Wednesday 14 May, 2014
From time to time, Google updates its algorithms. Actually, there are tiny updates virtually every day, but once every so often a really big one comes along. When this happens, it can be a catastrophe for those of us who rely on SEO to bring traffic to our sites.
Following an update, look at any webmaster forum and you’ll see panicked threads asking, “Why am I losing traffic?” Even if you think you’re doing everything by the book, you still may find yourself penalized.
There’s no perfect way to protect yourself against Google updates, but here are a few things you can do to help you avoid penalties.
Make sure all of your links are natural. Don’t shoot content all over the web with backlinks to your site that look artificially. Don’t swap links or list your site on link lists. All backlinks should come from real, organic sources.
Try to get backlinks from a number of different types of sources. This way, if an update smacks down one type of backlink, your others are still intact.
Clean up Internal Linking
Make sure that your internal linking is clean and minimal. Rather than links going back and forth among your pages, give your users a good, clean navigation that’s easy to understand.
Aim for User Experience
Design your site with user experience in mind. Almost every time there’s a big update, Google representatives say this is what they’re going for. They also always say another thing they’re aiming for is…
High Quality Content
Make sure your site’s content is high-quality, unique and updated regularly. Add a blog to your website and use it to help your readers. Avoid using duplicate content. Duplicate content won’t get you penalized, but it’s always best to have content that’s unique.
Put on Your White Hat
Don’t do anything black or grey hat. If you’re not sure whether a technique is, look it up. If a certain technique is iffy or on the edge of what’s acceptable according to Google’s TOS, don’t do it.
Be transparent about everything you do. Don’t try to cloak or disguise links. Write them as-is so that site visitors know it’s a link. Don’t do anything that could be seen as deceptive.
Finally, stay current on changes. Join a webmaster forum or find some other way to stay in the loop. Keep your eye out for updates and keep tabs on your analytics. Analytics will tell you if something is askew.
It also doesn’t help to review Google’s Terms of Service. There are things in there that most of us pass over. If you’re well within the search engine’s TOS, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, no matter how big an update is.