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Changes In Search Engine Optimization

Written by: Milly Welsh
Published: October 2012

If you have a website for your business, you may have seen a lot of movement lately in your placement in search engines, particularly on Google. Why all the sudden changes? Google's search results are based on an algorithm, a mathematical equation that determines the order of websites relevant to certain keywords or search terms. Google has made a major change to this algorithm at least once a month since April.

That isn't to say that Google has changed the rules. The guidelines for what Google is looking for (or not looking for) in websites hasn’t changed, what has changed is the severity of the existing penalties and the way in which they are determining the websites that are violating them.

If your site needs help recovering from the current algorithm changes or you just want to generally improve your standings, here are some tips that can help...

Check The Sites You Are Linking To:
If you are linking to other websites or engaging in link exchanges, it may be time to do some links house keeping. If you are linking to a site that has recently been penalized for violating Google’s guidelines, your site may end up taking a hit too. It’s a good idea to occasionally check the status of the websites you are linking to. A good way to do this is to check the site’s page rank. You can do this with a tool like Unless the site is brand new or you know for a fact the website is legitimate, a page rank of less than 2 can be a red flag.

Keyword Stuffing - It’s Always Been A Bad Idea - Now It’s Worse:
Keyword stuffing is the act of repeating a keyword over and over again in the text or links on a web page.  We’ve all been to sites that do it and it’s obvious as a visitor why it’s a bad idea. Web pages that exploit keyword stuffing just don’t read well and do not make for a pleasant user experience. Make sure your content is geared towards people, not web bots. Using your keywords in your links, especially in your sites navigation is a good thing, but only if the page is actually closely related to the keyword. And as always, make sure you don’t overdo it. A practice that has often used by SEO professionals and webmasters is adding links at the bottom or footer of the page filled with keyword stuffed links. This used to be fairly effective but since the recent changes it’s likely to push your site back, not forward.

Size Matters - Make Sure Your Website Is BIG On Content:
The larger and more informative your website is, the better it does on search engines and the more likely visitors are to come back.  A great way to continually add content is to develop an articles section or blog for your site. This is a great way to keep visitors informed on what’s new and exciting in your industry. Some business owners use the excuse that their industry isn’t interesting enough to justify a blog, but get creative. If geeks, waiters and even dentists can blog successfully, so can you!

Make Sure To Link To Your Website When You Post To Social Media:
Social media links are really important but most businesses don’t take advantage by linking back to a landing page on their website each time they make a post. If you follow the tip above, you should have a page or blog post that backs up the point you are trying to make on your social media page. Linking to it gives you brownie points with search engines and will also drive traffic to your website.

These tips can help but if you’ve noticed an extreme dip in your search placement, it may be an indication you need the help of a professional. If you have any questions about search engine optimization, feel free to contact me.

Milly Welsh

Milly Welsh

Milly Welsh is the Priority Learning webmaster and Owner/Operator of Zebralove Web Solutions, a web development company located in southern Maine.
Zebralove Web Solutions