If you have been keeping an eye on the search industry over the past couple of weeks you would have heard about the changes over at Google where they are going to start penalising websites who use ‘black hat’ or sneaky tactics to try and trick search engines. – Here is the official post from Google themselves..
So what can you do to prevent losing your search ranks and to make sure your site is wearing a nice and clean ‘white hat’?
1. Change Keyword Heavy Page Titles
I see this one every day on hundreds and hundreds of websites; a website’s title (the one you see at the top of your browser) is packed with keywords that is sort of relevant to the website, an example of this would be;Web design, website design service, website developers, graphic design, CoolWeb Melbourne
This will not just get you a slap from the big G, it looks horrible and when people see this listing in search engines they are unlikely to click it, so your Click Through Rate (CTR) is going to be much lower.
We can still be smart about it and use keywords in the heading, a good guide that we use is choose one keyword per page, so for your home page, choose your hero keyword that you want to be found for, lets say this case we choose ‘website design’, we might change our title to;CoolWeb, Website Design Services Melbourne.
See, this one has the keyword, the brand name, and the location, plus it looks much nicer and will increase your CTR.
2. Delete Link Filled Footers
This is another one that shocks me, when people put hundreds of links in their footer, sometimes in a faint font so no one but the search engines see it, guys.. this is stupid and doesn’t work.. period.
You know the one’s I am talking about right? Here is an example;Web design | Website Design | Web site design | Design Websites | Website Designer | Melbourne Web Design | West Melbourne Website Design | Website Developer | Build a Website | Web Site Developer Sydney | Web set design Brisbane
Not only does this look ugly, its also going to give you a black eye from Google, think about it this way, when your website gets picked up by search engines, how is it going to know what your site is about – are your a website designer or developer? are you based in melbourne or sydney?
Its important to just stick to one hero keyword per page, use your footer for what its for, less important links or key menu items – don’t spam it with keywords.
3. Remove Dirty Back Links
If you had chosen to outsource your link building to ‘cheaper outsource’ partner then this may really affect you. The big G is now penalising websites that are linked to from ‘link networks’ such as places where you may go and buy thousands of back links to hope to increase your in bound links – it was once believed that the more links you have pointing to your site the better.. this was never the case.
The more high quality natural links that are pointing to your pages, the better your website will be ranked, it was always quality over quantity.
So how do you fix this as its almost impossible to remove links pointing to you from those sort of places? You need to outweigh the dodgy links with fantastic links, and the only way you can do that is to provide excellent content that people want to link to. Some examples of this;
- Blog posts – write about something in your market that people want to read ( a little bit like this article )
- Press Releases – do you have some exciting news? Shoot it across the PR networks
- Case Studies – have you worked with some great clients, write a case study and distribute it across your market
- Legitimate Directories – List your business in proper directories (not link network ones), some Australian examples are – Yellow Pages, TruLocal, StartLocal
- Social networks – make your content shareable!
Another thing to ensure that your in bound links are rock solid is to not always link to your home page, link to internal pages as well, this will help form a solid link foundation that not only helps you rank well, but will bring you relevant traffic as well.
So those are my top 3 recommended changes that you need to do yesterday in order to not get a blood nose from Google, there are loads more that you need to look at as well, but maybe thats for another time – as long as you stick to the fundamental rule, you should be right.. and that rule is;