Some Characteristics of an Under Optimized Website
In the past few months Google has really upped the game in terms of manually and algorithmically adjusting for what they deem to be artificially inflated or “over-optimized SEO” online marketing tactics. Such updates and events include Panda, the notice of death detection and a Penguin web spam algorithmic update.
Sweet. So while SEOs and webmasters this side of China are busy analyzing what might constitute over-optimization, what an [under|below|sub-par|sans|zero] optimized site might look like (ladies and gentlemen – your obligatory keyword stuffing joke!) – and if it might offer any insights.
The “Control” Variable Seo Montreal
We have a client (who shall henceforth be known as Client Site), for whom we manage their display advertising. It’s a very old site. Thirteen-odd years old in fact; and during this time the site has published content of the same style regularly.
This website has great authority in its sector, a .co.uk exact-match-domain with high traffic and page impressions, a whack-load of data, and huge number of Page 1 rankings, including a few No. 1’s for its core terms. The site is in a niche within the women’s lifestyle sector and evolved from a labor of love into a commercial concern being monetized with display advertising.
Nobody has ever solicited a single link to it! All of the sites’ backlinks are there because another party chose to put them there.
While we may all be fretting over what makes a great anchor-text mix, home to deep-page linking ratio, PR spread, or whatever-the-hell-else, it might be interesting to see what a lack of interference looks like in one single case.
Domain/Sub-domain Link Spread
The flow of authority passes through a link (amongst a bunch of other things), however not all links are equal. If a link points to http://clientsite.co.uk, that is then distinct from another link which points to the subdomain http://www.clientsite.ca thus diluting equity potential. Perhaps search engines are smart enough to transfer equity to a preferred URL?
Certainly you can select your preferred URL using Google Webmaster Tools. Other solutions are to 301 non-preferred URLs to the preferred URLs or to canonise the preferred URL.
All this aside, with an informed link building strategy any link builder will actively seek to obtain links to the preferred URL particularly given that a 301 redirect doesn’t pass the full “juice”.
In previous years anchor text (i.e. anchor text including or exactly matching the ranking term) has long been considered a strong ranking factor. In recent times some case studies have shown this not to be the case. Conversely in some sectors we may still see sites ranking well using aggressive anchor text engineering even if they may not stay around for long; however many currently agree that high levels of “money term” anchor texts being downplayed seem to be a feature of Google’s recent changes.
The more diverse a backlink profile the more authoritative it may be thought to be; as to be diverse would mean less “sitewide” linking (i.e., links that appear on every page of a website) and such. Plus it wouldn’t make sense to multiply a links’ value according to the number of instances it may occur sitewide (and equity characteristics thereof). It simply doesn’t fit with the “vote” analogy that many may be familiar with.
Title Tag, Meta Description Duplication
Just thought I’d add in a bit of “on-page” SEO for good measure! This data comes from the site Webmaster Tools.
While keyword stuffing your title and descriptions is never a good idea, it is generally best practice to distinguish these meta-data values. After all, this data describes each page in summary and we’re warned time and again that substantially similar or duplicate content offers little to no value to users.
It’s going to be OK… Google promises! But what does that mean to the small- to medium-sized business owner? Especially the ones who do everything by the “Google book” only to fearfully watch Google web visits plummet with every ruthless update.
Launched last week, the Google Penguin update is designed to get rid of spammy websites and businesses Google has identified as trying to cheat the system. The algorithm change is said to promote high quality content and penalize webspam while impacting about 3 percent of search queries.
Google: Doing The Right Thing, Not Always The Right Way
Contrary to popular belief, Google says the Penguin intent is to help the overall search experience versus put legitimate businesses in jeopardy of losing precious web traffic and bottom line sales. Unfortunately, innocent bystanders report they are taking a hit with little defense against Google, the largest search engine boasting 66.4 percent of the search market share and not to be ignored.
How can a business protect itself from the potential crush of Penguin or the next Google algorithm change? There is something to be said for not putting all your SEO eggs in Google’s basket.
