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|Put Up or Shut Up - Share your best tip for better Google rankings|
Several members have contacted me about the noise level rising and not enough actionable information to help Google rankings. So let's see if we can have a good thread to remind us of the countless actionable tips that are still valid for Google. I'm sure many of us veterans have forgotten many good tips that we used to profit greatly from.
So let's post those helpful tips here and remind each other of simple ways to do better in Google.
#1 - Make sure your audience finds significant value on every page they visit. If they don't find value on your page, they will bounce back to the serps (that's not good), not to mention that others won't link to your low value page and worst of all you have just lost a potential customer. It does not matter if you think the page has value, it only matters if the visitor feels their is significant value. One way to start identifying possible low value pages is to look at high bounce rate & low time on page. If a page has a 90% bounce rate but a 5 minute avg. visit then you probably don't have to worry.
#2 - Check your site on a regular basis for errors. I am talking about broken links, broken images, multiple redirect chains, typos, etc. Websites with high levels of errors perform worse in the serps. I don't know if Google is directly doing this or because an error prone site scares away users & backlinks which then leads to bad Google rankings. I have cleaned up several sites with very high amounts of errors and they all bounce back once I fixed their issues. Even if this had zero impact on Google rankings, it is just smart to clean up errors to avoid users getting frustrated and leaving your site.
#3 - Don't blindly follow advice on seo forums including this one. Anyone can post online including people that are not very smart. You should research and test ideas before making changes to your cash cow website. Even if someone is not an idiot you may be following advice that was good but is now outdated and bad due to Google constantly changing. It is better to be a leader and do your own research instead of being a follower and end up walking off a cliff.
What would you add to this?
#1 Test and be patient.
Continuously test out the different content, style, layout, and functionality of your site. Measure different specs to ensure maximum conversion rate and money.
At the same time be patient and give it time for the changes to take effect, traffic does not tilt overnight for the majority of the changes made on your site, and the shift can sometimes be very subtle.
#2 Focus on the metrics that count:
Really figure out what really matters for your business. Ranking and keyword is really just noise. At the end, income money and actual traffic is the magic metric that really counts. Figure out the metrics that affect your bottom line and go from there. By stop stressing on the pagerank, etc, you can focus on the things that matter.
Network online and offline with other webmasters and your target audiences. Listen and understand what people want and need. Many opportunities do not appear out of thin air but rather be cultivated from somewhere.
#4 Avoid stupid mistakes
Avoid mistakes related to your servers and simple coding errors. This refers to making sure your site stays online, always ready for future expected spikes of traffic. And avoid simple errors such as noindex your entire site due to mistake coding.
#5 Never spam your own cash making site
If needed for testing and what ever purpose, never put your nest egg at risk. If a technique works, it is much better to do it on a small scale rather than "all-in" with your major site holdings. And even if a "technique" works, don't risk it with your cash cow neither.
#6 Don't Be Lazy and be willing to learn
Always have an open mind to learn and reshape your course of action along the way. This is an ever changing business, without the mind to constantly change your methods, you will be eliminated from the SERP, sooner or later.
1. Stop thinking in terms of the least you can get away with, and concentrate on the best you can do.
2. Evaluate your site and your niche realistically and objectively, and if you can't do that, find someone who can (and is not afraid to tell you the truth).
1. Make sure the site is technically sound.
2. Focus on users. Focus on users. FOCUS ON THE FREAKING USERS.
3. User TESTING (it's cheap and effective)
4. Manage your expectations (specially when it comes to Google)
5. Don't take what Google does personally (good or bad).
6. Always be working on more traffic channels, even if you're wildly successful in Google.
7. Recognize when it's time to move on to something else.
#1 - Provide top notch products and real service to your customers. They'll come back to buy more and recommend you to others - even when Google buries you on page 10 or SERPs.
#2 - Develop an opt-in mailing list and send customers or readers information they want to get on a regular basis. You'll become your own traffic machine that way.
|brotherhood of LAN|
1. Buy/rent a decent server, preferably located near your userbase for the best user experience. I "click back" a couple of times a day when a SERP takes longer than a few seconds to load.
#1 Add useful content on a regular basis. Create content that people link to or share because they want to.
#2 Try to keep your costs manageable so if Google's next move hits your traffic, you can still survive.
#3 Add value to your site.
#4 Place the user experience higher than most other aspects even if it means turning down revenue. This means say no to overly intrusive ads like pop-ups, pop-unders, flash banners with sound that start playing without any user initiation etc.
#5 Try not to be everything to everyone with your site.
#6 Create your own mailing list and information product(s).
#7 Mine your logs for keywords. Find out what your visitors come looking for and create related content.
#8 Have a good internal linking scheme based more on the user experience more than for any sort of optimization for the search engines.
