence max meta descriptions with a stronger call to action.After noticing all of these things I started on the process of re-writing the title and descriptiontags for all of my category and subcategory pages on my site (a good place to start). Withindays I started to see a slight uptick in my search engine traffic from Google. More than likelythis was caused by an increase click through rate on the organic search results that I alreadyhad. That brings me to my last point. Don‘t forget that you aren‘t just optimization your
    • title‘s and descriptions for rankings, you are also trying to optimize for clicks (whichultimately help your rankings). Keywords Per Page: Try ranking each page for not more than 3 keywords and ideally only one keyword and its derivatives for each landing page. Google is cracking more on homepage than inner pages, reason being most of the link building and SEO effort is being done on homepages, so to avoid coming under Google radar, try most of your SEO effort on inner pages and only your branding effort and a couple of top keywords for your homepage, it will save you a lot even if you get in trouble with Google for homepage, you will still be generating good traffic if you are ranking 80% of your keywords on other landing pages.
    • Anchor Text Variation: Google is penalizing sites which are getting backlinks using identical anchor text. It looks quite unnatural that 100 of sites linking to you are linking through the same anchor text, doesn‘t it? So, make anchor text variations properly. If you are following my advice in #4 and using minimum keywords on each page, variation will be much easier without affecting your link juice. If you are targeting a lot of similar keywords on different pages, anchor variation will actually spoil your each page strength and you will start seeing Google giving results to the URL different than what you were doing SEO to. Never exceed your anchor text links more than 40% of the whole linking profile. Use your URL as your anchor text, Greek anchors like click here, this site etc.More Info:In light of this new update, there has been a lot of buzz about anchor text and how it canpositively or negatively affect your SEO campaign depending on how it is utilized. If yourenot aware of how to properly use anchor text in your link building efforts, you could beunknowingly setting yourself up for a Google penalty.Heres a quick guide to help you understand what anchor text is, why it is important for SEO,how it has been overused, and how you should be using it in your link building campaign inorder to future Google penalties.What is Anchor Text, Anyway?Whether you know it by its specific term or not, you interact with anchor text every time youuse the internet. Anchor text is the text in a hyperlink that is visible and can be clicked on.Anchor text us usually underlined and appear in a different colour than the rest of the bodytext. For example, youve probably seen anchor text that is as simple as "click here to visit oursite", or something a little more descriptive like "Click here to find more information aboutour web design services." In HTML, anchor text appears like: <ahref="http://www.yoursite.com">anchor text goes here</a>.
    • Why is it Important for SEO?The Google algorithm is made up of hundreds of different factors that determine how well asite ranks in the search engine results pages. With hundreds of factors, some obviously carrymore weight than others, but one of the most important factors is link relevancy. Thealgorithm looks at both where inbound links to a site come from as well as the content oftheir anchor text to determine how relevant they are to the site.Over time, this factor has become an important in the search algorithms because it is usesnormal human behaviour to determine link relevancy. For example, when people naturallybuild links to a particular site through content on their own site or blog, they typically usedescriptive and/or relevant content in the anchor text of the link.Lets say that I wanted to tell my friends about awesome local pizza joint that I justdiscovered through my personal blog. Instead of just writing, "Check this place out!," I wouldprobably say something like, "Check out this local pizza joint I just discovered!" Throughthat link, Googles algorithm can determine that your site is associated to those keywords. Infact, even if a site doesnt have great on-site optimization, they can rank for specific searchterms if there are enough high quality links pointing to the site using similar keywords. Butthat fact brings us to the next point:How is Anchor Text Abused?Since link relevancy has become an important ranking factor, people have started to over-usethis method to try and increase their search engine rankings. They will often build hundreds,or even thousands of links with "exact match" anchor text, meaning the anchor text in all ofthose links matches the exact SEO keyword or keyword phrase that the site is trying to rankfor. The problem with this is that it doesnt mimic how links would naturally be built byregular people. If natural links were built by 100 different people, its highly unlikely thatthey would all use the same form of anchor text. Because Googles main goal is to rank sites"organically" according to how other internet users interact with their site, over-used exactmatch anchor text can often be viewed as spam.So How Should Anchor Text Be Used?The key to correctly using anchor text for a solid SEO campaign is to include a good mix ofanchor text variation as well as branded keywords. If youre not familiar with these terms,here are some quick definitions:Branded keywords: These are any search terms that are an exact match or variation of yourdomain or brand name. If your company name was Acme, branded keywords would be termslike Acme Inc., Acme.com, Acme LLC, www.Acme.com, etc.Anchor text variation: variation in anchor text means that the text is not always an exactmatch of the keyword phrase your site is trying to rank for. As mentioned previously, itshould mimic how someone would naturally use your keywords in link. For example, if oneof your sites targeted keywords was Your town web design, varied anchor text would include
