Almost every day, Google introduces changes to its ranking algorithm. Some are tiny tweaks; others seriously shake up the SERPs. This cheat sheet will help you make sense of the most important algo changes and penalties rolled out in the recent years, with a brief overview and SEO advice on each.
Lesson 4: Know exactly what your users want
SEO UPDATE THAT TEACHES THIS LESSON: GOOGLE HUMMINGBIRD
WHAT GOOGLE HUMMINGBIRD TARGETS:
- Users intent behind Google searches – Do-follow links that are purchased from someone to increase your site’s rankings within Google.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
KNOW EXACTLY WHAT USERS WANT TO FIND
When you find a potential keyword to target, invest the time to understand what your audience wants when they search for the term on Google. And then create your content to cover that specific need in as much useful detail as possible.
RESEARCH THOROUGHLY BEFORE WRITING:
Once you have a solid grasp on what your audiences intent is behind the Google search, perform detailed research on the topic before you even begin writing so you can form the necessary backbone for creating a truly helpful post.
PROVIDE DETAILED ANSWERS
Don’t leave out any necessary details when writing about your topic. Use relevant data and statistics. Explain how every component works within the context of the topic, and provide answers that are stuffed with truly useful information.
Lesson 5: Get rid of low-quality backlinks
SEO UPDATE THAT TEACHES THIS LESSON: GOOGLE PENGUIN
WHAT GOOGLE PENGUIN TARGETS:
- Exact match anchor text Anchor text that exactly matches the keyword you’re trying to rank for. Exact match anchor text immediately throws up a red flag to Google.
- Links from low-quality sites Links that come from either poorly developed or unrelated sites. These low-quality sites communicate to Google that your content must not be of high value.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
A simple two-step process is all you need to find and remove harmful low-quality backlinks.
SCAN YOUR BACKLINK PORTFOLIO
Use Monitor Backlinks to instantly create a database of all of your site’s current backlinks.
REMOVE ALL DO-FOLLOW LINKS THAT CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING
- A large number of external links
- High spam scores
- Spammy anchor text (like “.”)
- Top-level domains from a foreign-speaking country
Lesson 6: Improve your site’s user experience
SEO UPDATE THAT TEACHES THIS LESSON: GOOGLE FRED
WHAT GOOGLE FRED TARGETS:
- Aggressive advertising Sites whose pages are littered with blatant and excessive ads and pop-ups. If your site is difficult to navigate due to the sheer amount of advertisements, you’re in trouble.
- Low-quality content Thin and unhelpful content that fails to address the needs of your audience.
- Poor user experience Sites that are difficult to use and navigate, or use practices that either interrupt the audience’s experience or aggravate the audience.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
MAKE USER-FOCUSED CONTENT.
When it comes to content creation, forget about yourself and your business. Make content solely for your audience’s benefit, focusing on their needs and desires and motivations.
This is the type of content Google craves and what they want to deliver to their users. Create SEO-optimized content for users and Google will reward you accordingly.
If your pages are littered with banner ads that disrupt the flow of your content, you need to remove them or face the consequences of ranking low on Google. In their eyes, bombarding your clients with ads after the ad is the same as spamming their email inbox.
MAKE YOUR CONTENT TRULY COMPETITIVE.
Compare your content to the top thought leaders in your industry. Does it compete? If not, you need to improve it; make it better than your competition. Ask yourself: What can you do to make your content more attractive, more engaging, more in-depth, more actionable than your top competitors? Answer these questions and then execute on them.
Lesson 7: Don’t complain, take action
GOOGLE UPDATES THAT TEACH THIS LESSON: ALL OF THEM
With every update, you’ll find (mostly inexperienced) marketers complaining about Google’s practices. Complaints like “Google doesn’t care about us” and “Google has ruined online marketing” are common.
Yet, when these “marketers” provide links to their sites in these comments, none of them have seemingly learned the lessons listed above.
Their content is thin and un-engaging. Their site is riddled with unnecessary advertisements. And their site’s design is either too outdated or difficult to navigate.
Don’t be like them.
Instead of complaining, use your valuable time to take action.
First and foremost, implement what you’ve learned from the above lessons. And then, with every new Google update, do the following:
- Find out what the new update is.
- Find out how it affects your site and marketing efforts.
- Research and uncover new strategies that will benefit your Google rankings.
- Immediately start implementing those strategies on your site.
Follow these steps with all major SEO updates and I promise you’ll reap the rewards.