Even though Matt Cutts is on his break from work, Google updates continue to roll in. Are you aware of all the latest updates? Do you know where SEO is going and how you should be optimizing your site for the rest of the year?
Years ago, Google began releasing the first “animal” updates (hint: it was Panda that started revolutionizing the SEO world back in February of 2011). Panda gave priority to higher-quality sites and demoted sites that Google deemed as low quality. Moreover, if you take a closer look at all the Google update change logs, you will see that its main “gold standard,” which is providing the best content and user-experience for searchers, has not dropped in value.
Did you know that Google now uses over 200 ranking factors? The most important ranking factor is the number of relevant keywords. Search Metrics analyzed this by collecting data on top websites in 2014.
1. On-Page SEO Is the Most Important Mantra
On-site factors play a major role in your SEO campaign. Even though this does not mean that you should not do any off-site SEO, it definitely proves that, without proper site optimization, you will not be able to rank very highly (we are not talking about short-term spam methods).
There are other factors you should consider when optimizing your website. Think of your on-page SEO as your foundation. If you want your website to get good rankings for a long period of time and withstand the inevitable Google updates, you should make every effort to analyze your website from multiple angles. Take notes on your site after reading this On-Page SEO 101 article.
Here are a couple of SEO factors I pay the most attention to:
- Content quality
- Keyword density and LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords
- Proper HTML tag usage (heading, list, alt tags and others)
- User-behavior analytics (bounce rate, etc.)
A common mistake I still encounter is over-optimization, also known as “keyword stuffing.” In hopes of improving their rankings, many new webmasters make this mistake by stuffing their keywords anywhere they can, which is a strategy Google punishes.
In order to avoid wasting huge amounts of time analyzing each of your site’s pages manually, I would suggest using tools. For example, SEO Book has many useful, free tools that can really save you a lot of time when optimizing your website. There is also a great tool from Siteliner, a product from Copyscape, that will help you analyze your site’s main on-page problems. Give it a try!
2. Link Building Can No Longer Be Accomplished By Guest Posting
Guest blogging has become the next big thing in the last couple of years. This is the down side of the SEO industry – once a new working strategy pops up, everybody starts abusing it and then Google reacts. First it happened with blog network posts, now with guest blogging.
Despite Matt Cutts' announcement about guest blogging, it is still safe to say that legit and natural guest posts from authority blogs are not disappearing anywhere in near future. How can Google identify sites that use spammy guest posting tactics without using obvious footprints like guest blogs marking their articles as guest posts and every second article is from a true guest?
I do not believe that search engines can really tell the difference between a guest post and any other type of content. However, would you really miss an opportunity to publish a guest post on TechCrunch?
3. Legitimate Guest Blogging Isn’t Going Anywhere
In my personal opinion, this off-page SEO strategy will still work no matter what updates roll out. You, as a guest poster, just have to be more careful when choosing where to publish AND what kind of content you publish. Instead of only valuing guest blogging as a link-building technique, think of it as a means of relationship building.
If you are paranoid, here are a few tips that will help your guest posts look more legitimate:
- Guest blogging is not only about links. Moreover, even publishing a post without any links on an authority blog can benefit you if you create high quality content that engages a different audience than your site typically attracts. For this method, guest blogging is still the way to go.
- Instead of links, you can include your business contact information. If the guest blog’s readers approve of your content, there is a good chance that you will receive referral traffic.
- In case you still want or need to include a link, you can always ask the publisher to no-follow it.
- Focus on active sites and deliver engaging content. When on the lookout for new guest post placements, we all have stumbled upon low quality sites where every second, if not every single post was submitted by guests. You should avoid compromising quality for quantity at all costs.
Cutts advises against writing poor content just so you can get the backlink. Content marketing has always been and always will be an important part of any search engine optimization strategy. All search engines ranking factors are, in some way, based on content. High quality content will continue to rank, no matter why and for whom it was written.
I do not see a single reason why this would change in the future. What are your thoughts on this issue? Please leave a comment below!