Deep SEO Inhale… Long Social Media Exhale
There is life beyond Google for gaining online visibility. The opportunities are greater than ever to take part in some healthy SEO living from other organic marketing sources in places like social media networks. Read on advice from veteran online marketers.
5 SEO Experts Share How to Optimize Outside of Google
Will Scott, online marketer and founder of Search Influence, offered four strategies for websites looking for fresh, non-Google alternatives:
- Socialize content: Create informative, shareable content and socialize through Twitter, Facebook and other relevant sharing sites.
- Blog post exchange: Connect with like-minded businesses and contribute blog posts, opinion to one-another’s blogs.
- Facebook cross-pollination: Reach out to other relevant businesses on their Facebook page and interact on a regular basis.
- Buy social ads: Target demographic and complementary brands/services on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Cody Swann, CEO CEO/Gunner Technology, offered two pieces of advice:
- Think like a magazine, cut Google out of the picture: Magazines focus on quality and spin multitudes of content out of their main piece. Go the extra mile and create sidebar stories, photo galleries, podcasts, video interviews, infographics and top 10 lists. Increase the chance of existing customers to share your content and cut Google out of the picture.
- Hang out on other websites: Business owners who want a successful website should be spending about five times more time on other websites than they do on their own. And this doesn’t mean Facebook and Twitter (although those are good). Find industry blogs, message boards and forums. Lurk on them for about one to four weeks and learn the community ethics and guidelines. Then start responding and paying it forward with help. Finally, you can start subtly promoting your own website, once again, cutting out Google and bringing traffic directly from the source.
Bob Tripathi, founder and chief marketer at Instant E-Training, added three additional tips:
- Invest more time and resources in social media: Consumer behavior has changed in the past couple of years. People don’t rely just on Google search anymore but more on their friends and network to make recommendations and see what products or services they like.
- Blog more and blog regularly: Writing content that is useful for end users will not just increase your reader base but force search engines to crawl, index, and rank your site. After all, engines need good content just as badly (to be relevant to their searchers) just as you need their “free” traffic.
- Create more videos: Any business can educate their prospects through video and videos don’t need to be high cost studio material. YouTube can be a great source of traffic. Also, video creates a one-on-one engagement with your audience which can be huge for SMBs. YouTube’s new ad formats can work well for SMB’s.
Jason Yormark, senior VP of marketing and social media at ShowPony, also shared some social media marketing ideas:
- Get serious about Twitter: Use a resource like Listorious to identify categories that relate to your industry and connect with these folks. The nice thing about this resource is that lists are manually curated by users, so it’s much more likely the folks you identify are real people who are engaged.
- Join Triberr: It’s free, and an easy way for businesses that blog to increase their reach to a wider audience.
- Turbo charge your Facebook page: Use free apps from Involver to encourage increased engagement. You can import your RSS feed from your blog, bring in your Twitter stream, display your YouTube channel, along with a few other free options. Make your Facebook page more of a destination then just window dressing for your brand.
Marty Weintraub, co-owner and founder of aimClear Online Marketing Agency, also shared some marketing wisdom for Penguin victims looking to come in out of the cold:
- Completely fill out and optimize social media profiles: Start with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Be prepared to publish just enough updates to keep it feeling fresh and active. This is the baseline social media minimum. Those profiles will appear in Google/Bing’s organic search engine results. Link to them on important keywords from a non-landing page/funnel entry page as high up on your main website as possible. Ask partner businesses to link too.
- Be famous locally: Target to a small, hyper-local radius using Facebook and LinkedIn ads. Even massive deployment to small populations won’t cost very much media spend at all. There is no reason for you local brand to be invisible.
- Do noteworthy (newsworthy) things: From charity to true thought leadership. Notable actions are covered by the local newspaper, trumpeted by bloggers and spawn notable buzz. Google is all about trying to radiate the actual sampling of human inquiry. The number one SEO ranking factor is creating inquiries!
- Create a Google+ page: Optimize it and push content out. Although hardly anyone who is actually “social” is using Google+, heaps of people use it. Why? Because Google pays unnatural interest in Google+ when ranking content, authors, and users in SERPs. Google+ gives away the store in an attempt to get Google users to go social!
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