I recently updated my whitepaper SEO Checklist for Beginners to show small businesses how to get better results from search engine optimization (SEO).
Over the past year or so Google has emphasized certain factors over others when ranking web pages. For example, click through rates make a difference – can you imagine an organic search listing on the first page that does not get clicked much? It happens regularly. Do you think Google is concerned about click through rates for the top ten results for keywords? I do.
Google pays attention to how users interact with their search results like which links get the lowest bounce rates after a user clicks. The bounce rate is the rate at which a search listing is clicked and then the user returns to the search results to click on a different listing (obviously the searcher didn’t find what they were looking for with that initial clicked listing for the keyword). And if Google determines that the listing is not good for the users of that keyword, well you know what happens.
Organic search results are unpaid – the kind everyone craves – and organic SEO means the practice of gaining rank in the natural search results. But today I am suggesting that there is a deeper meaning to organic SEO that is much closer to organic growth – growth from within the organization that results in more productivity and sales.
In an ideal business, effective SEO and online marketing takes place when the people within the organization take ownership of the project. You may have heard of those companies whose people enjoy their jobs, work well together and when they decide to do something together, it gets done!
Every Spring for the past three years Google has rolled out a big algo change that “washes” away the unnatural search results from their index. Spring of 2013 brought Penguin 2.0 and a summer full of updates. Spring of ‘12 brought Penguin. Spring of ‘11 brought Panda (technically that was late February but it nearly fits my scheme here). What does Google have for us this Spring?
If you were enjoying good search rankings before any of these updates, but then noticed a big drop afterward, it’s likely that you have not fully recovered yet. And I hate to say this, it’s also unlikely that your site will ever get back to where it was in terms of rankings and traffic from Google.
According to a poll I conducted, one of the top questions people have for Matt Cutts right now is this: “Is Google putting more trust in content based on Google Authorship?”
I submitted the question, along with others, to Matt for a video response at Google Moderator, but I doubt he will answer this one until a later time when Google sees success in Author Rank, or perhaps he won’t answer it at all for other reasons.
Google’s Disavow Link Tool is all the buzz now and I’m glad G rolled it out.
Not long after the Google Penguin update (late April 2012) sent some SEOs into a tizzy of trying to remove unnatural links to their sites, Bing Webmaster Tools came out with a tool to disavow links. Google then said they would come out with something similar for Google Webmaster Tools, and now Google has rolled out their version of a disavow link tool.
At the end of this post I’ll share a link to download the User Experience Checklist for SEO & Conversion to help you evaluate your website and landing pages.
Businesses can get into trouble when they do not balance user experience and SEO or SEO and conversion. Some businesses put too much weight on search rank for their keywords or too much emphasis on social media, overlooking on site SEO and user experience. You can’t do that today and expect good search rank from Google. Instead you must balance out the focus between user experience and SEO so that your target audience not only finds your site but it is useful and even excites them.
Google launched the latest algo change named Penguin on April 24th and gave plenty of warning about it. At the South by Southwest (SBSX) conference in March, Matt Cutts mentioned an algo update they were working on to better deal with sites that have been “over optimized.”
Most people complain about Google’s algo updates, but consider that the same percentage of sites that moved down also moved up; can I hear somebody say – “ain’t that sweet!”