#9 Look for dead links, both internal and external, on your site regularly.
#10 Don't worry too much about Google.
#1 Never stop building.
#2 What was cutting edge when you built it, is now probably dated.
#3 Content is still King, but visual content is really royal.
#4 Too many choices leads to no choice.
#5 As already stated, it's all about the user.
#6 Never believe Google.
I'm sure they rank sites on something close to what is presented in Webmaster Tools. Where they show 404's from a page that's 410.
If the page is 410, then it really doesn't make sense to keep it as part of the link graph, does it? I despise them.
Apologies for the semi-diversion.
Many here have talked about being outranked by scraper sites - even on sites that have a long history of ranking very well. I worked with such a site that ran into the scraper issue when Panda 1.0 first rolled out.
What to do? It seemed to me that somehow, the original site had lost its authority despite a powerful backlink profile. How to fix that? What we did was:
1. Use PuSH (PubSubHubub) technology [code.google.com] to let Google know immediately when new content is published.
2. Delay the existing RSS feed until Google had grabbed the new content.
3. Set up authorship authentication through Google+.
Note that this site uses a stable of ten well respected writers and it seemed that this could only help. It did. Within a few weeks, rankings came back and then just began to climb and climb.
#1. Make your site structure easy to navigate.
#2. Always compare your content to your competitors and try hard to bring the most valuable information for every piece of topic.
#3. Adapt pages to the information provides - Long pages and/or series of articles (on specific topic) are a good practice.
#4. Never over-optimized - Forget plain old SEO when it comes to optimize keywords. If the content is good, it will rank good. If it's not, no keyword stuffing will help it.
#5. Never become Google dependent (This is hard but a must) - Find other sources of traffic other than organic search engine traffic.
#6. Pay for top writers - Never compromise on research and content quality.
#7. Offer guides and eBooks for free.
#8. Develop strong Facebook fan page and engage with users in social media networks.
#9. Develop a forum.
#9 Develop a forum
No thanks, I will never again(in foreseeable future do a forum).
Awful lot of work for not much benefit.
Put a lot of creative effort into your content and design.
Anticipate the interests of your audience. Look into what users might want when they come to your site for a two or three or four word query. Imagine a range of users. Anticipate vocabulary. Imagine possible searcher intentions.
If you're selling a product, ask yourself what users want to know about it before they buy, during the sale, after they buy. Ask others as well. Do research. Look at buying cycles. Talk to experts and new users. Test.
Are you providing channels for customers to get answers after they encounter some difficulties? If they have a great experience, is there some way for them to share that with others in a way that works for your niche?
If you're offering information, how can you present it in a fresh and interesting way? How can you make information easy to find and read or see on your site? How can you make difficult information understandable while not boring the experts?
What will keep users totally engaged with your site? Is it range and depth of content? Is it an app or interactivity? Is it really good videos? Fast page loads? Is it writing style? Is it the absence of junk pages and fluff? Is it respect for your audience? Perhaps it's a combination.
What will make visitors return? Fresh information? New products? Ongoing basic goods and services? Community? You want a site that's special enough in its niche for visitors to bookmark, recommend to their friends, and link to.
And chances are that it will need to work on mobile devices too.
OK I admit the following aren't directly targeted to "ranking better in Google" - who the hell knows how to do that these days.... :) - but they should in THEORY help you rank better (according to Google guidelines), and none of the below will harm your rankings.
#1 Diversify your online income as much as you can (without compromising the quality of each site/venture).
#2 Related to #1, if you have any spare time in your general workday, think of a new site or new online venture to fill that work time up with, or something productive to add to your current sites. In other words, get even more disciplined. Work hard. It's as much about working hard as working smart these days (sadly!). Some may disagree, but a good work ethic never did anyone any harm, and it might bring you a bit of luck too.
#3 Related to #2, spend less time on places like webmasterworld.com and other SEO forums. How much do you REALLY learn from these places? Whatever it is you DO learn, you can still learn it in one or two visits a week rather than 10 visits a day (I'm berating myself here, believe me). Finish reading this post and leave! I promise to finish writing this post and leave.
#4 DON'T check the SERPs to see where you rank or what's going on there. It's a BAD HABIT (a habit I quit and then go back through sheer intrigue, but it is a bad habit). Why do you need to check the SERPs? You will know how well you're doing via your site visitor stats. Forget about the SERPs no matter what. I think it's unavoidable during exceptional times like a Penguin update, but for all other times of the year (95-98% of the year), forget it.