    • phrases like "web design in Your town," Your town web design company," "web designservices in Your town," etc. Included in this mix would just be simple anchor text like, "clickhere," "website," "blog post," etc. 1. Linking Profile: Make your link profile as natural as you can. Mix follow with no-follow links, every now and then mix a Wiki link along with your anchor text link. Don‘t depend on one method of link building, diversify it. Use blogs, forums, PRs, link profiles (only natural, as normal link profiles are losing their effectiveness), web 2.0, tier II and III linking.How to create a natural looking back link profile after the Google Penguin update?Google has changed the game again in the SEO industry. The penguin update wasintended to fight web spammers who use shady techniques to rank websites.April was a big month in terms of algorithmic updates for Google. First, theyadjusted their algorithm again in early April, targeting sites with excessive on-page optimization (high keyword density, keyword stuffing, etc.). Just a few dayslater, a new algorithm tweak went live targeting offsite factors (backlinks, socialindicators, etc.) which meant a lot of sites were either de-index or penalized.This new tweak, code-named Penguin has generated a huge buzz among SEOs andbloggers because a lot of legit websites were affected. Even quality sites werepunished by Google Penguin update, and a lot of webmasters have complained aboutthe inconsistency of the latest algorithmic adjustment. If you were affected, and youfeel you shouldn’t have, Google has opened a web form where you can request amanual check of your website.Create a natural looking backlink profile Create quality content. If you start building links but your content can’t back up your strategy, you’re likely going blind in terms of SEO. Think of your websites as a long term business and deliver good and useful content for your visitors. If your content provides value, you’ll gain natural links from other sites and no algorithm can beat that. It takes time and effort, but it’s well worth. Use varied anchor text in your links. A natural link profile contains backlinks from other persons who think your content is share worthy. Many of those persons are not webmasters, so probably they don’t even know what an anchor text is. People tend to link other websites using the URL itself. Try to build links with anchors likemysite.com, www.mysite.com, MY SITE.com, visit my site. com, HTTP SITE.COM, etc. Use long-tails as anchor text. A natural looking links profile has variations of the main keyword. For instance, if your site is about dogs use more specific
    • anchors, for example: dog news, dog pics online, great dog training website, dog friendly blog. Remember: people will link to your site because of your content and that’s why you’ll have to use long-tails as anchor text. Not all links are text links. You can use an image as a link too, and any SEOs overlook this. If you want to increase the relevancy of your image links, use a keyword rich alt tag. For example: <a href="mysite.com" title="my keyword"><img src="mykeyword.gif" alt="my keyword" width="100" height="100" /> Mix do-follow and no-follow links. I’ve read countless times how people disregard link building opportunities just because those links are no-follow and thus (according to their theories), that link is not worth buying. PageRank is not all you need. Relevancy, authority and quality are things I look for and PageRank is not that important for me. I’d rather get a Wikipedia link, which is no-follow, and not a do-follow crap profile from an untrusted website.Be part of the winnersWe can go on trying to find patterns in natural looking backlink profiles but Google’salgorithm is too complex; instead, try to emulate what the winners are doing in yourniche. Use tools like Majestic SEO or ahrefs and analyse the anchor distribution ofthe top sites. Analyse how many links they are building, what anchors are they using,etc.I hope you can get some ideas from this post; build a natural backlinks profile, andremember this: nothing can beat the experience. If you really want to learn whatworks and what doesn’t, test and make your own conclusions. 1. Technical Analysis: Have someone take a look at your backend, codes and make sure nothing is violating Google guidelines. Wrong canonical tags were the reason of penalty for one of my client‘s site. Excessive codes, how text appears if Java is disabled etc. All this to make sure you don‘t get hit by a penalty when Google is getting tougher day by day.With Google constantly changing their algorithm to eliminate low quality content (PandaUpdate), sites with structures or metrics that don‘t support their large content or product sets(MayDay) or sites that try to manipulate the search results with link schemes or othermanipulative tactics (Penguin Update), it is vitally important to do website audits on aregular basis. These audits, much like getting a yearly check-up at your doctor (to combathealth issues), can eliminate or minimize the effect of the Google updates on a poorlyoptimized or site that is not in good health.We analyse close to 50 onsite and offsite variables when doing a website audit, grounded inthe TLCs of SEO (Technical, Links, Content, Social). To learn more about some of thequestions and data points we analyse please read our SEO Audit Process post.
