In the wake of Google’s Panda updates, (a series of changes to the search giant’s algorithm which targeted lower quality sites), much has changed in the realm of search marketing. Some highly effective tactics have bitten the dust; some are altered but still viable.
One thing hasn’t changed – it still boils down to relevant, (link and Tweet worthy) content and relevant, quality incoming links. In fact, high quality content is more important than ever – and the game has changed. Creating useful, unique quality is no longer enough. You have to have something that sets it apart.
In a recent Whiteboard Friday video, Rand Fishkin noted: (http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-googles-panda-update-changed-seo-best-practices-forever-whiteboard-friday)
”Oh, I have 50,000 pages about 50,000 different motorcycle parts and I am just going to go to Mechanical Turk or I am going to go outsource, and I want a 100 word, two paragraphs about each one of them, just describe what this part is.” You think to yourself, “Hey, I have good unique content.” No, you have content that is going to be penalized by Panda. That is exactly what Panda is designed to do. It is designed to say this is content that someone wrote for SEO purposes just to have good unique content on the page, not content that makes everyone who sees it want to share it and say wow.”
“Remarkability.” So what does work? Setting your content apart from the crowd. It’s not enough to be unique –the content must have remarkability. Humor may add that touch that makes your content “socially” valuable … in other words, likely to be shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or other social media sites.
The On Page Basics. Keyword research is still a vitally important step, but personal research becomes more important; study your analytics to see why people are coming to your site now. The bounce rate is critical – for conversion, and increasingly as Google adds user behavior signals to search. The title tag has not diminished in value, and having a user friendly, navigable site is more and more important. Other factors, such as image alt tags, h1s, etc, continue to have value to establish relevance, but are not as critical.
Link Building. The links you build yourself, what I call “self service links,” have a diminishing value and will continue to decline in value. The one exception is guest blogging. If you can place a post with “Remarkability” on a blog with quality content and traffic, that’s a worthwhile link.
Social Networking is increasingly important. If you still don’t get why Twitter and Facebook (and now Google+) are vitally important to search, then you need to read this post. Social Annotations in Search: Now Your Social Network = Rankings,. Rand Fishkin observes the difference in SERPs when logged in or out of Google. Bottom line: your connections are far more likely to see your pages in SERPs no matter where your site is otherwise ranked. More than ever it’s Who Knows You.