As you probably know, Google is constantly experimenting with its search engine and always looking for new ways to improve the user experience. One way they do this is by making periodic algorithm updates to tweak the way that search functions. While the majority of these updates are minor, some like Panda, Penguin, Penguin 2.0 and Hummingbird have brought about significant changes that altered the SEO landscape.
Although changes like these are typically beneficial for search engine users, it can be problematic for businesses when they are penalized and experience a drop in rankings. Fortunately, there are some ways to “algorithm proof” your website to reduce the chances of being adversely affected when the next big update inevitably comes. Here are some steps that can be taken to keep your site safe.
Create Content for Humans and Not Strictly Search Engines
One trap that many people fall into is spending more time implementing the latest SEO trick instead of just creating great content. While there is almost always some new scheme that’s the next big thing, it will never replace real value. An example would be when some marketers in the past paid for large volumes of backlinks in hopes of quickly climbing to the top of search engines.
This worked for a while, but many of these sites were severely penalized when Google Penguin came out and traffic dropped dramatically. The remedy is to focus on making content for humans and not worry so much about appeasing search engines. Don’t be a schemer and try to manipulate Google, because it probably won’t happen. Instead, you should use your time constructively to ensure the best possible user experience and you can have peace of mind that your rankings won’t take a plunge.
Avoid Low-Quality Backlinks
Having backlinks from low ranking and/or irrelevant sites can be a big detriment to SEO. Although it’s difficult to control all the sites that link to you, you should utilize whatever control you have to put a stop to low-quality backlinks. A simple way to determine the quality level of a site is to run it through Google’s Page Rank Checker. This will give you a number ranking of 0 – 10, with 0 being worst and 10 being the best
As a rule of thumb, you should ensure that any site linking back to yours has an an equal or higher page rank. Also, all backlinks should come from relevant sites that are similar to your industry/niche.
Don’t Optimize Anchor Text
Anchor text optimization is often an honest mistake that many people make. This happens when the phrases you use in hyperlinks contain “money keywords,” which are used to intentionally manipulate Google to climb their search rankings. An example would be using the primary keyword you’re trying to rank for as anchor text within a blog post. This is a serious no-no and can really hurt your SEO campaign.
To prevent penalties, you’re better off using more natural words for anchor text. According to Search Engine Watch, this can include your “website’s title, example.com, www.example.com, “click here”, “here”, “blog post”, etc.” This should still make it easy for people to jump from page to page to find additional information and keep you out of trouble in the future.
SEO is something that should be taken seriously, especially if organic traffic contributes to most of your website’s overall traffic. Although it’s impossible to know exactly what updates the future will hold, following these guidelines should help algorithm proof your site relatively well and keep you in Google’s good graces.