    • This analysis will help identify technical (metrics distribution) problems with your websitesuch as duplicate title tags, duplicate content, or if your web pages are returning anincorrect HTTP status code. Below are some more of the data points we check from atechnical standpoint to ensure your site is healthy. 301 (Permanent) Redirect Analysis 302 (Temporary) Redirect Analysis 404 (Client Error) Errors 500 (Server Error) Errors Pages Where The Title is Missing or Empty Duplicate Page Content Analysis Duplicate Page Title Analysis Pages That have Long URLs (> 115 characters) Overly-Dynamic URL Analysis Meta Refresh Analysis Pages Where the Title Element is Too Short Pages Where the Title Element is Too Long (> 70 Characters) Pages Containing Too Many On-Page Links Missing Meta Description Tag Analysis Robots.txt Analysis Meta-robots Nofollow Analysis Meta-robots Analysis Canonical Tags Analysis Indexed URLs Analysis Total URLs Receiving Traffic Total Keywords Sending Traffic Social Media: Make social media the integral part of your SEO campaign, without it you are not going to be much trusted by Google. Create Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, YouTube profiles and link your site to them. Do regular activity on these social media sites to promote your site and link your pages to it. Increase your fans, likes and members to give signal to search engines how popular your site is.Penguins and Pandas have made life in the SEO world quite interesting! Just when you think,your SEO company is delivering results, Google throws in a spanner and you are back on theplanning table.The best way forward, therefore, is to formulate an SEO plan focused on a combination ofclassic White Hat SEO strategies, as well as pre-emptive techniques based on Google‘scurrent slew of updates.
    • Stop Chasing After Google’s AlgorithmIf you look at the recent updates, you will realize that Google has not really done anythingnew. It has simply put new measures in place to uphold the Webmaster guidelines. So, yourbest strategy would be to keep the same in mind and focus on creating content for your targetmarket and not search engines. As long as you meet the quality standards laid down byGoogle, you don‘t have to worry too much about Algorithm changes.Google+1 is The Way To GoAs per Google‘s recent updates, the signals are pretty clear—social media is going to play ahuge role in SEO and Google+ is going to emerge as a major player, at least as far as Googlesearch results are concerned.Like it or not, when it comes to online searching, Google is the daunting Gorilla in the room!So, you may disagree with Google‘s policies, but you have to pay attention to what it wants.With the search engine giving personalized search results to logged in users, G+1recommendations from people in your circles have a good chance of landing among the topsearch results (for relevant keywords).For instance, let‘s say you follow Matt Cutts on G+1 and you enter the keyword, ―SEOadvice‖, Google will show pages shared by Matt Cutts right at the top, if you are logged intoyour Google account.
    • The Power Of G+1However, when you run the same search after logging out, you will get a very different set ofresults. By the same logic, if you were to +1 one of these pages, your connections would seethat page served among the top search results, when they enter the same keyword!So, what does this mean for you as a business?You can influence SERPs for your community of vendors, advocates, customers, and otherswith a professional interest in your business. If your content gets +1s from people in yourcircles, chances are it will show up in relevant keyword search results for people in theircircles (if they are logged in to Google). So, you get SERP boosts instantly in certainnetworks relevant to your niche.Move your Blog to your domain:A lot of website owners host blogs on free platforms instead of their own domain. Thebiggest disadvantage of this is that your site does not get any Google credit for the freshcontent that you upload. In addition to that, you end up driving the traffic that comes fromsocial sharing to a separately hosted blog, instead of your business site.Integrate Social media and content marketingMake sure you share your content on Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, Digg and Delicious.These sites still enjoy a lot of clout. So, add extra weight to your article marketing andblogging efforts by sharing all your content on these sites. The more you share, the better arethe chances of you getting more tweets, stumbles, Diggs, etc. If your business belongs to theIT niche, Dzone can also prove to be excellent for creating the right social signals. Also,Google usually shows good speed in indexing pages marked to these sites.