#5 Forget about the idea of building links, and think instead about building organic traffic through referals. That normally means guest blogging. The better your writing, the easier it is to get published. Insist on nofollow links to be on the safe side. I know some will disagree with that, but it's easier to be collateral damage if one of those sites you get published on is caught selling links / advertorials and your link is deemed as "bought". How can you possibly vet every site you publish on 100%? You can't. And who cares - if you're getting decent referal traffic, who cares...
#7 Pick up the phone and network. I've found the phone next to my laptop is a great social networking device. I've networked with fellow web developers and we've swapped work and guest articles. Network with fellow professionals. They're very receptive as you're talking about related matters. On the scale of hot to freezing, these are warm calls. Offer them something and ask for something. This is old-school business and has solid laws and principles that don't really change because they're based on human nature.
I just implemented Pubsubhubbub on my site. I can't seem to find if there is anything I need to do offsite for implementation. Is the onsite setup all that there is to do?
Yep, that's all there is to it.
- Build good and fast, and keep updating.
- Watermark images (not too popular but...), use your own style and make it noticeable. If you build content readers will come, scrappers too.
- Use good photographs, your own if possible. Scrappers have terrible pics or too generic. Stand out for this, besides many reach the websites due to image search.
- Constant updates will make SEs like you and index your sites quickly, make sure you are the first to get your content indexed. You'll be surprised how many write good content but blogs get that indexed first. Couldn't agree more with tedster.
- Learn how to write for the web. Content is more than facts or plain data.
- Clean code, your web page should have more content than code.
- Content is expensive, think twice about hiring or taking any content collaborations.
- Careful with forums. They are useful but also vulnerable to "user generated content" that you should keep checking. It could be more work than the expected benefit.
- Have an opinion. There are business, content, editorial and personal webpages (and many more) but personal webpages are not the only place for opinions. I mean, stand out with a mission and objective. A webpage only about widgets it's too cold, let your widget audience that you also believe on respecting widgets, how to recycle them, etc. Remember the "don't be evil" thing? there are positive ways to give your sites that touch of "do good".
- Old but good: validate, check for errors, your site must be faster than your competitors.
- Use good descriptions and intros. Besides your own style try to think how others would write and try it, try to mimic how people do searches.
It's usually not a great idea to see a site and say "I can do that too."
It is, however, perfectly ok to see a site and say "I can do that better."
Make you blog your default homepage and don't purposely develop links to the blog's homepage that could be deemed unnatural in the future.
That way if you do happen to get devalued for inorganic links all your solid 'good' links are segregated already.
[edited by: fathom at 10:04 pm (utc) on Jun 4, 2013]
It's often a far better use of time to create content that few people are capable of, whether that's through the skill involved, the unique perspective you have, or something else, rather than doing things that anyone with a keyboard is able to.
Stop chasing high traffic keywords, and discover the long tail.
"Cheap green widgets" certainly has less volume than "green widgets", but the conversion rate more than makes up for it.
As a bonus, both your competition, and Google, aren't as focused on the long tail. Easier to rank, and Google may not yet have plastered it with their own supplemental ads and/or local listings.
(1.) Don't set up shop in google's path.
*the niche you used to be in before google ran you over.
Optimize your website. Work on page by page make a list of all the draw back and flaws then get them corrected one by one. So that you don't let your visitors to leave the site because of incomplete content or broken links.
And create stellar content, provide full information, make it relevant and unique, so that you visitors don't need to go somewhere else in search of same information.
Focus on your visitors, not Google.
1- If your a company hire an inside SEO dedicated to the business.
2- Send them to events such as Pubcon Vegas for networking and meeting industry specific people.
3- Have them become an active member on boards, forums, blogs, tweets within your field and prove your qualified in your area or nitch.
4- Study read news events within your area and know your nitch, know any new news, have alerts set up so you can get info out fast.
5- After you become well educated in your area don't be afraid to confront misleading posters with fact, this really helps (when you haven't put your foot in your mouth) get people to follow and or add you to their feeds.
[edited by: tedster at 1:29 pm (utc) on Jun 5, 2013]
[edit reason] fix the Vegas conference name [/edit]
I have seen many people create extremely big Facebook pages and divert 90% of their traffic and revenues from Facebook, it is less fussy as well. So if you have 400k or 500k fans on Facebook, you can pretty much void Google. However, having that many fans is a big challenge, but I already see dozens of examples where friends have achieved this target.
Clear blog comments of cruft and spam, or better still ensure it never sees the light of day on the live pages.
Make sure the technical implementation is the best it can be.
Analyse the click journey. Can it be optimised? Is there an easy way to get to related pages?
Does the site look like a genuine business? Surprising how many do not.
Don't overthink it.
Here's a good one. Do nothing. Ignore Google and all that SEO stuff.
Build sites that have the potential to go viral in social media. If you do that successfully, you'll have tons of SM traffic, *and* Google will rank you higher.
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