SEO TACTICS FOR HIGHER RANKINGS IN GOOGLE – Since the introduction of Google’s Panda Algorithm in 2011 and the Penguin Algorithm in 2012 many webmasters have been left scratching their heads as to what exactly Google wants in order to provide higher rankings and therefore greater levels of visitors to their web pages.
On top of these algorithms Google also introduced the ‘Page Layout’ algorithm which penalized any website or blog, that carried advertisements (or too many) above the fold. Above the fold generally refers to the first 600 pixels, top to bottom.
This was seen at the time, and still is, a contradiction as to what Google AdSense advises in order to create higher earnings from the Google Ads that many web pages display. Google knows full well that the top part of any web page is the most value; in terms of advertising real estate. If you think that this is questionable then undertake a Google search and you will find that the first 3 or 4 results are all advertisements.
Why the contradiction? Well the fact is that while Google penalizes other websites for displaying advertisements above the fold it happily and profitably continues to do so.
I have read literally thousands of stories of web owners once running successful websites only to be hit by Panda, Penguin and Page Layout and even after a couple of years trying to address the issues they still fail to achieve the rankings they once enjoyed.
Google’s argument has always been that the algorithms are designed to eradicate low quality and spam content from their index and as a result deliver high quality content to its search users. This is course is a sensible thing to do because Google’s existence depends on search users getting the information they are looking for.
Google has been accused of manipulating its algorithms or even by-passing them altogether in the pursuit of ensuring that Google services, such as Google News, always appeared above their competitors. According to the U.S Department of Justice in 2012 Google was found not to be in breach of any anti-competition laws nor was it found that had been manipulating their algorithms.
It appears slightly suspicious to some when early this year the European Trade Commission, running exactly the same investigation as the DJ, found Google guilty of anti-competition laws and manipulation of its algorithms. The result was that Google has agreed to cease such practices and allow the competition greater visibility in the search results.
So how do you get ahead and more importantly what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics can you use to garner higher rankings in Google Search?
Most of the search results revolved around what Google terms as PageRank. The idea to this is a simple one; if people link to your web pages in sufficient quantities then Google will see such pages as being an authority on the subject matter. In return a website will experience an upward movement in PageRank, ranging from 0 to 10. There are plugins for your browser that will display the PageRank for any website you visit; including your own.
Once PageRank become relevant to search results many webmasters engage in all manner of practices to accumulate back-links; even paying for them.
This lead Google to the conclusion that the PageRank, of any individual website, was not an accurate picture of useful content but rather a simple manipulation of the system. In order to overcome this issue Google introduced an analysis of back-links and now states that it is able to determine whether a back-link is natural, manipulative in nature or even purchased.
Once again webmaster felt the wrath of Google as their PageRanks plummeted and search traffic with it.
The real problem lies within our indoctrination that Google is the be all and end all of internet traffic and so most webmasters continue to bang on Google’s door by trying to create content that does fit in with Google’s quality guidelines. Surely it must be acknowledged that this is a good thing as it is forcing webmasters to produce ever higher quality content and for those who achieve such heights Google promises even more traffic.
That may be true but have we produced a situation where we have allowed a single entity, Google, to almost control, police if you will, the entire content of the web? This argument continues to rage and many feel that Google is now the all controlling dictator on the web and to a degree that may be true.
While many people complain about Google the truth of the matter is that Google is not obligated to index any website. They offer a completely free service and all they ask in return is that you comply with their quality guidelines; is that so much to ask?
What we don’t know and what we will never really know is what Google actually wants. Google has created a labyrinth of algorithms that analyses each and every page and with over 200 of them it’s impossible to tell what a page must contain, how it is structured and what keywords need to be present in order to check all the right boxes.
There are of course clues and it is these clues that allow us to experience higher rankings. For instance Google has acknowledged that PageRank plays a part in rankings but it doesn’t want webmaster gaming the system. Back-links should be created ‘naturally’ and the best way to achieve this is to create content that your visitors will share. Again, this all comes back to creating quality content; not so much in the eyes of Google but more importantly your visitors.
When I first started setting up meebal.com I made a checklist of all the SEO tactics I would use in order to boost my rankings. After spending a few days planning I realized that these tactics would eat up over 70% of my time. I therefore concluded I had a choice; spend all of my time on SEO tactics to achieve higher rankings in Google or write content that people would find entertaining and useful. Well there lies the rub; because if I had spent the time on SEO I wouldn’t be able to produce much in the way of content. Without content, and good quality content, why would anyone visit meebal.com?
I decided the only possible course of action was to take my SEO tactics checklist and burn it; which is exactly what I did.
I’m not a lazy guy, I simply do not have time to spend on something that may or may not work out and with Google’s every changing algorithms I figured that whatever I did achieve would only be crushed on the next algorithm update.
My time is for one purpose only and that is to write content that my visitors want to read and use. In the process people are slowly beginning to share my content which equates to 100% natural back-links with 0% SEO effort or manipulation.
It you think I am totally bonkers consider this… Currently 54% of my traffic comes from Google. The remainder comes from the plethora of social networks available. When it comes to the social networks and I compare the traffic the difference is astounding. On average site visitors from Google spend 2.3 minutes viewing my pages with approximately 2.6 page views per visitor. Compare this to the social networks and its over 5 minutes and nearly 6 page views per visitor.
From the information I have gathered, on my own website, I feel that Social Networking is far more powerful than Google. How long will this last? With reports coming out that Facebook is looking more visitors per day than the U.S Treasury is spending money many feel that all social networks have a shelf life. However the trend appears to follow a pattern and as once where MySpace was the King of social networking when Facbook does have its day it will be replaced by another and therefore there should always be the social networking capacity to drive visitors.
SEO tactics for Google… why bother? Let it take its natural course and with the great content you produce you will surely succeed.
How much time do you spend on SEO every month? Do you think Google has too much control over the content of the web? Have your say… leave your comments below.