    • One size doesn’t fit allYour social media strategy should be based on your business. What may work for a Projectmanagement company, may not work for someone in the business of fashion.As per Penguin and Panda, links from authority sites in ones niche are being accordedimportance. Going by that logic, it would be a prudent pre-emptive step to go niche in yoursocial media marketing efforts too. In addition to that the step is also likely to bring youbetter referral traffic. So, if you have a visually focused business, you may want to focusmore on a social sharing site like Pinterest.Finally, what you have to remember is that social media is an indicator of your site‘sreputation and quality. Don‘t fall into the trap of buying ‗likes‘ and ‗+1s‖ , at the end of theday your ROI depends on real social engagement. Focus on quality and making your contentsharable, the benefits will follow soon.Creating Backlinks
    • Web 2.0 Link Pyramid Tier techniquesHow to: Web 2.0 Link Building StrategyDo you know how to build an effective web 2.0 linking strategy?If you are currently using Squidoo to send traffic to your website or to simply build backlinks to yourwebsite then you have already started your Web 2.0 link building strategy...you are off to a goodstart! Squidoo is one of the best Web 2.0 properties for link building you will find. If not, then joinnow and play a little catch up.Your link building strategy should include about five to ten Web 2.0 pages that will link back to yourwebsite. Each page you create will have a unique 300 - 400 word article and any other uniquecontent you would like to add. I love how Squidoo allows you to add plenty of unique contentthrough modules. Blogger and Wordpress also allow plenty of room for creativity through addingcontent widgets.Best Web 2.0 Sites for Link BuildingSquidoo.comBlogger.comWordpress.comWebs.comLiveJournalQuizillaVOX.comBlogsomeWeeblyHubpagesJimdoWetpaintXangaWikispacesOriginal Circle Link WheelThe circle link wheel is no longer as effective...The original link wheel was a circle link wheel where you had 4 - 5 Web 2.0 sites linking back to yourmain site. You would then have your first web 2.0 page link to your second, your second link to yourthird and so on. This worked great for building backlinks at first, but the search engines caught onfast and these types of link wheels are not as effective these days.In order for a link wheel to be effective to improve your websites seo rank, you need to erase yourtracks and leave no footprint. Sounds a little complicated, but its not. You simply have to build a
    • random link wheel where one page randomly links to another with no set pattern. The typical linkwheel has a pattern that is very easy for search engines to follow and if they catch on to your linkwheel scheme, they are sure to punish your site only hurting your search rankings. They will surelytoss your site right in their sandbox to sit for a while.Random Link Wheels Are More EffectiveCreating a random linkwheel erases the link footprint...While the old circle link wheel is easy for search engines to trace because there is a clearpath to follow, the newer random link wheel is nearly impossible to track if you know howto properly create one. Now, they do take a bit of work to complete, but once your randomlink wheel is created, you will have tons of quality backlinks pointing to your site.A random link wheel should be created in a way that there is no direct path that can bedetected in the wheel. You must leave no footprint for the search engines to follow becauseif you do they will find you. The more random the spokes on your wheel are, the moreeffective the seo power will be when it is passed on to your website.In a random link wheel only about five to ten Web 2.0 websites will actually link directly toyour website. The remaining links you create will flow to other internet properties in yourlink wheel in no particular pattern.The Random Link WheelTier 1: Create five to ten Web 2.0 properties with a 400 - 700 word article containing a linkback toyour main website.Tier 2: Create 10 - 20 blog posts with unique articles that link back to your newly createdweb 2.0 