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New SEO Rules: See What You're Missing...

We just don’t hear about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as much as we used to. Judging from the topics trending online you’d think that SEO has become irrelevant, passé, out-of-date.

Well, the truth is having a solid SEO strategy for your digital presence is more important now than ever to the success of your website. Since Google and other search engines hold the key to the level of free exposure and web traffic your website receives, learning the new rules of SEO is essential.

Google’s release of “Panda”, its latest major algorithm update, changes the way we need to approach optimizing our websites for search engines. In the past, getting your website to rank well in Google search results meant focusing on keyword placement, descriptive “title tags”, unique content and backlinking. Today, after the Panda update, these techniques are no longer enough.

Panda introduces some totally new elements to Google’s ranking methodology to help people find higher quality sites in their searches. For us web publishers, our focus must shift from keywords and links to the user experience, trustworthiness and likeliness your web pages will be shared. I know. I know. It seems a bit abstract. Doesn’t it? So let’s take a closer look at Google’s new SEO guidelines.

Design and User Experience
Google now places a higher value on websites that are well designed and organized. There's a group of people who literally rate web pages for quality. If your site has too many ads, requires a lot of clicks to navigate or if it just isn’t very attractive your rating will suffer. These factors relate to the likelihood that people will (or will not) share your site with others. It’s like a popularity contest!

Authority and Authenticity
The days of producing lots of content for content’s sake are over. Now content quality matters. Content must be thoughtful, well-researched and unique. Ranking is also affected by whether the writer is judged as an authority on a topic or not. Consequently, you do best by creating truly original content that is not scraped or paraphrased from other sites. And having an opinion on a topic that differs from the mainstream is a plus.

Usage Metrics
More importance has been given to web user metrics. Your site’s metrics will be compared with other sites within your niche. Here is something quantifiable that we can grab on to as we work to optimize our sites. In particular, the metrics that show if your site is liked best, include average time on site, bounce rate, page views per visit and click thru rate (CTR) from search result pages. Google will also be judging the diversity and quantity of traffic to your site, and how often pages are shared.

For more guidance on how Google Panda works, check out the 23 questions on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog. And to keep on top of SEO best practices tune in to SEO Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays.

What is your take on these recent changes in SEO? Please share your thoughts with us.  

Join The Conversation

  • Jul 5 Posted 4 years ago robert con

    This article is very useful, thank you for sharing.

  • May 23 Posted 5 years ago CurtisStevens

    I believe Google will starting using usage metrics more and more.  So many users have the their toolbar installed, it wouldn't be hard for them to do that.  Ultimately, I think it would create a better experience.  Plus, they are already blocking cookie information for any searcher that is logged into their account when they visit your site, as we all know started around this time.

    Curtis

    Gotmerchant.com

  • Dec 4 Posted 5 years ago leallyson

    I love this article.  It and the 23 questions that you linked to are very helpful.  I did a blog post about this and linked to you.  #mce_temp_url#

  • STisdaleR's picture
    Oct 18 Posted 5 years ago STisdaleR

    Hi Reginald, Thanks for your comment. As for guestbloggers on your site, it seems you'd want someone that stays on topic (but also presents a different point of view), writes well, uses spellcheck, etc. It'd be better if the person gives you an exclusive and doesn't post the same content on their own page too. Hope that helps! 

  • Oct 17 Posted 5 years ago Reginald Jackson (not verified)

    Well that explains what happened to my ranking.! Thanks for sharing. Does this mean that guestblogging is out now for the sake of authenticity?

  • David Amerland's picture
    Oct 13 Posted 5 years ago David Amerland

    jonny, you are quite right. Google actually does not rate site aesthetics visually nor does it invest in human interaction (i.e. a team) to do so - that's inefficient, subjective and not cost-effective. Site design however can be gauged through specific metrics which can be tabulated. Some of these are: site loading speed, server stability and up-time, cumulative CTR scores and something called Google Steam (this is a Google patent detailing a way to chart how traffic collects on a website), which is still very uncertain. For details on the Panda update check this out

  • Oct 11 Posted 5 years ago amandaecking

    While that is all fine and dandy, honestly, I don't see the big deal about the Panda algorithm. If you've been running your online business the same way that you've been running your real world business, one of your biggest goals should be to inform the customer. Which puts unique content on your site. Which means that you wouldn't be hit (too badly) by Panda. The end. (Well, not quite - for more of my thoughts on Google Panda, take a look at my article http://sem-group.net/search-engine-optimization-blog/panda-panda-panda/ - I'd be happy to field your questions there!)

  • Oct 11 Posted 5 years ago amenda canez (not verified)

    XML Sitemap Generator tool will generate .xml sitemap files for submitted website domain names.Run this Sitemap XML Generator tool to create sitemap.xml files for a website. You just need to submit the website domain name into the standalone XML Sitemap Generator and the number of pages you want extracted for creating sitemap files in .xml format.

  • Oct 11 Posted 5 years ago DavidWoolmer

    I know the basic concept of SEO, but not aware of Google ranking. So Google judges according to the traffic that's amazing, really very informative. This blog will help to understand many people that what is SEO.

  • Oct 10 Posted 5 years ago Shilonda Downing (not verified)

    It's my pleasure! I connected with you on Twitter and LinkedIN and sent you a message on LinkedIN. Chat with you soon.

     

    Shilonda

    Virtual Work Team LLC

  • STisdaleR's picture
    Oct 10 Posted 5 years ago STisdaleR

     

    Hi JonnyCameron, Thanks for your comment. At this point, in the best interest of Google's algorithm, Amit Singhal, Google's search guru, has only given general guidance on how results are determined. With regards to the aesthetics of a site, it relates to what Google and its raters think of our sites. I have to say, though, I personally do find some sites more aesthetically pleasing than others. If a site's content is interesting plus it has beautiful high-quality images and the content is organized well, I am more likely to share it, revisit it and comment. Google plans to keep us on our toes with up to 500 changes to search in the next year, so let's stay tuned in.

  • STisdaleR's picture
    Oct 10 Posted 5 years ago STisdaleR

    Hi JonnyCameron, Thanks for your comment. At this point, in the best interest of Google's algorithm, Amit Singhal, Google's search guru, has only given general guidance on how results are determined. With regards to the aesthetics of a site, it relates to what Google and its raters think of our sites. I have to say, though, I personally do find some sites more aesthetically pleasing than others. If a site's content is interesting plus it has beautiful high-quality images and the content is organized well, I am more likely to share it, revisit it and comment. Google plans to keep us on our toes with up to 500 changes to search in the next year, so let's stay tuned in.

  • Oct 10 Posted 5 years ago VP (not verified)

    Very interesting article. As the quantity of advertising is taken into account, will this mean Google might be penalising AdSense users? ;)

  • STisdaleR's picture
    Oct 10 Posted 5 years ago STisdaleR

    Hi Shilonda, Thanks for your comment!

  • Oct 10 Posted 5 years ago Shilonda Downing (not verified)

    This is a great article, insightful, succint and informative. I'll share this with my clients and list. Thanks for sharing!

    Shilonda Downing

    Virtual Work Team LLC

  • Oct 10 Posted 5 years ago jonnycameron (not verified)

    I wonder how much emphasis is put on the visual design of the website? I appreciate that clear user journeys and functionality are a big part of successful SEO, but from the Google article I took content (good and bad) to still be the most important driver. The aesthetic qualities of the sight aren't really mentioned and it is perhaps slightly discriminatory to dismiss visually unappealing sights as not being of use to the end user.

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