This last week of April 2012 was supposed to be fun for me. Getting new clients, renewing retainer contracts and setting goals for next quarter of 2012.
Then Google decides to revamp its search engine algorithm. Within the next few weeks – it should update the PageRanks of websites as well.
Now everytime this happens – I treat it like an SEO report card from the only grading teacher – which is Google. Sigh.
Then I read this news: http://www.seroundtable.com/google-update-april-2012-15023.html
Immediate scramble to check on my websites (any my clients)! To my horror, some of the websites which we worked hard to optimize with diligent backlinks building were pushed to Page 2.
These were websites where a lot of hard work were put in with solid SEO and content creation.
The funny thing – websites that we did not do anything in terms of SEO were promoted to page 1.
Its been a few days – and those websites that got demoted to page 2 have been back on page 1 – just at a lower ranking than before.
I admit sometimes when doing the anchor text where you link the keyword – I get a bit carried away. Now Big G thinks that warrants as an Over-Optimization penalty.
Basically here are the important things not to do:
1. Excessive keyword density – A keyword density of 2-3% should help in not raising any flags.
I’m ok with this – content is meant for humans to read first.
2. Strictly keyword-rich internal links – Linking to your website internally with your keywords is another issue Google has been targeting. Linking to other authority websites such as Wikipedia with your keywords is advisable.
Ok. I agree. I made mistakes here.
3. Ugly site design – A good looking, user-friendly website is recommended rather than using the same theme across all your websites.
Not a problem. All my websites are beeeyoootiful. 🙂
4. Weak content – I mean this is quite obvious. If your website has no quality content, it shouldn’t take up space on Page 1.
5. Few or zero value propositions – High bounce rate in other words. Keeping your bounce rate to as low as possible should help in letting Google know that users like your website.
Google Analytics can of course measure this very well. My bounce rate can be as low as 3%. Yeaaaah!
6. Domain name is keyword – Still looking for exact matching domains? Think again.
This went out of vogue somewehere last year? But I wasn’t sure then.
7. Excessive back-linking – Using the same anchor text everywhere won’t help increase your rankings anymore.
In fact, it will get you a penalty. So it is wise to use Google’s keyword tool to search for related keywords as well as use click here type backlinks and simply your domain name as an anchor.
However this update is NOT PERFECT. I have been getting illogical results on Google Search.
Case in point:
Google results apparently now worse than Bing.
Check out this article as they scan the positions of various keywords in the search engines: http://searchengineland.com/did-googles-search-results-get-better-or-worse-119469
I really hope Google checks out all this instances of irrelevant results appearing on Page 1 – denying a genuine website that has relevant content from appearing there.
Matt Cutts posted about some mistakes in the Google updates of April 2012: https://plus.google.com/109412257237874861202/posts/BBDZDq3a5DR
Good on Google for acknowledging the mistakes but it can has great impact on Google usability if keywords throw out irrelevant results.