pages. Do not link back to your main site from these blog posts. You may have tocreate a new blog to make up this tier.Tier 3: Create 10 - 20 articles and submit them to article directories. Include a link to yourblog posts in the author bio box. If you spin your articles, manually spin them so they arecompletely unique each time.Tier 4: Create 5 - 10 articles and submit each one individually to ezinearticles. Include a linkto your Web2.0 properties in the author bio box.Tier 5: Comment on relevant blogs and provide a link back to your blog posts in tier 2.Tier 6: Social Bookmark your Web 2.0 pages in tier 1.Your link wheel can consist of many more types of websites linking to different tiers, but
    • remember to keep it random. Only tier 1 should link to your main site and have each tierlink to sites in another tier.Web 2.0 Resource ListHere is a list of my Personalfavourite Web 2.0 sites: Hubpages Squidoo InfoBarrel Bukisa Ukritic (this is one, allows you to directly place Affiliate links into your articles!) XombaHere are few morewordpress.com - pr9tumblr.com - pr8typepad.com - pr8weebly.com - pr8blogger.com - pr8tripod.com - pr8posterous.com - pr7jimdo.com - pr7yola.com - pr7squidoo.com - pr7multiply.com - pr7angelfire.com - pr7officelive.com - pr7rediff.com - pr7wikidot.com - pr7webs.com - pr7webnode.com - pr7salon.com - pr7edublogs.org - pr6webspawner.com - pr6soup.io - pr6ucoz.com - pr6travelblog.org - pr6gather.com - pr6springnote.com - pr6webstarts.com - pr6
    • moonfruit.com - pr6journalspace.com - pr6blog.de - pr6onsugar.com - pr6quizilla.teennick.com - pr6areavoices.com - pr6freeblog.hu - pr6blog.com - pr6blogdrive.com - pr5blogtext.org - pr5freeflux.net - pr5freehostia.com - pr5zoomshare.com - pr5flixya.com - pr5webgarden.com - pr5ohlog.com - pr5livelogcity.com - pr5snappages.com - pr5sosblogs.com - pr5visualsociety.com - pr5insanejournal.com - pr5alivenotdead.com - pr5hazblog.com - pr5hpage.com - pr5blog.com.es - pr5350.com - pr5beep.com - pr5devhub.com - pr5blog.hr - pr5blinkweb.com - pr5ewebsite.com - pr5flukiest.com - pr4bloggum.com - pr4inube.com - pr4iseekblog.com - pr4hipero.com - pr4blurty.com - pr4bloghi.com - pr4wallinside.com - pr4getjealous.com - pr4fotopages.com - pr4wikipages.com - pr4freeblogspot.org - pr4myblogsite.com - pr4spi-blog.com - pr4
    • 2itb.com - pr4mytripjournal.com - pr4blogreaction.com - pr4doomby.com - pr4blogge.rs - pr4mywapblog.com - pr4yousaytoo.com - pr4publr.com - pr3blogster.com - pr3weblogplaza.com - pr3spyuser.com - pr3bcz.com - pr3iblog.at - pr3honmag.com - pr3blogpico.com - pr2evood.com - pr2uwcblog.com - pr2BonusesUMASS University: http://transit-dev.admin.umass.edu/projects/transit2/newticketBentley University: http://qt1.bentley.edu/groups/ibentfinalpresentation/blog/Buffalo State University: http://ask.buffalostate.edu/index.php?act=Reg&CODE=00
    • Perdue University: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~griffin/406/register/Portland State University: http://svcs.cs.pdx.edu/moodle/login/signup.phpPerelandra University: http://moodle.perelandra.edu/moodle/login/signup.phpNC State University: http://arksee.ncsu.edu/community/register/University Of Kansas: http://www2.ku.edu/~lsiprepared/cgi-bin/wordpress/registerSouth Puget: http://elearn.spscc.edu/user/registerArizona State University: http://zoomation.asu.edu/user/register.GOV SITEShttp://208.119.72.66/digiwiki/index.php?title=Special:UserLogin&type=signuphttp://www.gursey.gov.tr/mediawiki/index.php?title=Special:Userlogin&type=signup.EDU SITEShttp://scripts.mit.edu/~cci/HCI/index.php?title=Special:UserLogin&type=signuphttp://hawaii.edu/lyonarboretum/wiki2/index.php?title=Special:UserLogin&type=signupComment Backlink Sites
    • dc.gov:http://www.evidencewarehouse.ocp.dc.gov/index.php?title=Special:Userlogin&returnto=Main_PageNMSU.edu:Go http://pltw.nmsu.edu/forum.aspx?g=rules. Once registered, post contenthttp://pltw.nmsu.edu/forum.aspx?g=forumMexican Institute of Technology. Gohttp://ittlearning.ittehuacan.edu.mx/ittlearning/login/signup.phpContent creation instructions are the same as Liberty University http://eduranksurge.com/access2http://empiremarketing.ca/seo/Friends-of-Ian.php