On April 24th, Google launched the Penguin update. Just 5 days before that, Google rolled out another Panda update (Panda 3.5). Since then, there has been a lot of speculation about what the updates were and how sites were affected and why.
For PR & Marketing professionals who care less about the how and why and more about being successful when it comes to search engine optimization, here’s a list of tips to help keep your content on the top of the search engine result pages (SERPs) regardless of how many updates Google makes to its algorithms:
1. Writing good content has always been and will always be most important
This may sound obvious, but you would be shocked by the number of PR Pros that are confused by their SERPS when they post a story that their followers could care less about. Learn about your audience. Find out the types of information that they are interested in and then write about it. It’s as simple as that.
2. Use relevant anchor text, just not too much
Don’t be afraid to use anchor text. With the recent updates, it can be scary to include anchor text for fear of angering one of Google’s’ cute furry black and white pets, but don’t let them scare you into submission. Having over 60% of your anchor text being a “money keyword” did not guarantee that your site would be hit by the penalty (many of the sites not affected had numbers just as bad), but if under 50% of your anchor text for incoming links were “money keywords” it’s all but guaranteed you weren’t affected by this update.
3. Include compelling multimedia assets
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve recommended adding photos, videos and other assets to press releases and other branded content online. Yet, even after all this time, the majority of content that is submitted to us through CisionWire is without multimedia. It’s the easiest thing you can do to showcase your content so find an image that relates to your story and post it alongside of your content!
4. Encourage social sharing of your content
Have you been building a following on social networking sites? If so, what types of news and posts are your followers currently sharing? Are videos more popular among your fans? Do infographics win every time? Find out what makes your followers engage and give them what they want! Then, make it easy to share by adding sharing tools to your website or blog or posting it on an external service like Social Publish that encourages social sharing.
5. Always link to relevant sites, never cloak your links
This is really two tips rolled into one, but always link to quality sites that support your content. I like to use sites that reference a study or survey that provides evidence to support my content, but link to other blogs or sites that are seen as being experts in your field. Also, make sure you never cloak your links. Cloaking is a search engine optimization (SEO) technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser. People don’t like to be fooled so make sure you are transparent in your SEO tactics.