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Monday, January 27, 2014

The updates to Google implemented in recent years – namely Panda and Penguin, the two overhauls of Google’s search algorithm – have seriously altered the manner in which websites are able to implement SEO strategies.

However, even despite these changes, it is not necessarily true that all of the work you have put in on SEO will go to waste.

In this article we will explore a few different things you can do to protect your standing in the search engine results and safeguard the flow of traffic to your site against these and future algorithmic changes.

Generate Unique Content

The general purpose of these changes to Google has been to improve the quality of search results for Google users.

Perhaps the most immediate indicator of what Google would designate a low-quality website is a site which features duplicated content. If your site is full of articles copy-pasted verbatim from another source, Google will pick up on this quickly and your search ranking will suffer as a result.

Not only must your content be original, but it must also be something of value to a reader. The content which you publish to your site should be:

- Unique: Do not rip your articles directly from some other sources.
- Well-written: Your posts should have no obvious grammar or spelling errors.
- Valuable:  Does your content offer something worth reading?
- Multi-dimensional: Consider reinforcing your written content with other media such as videos, audio, images, etc. (though be sure to do this only when it is actually called-for).

Having unique content on your site will very effectively help lower your bounce rate (the percentage of people who click on your site then leave shortly without performing any further action).

A high bounce rate is something to avoid, as Google considers the number of people who visit and then quickly leave your site a valuable indicator of the site’s overall quality.

Avoid Spamming Links

Google’s Penguin update was designed to specifically target articles which engage in spamming links.

After this change was incorporated into Google, sites which engaged in excessive, unnecessary link spamming were punished for the practice. Therefore, it is important to naturally develop a profile of links to your website.

You can build a portfolio of natural links by doing the following:

- Draw links to your site by creating relevant content to which people will actually want to build a link.
- Use raw URLs (a link which features the actual URL rather than anchor text). Penguin considers this a sign of a naturally-built link.
- When choosing anchor texts, use generic ones such as “click here” or “learn more.”
- Avoid software which automatically builds links.
- Maintain a balance between no-follow and do-follow links.

Take Advantage of Social Media

Of course, social media is an excellent tool for websites of all types. Integrating social media into your marketing approach can draw countless new readers to your site.

Minimally, you will want to be sure to have:

- Branded accounts on Facebook and Google+. A Twitter account would also be a wise idea.
- If images are a significant element of your marketing strategy, supplementary accounts on Pinterest and Instagram would also be helpful.
- Sharing buttons on every page of content throughout your site. This will encourage readers to share things which they find interesting on their own social networks.

You will want to stay on top of the management of your social media. Provide updates and reminders multiple times a week, and constantly share new content in order to keep yourself visible.

Having the best social media portfolio possible will affect the way in which Google views your site and make your site appear more reputable.

Build a List of Email Subscribers

Having a list of email subscribers is very important for any online marketer. After all, the people who subscribe to your emails are people who have already visited your site and found it satisfactory (otherwise they wouldn’t have given out their email address in the first place).
Try using an autoresponder such as Fluttermail, and then begin collecting email addresses from your visitors. Many marketers do this by offering something in exchange such as a free e-book or something of that sort.

After all, if you’re trying to attract future sales, who better to market to than people who already like your site?

While the changes to Google might have significantly changed the SEO game, there are still many ways to attract new readers to your site – but the most effective method is to make sure that your site offers long-term quality.

Author Bio:
Guest author Ted Lamphere works for a local marketing firm.  One of their clients was nearly caught up in last year’s algorithm changes.  Fortunately, they (and their cornhole supplies!) weathered the storm.  Now, Ted is helping his client diversify and enhance their site.  For example, they recently produced this video about the cornhole game.  In addition to helping Custom Corntoss shore up their site, Ted is also sharing his thoughts about the process with online readers.  

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