What Are Some SEO Best Practices for the New Year?
Google is making changes again to how they display page names in the natural search results, and now the SEO community is in full scale fury. But that’s not all that’s happened this month. There was plenty of SEO news to digest in August 2021 and as always, resident SEO gurus Jono and Joost shared all of it in their monthly webinar.
SEO is a big part of Google’s strategy to stay in front of the competition and stay relevant. In fact, Google has admitted as much in an interview with Matt Cutts, Google’s chief SEO officer. As part of their SEO strategy, Google has been employing Page Rank (PR) metrics to determine an websites page quality score. The logic behind this is that if a website has a higher PR, it will be more trusted and recognized by Google and its organic rankings will rise faster. So if you want to stay at the top of the search engine results page, work on your site’s page quality.
Google revealed two major updates recently that will have a major impact on how SEO ranks and what pages are ranked best. They announced the recent changes to their algorithms in an interview with SEO guru Matt Cutts. One of the updates that will really have an effect on SEO is the new Google Suggested Topic. This is designed to make it easier for people to find the information they are looking for when searching for a topic related to their query. Google says that over 70% of queries are now handled by their new Suggestion Engine.
SEO has been discussing the implications of Google’s update for months now. The big question revolves around whether or not the update will hurt SEO. It seems that some people are taking the new Google Update too far. Google has already started penalizing sites for duplicate content, but it seems that this new feature will make it harder for SEO to compete with sites that have a lot of original content. Google suggests that sites should have one thing in common, a consistent theme. That theme should be news-worthy and informative.
As far as SEO goes, the only way this new feature will hurt anyone is if a site has very little content. If a site is constantly changing, trying to attract new visitors, it will likely get punished under the new structure and labeled as spam. It may appear as a slight fluctuation in ranking, but if it is consistently changing in rank without much new content, then it will most likely get punished. A wise SEO community member who is paying attention to this will be able to catch this in time and avoid any negative consequences from the broad core algorithm update.
Now that Google has started using a new scoring methodology for ranking PPC ads, every SEO community member should be aware of what this means and what SEO can do to counteract it. First of all, we know that Google is looking at two different things when they are computing how high a site should rank. One of those factors is the total amount of backlinks a site receives and another part is the quality of those links. Google has been tightening up their link policies over the past few months and they have finally come to the point where they are banning sites that have a pattern of receiving low quality backlinks. Google has also mentioned the importance of a good user experience in their recent updates and their clampdown on low quality sites will most likely continue with this update.
If SEO practices are done incorrectly, it can hurt a site’s chances to rank highly for many years to come. This is why the smartest SEO minds in the business are getting into short term strategies of increasing traffic to a site as quickly as possible to minimize the impact from the Google algorithm updates. This is where savvy SEO professionals can take advantage of some of the new tools such as Google analytics. These tools are free to use but you should only use them if you really know what you are doing with them because many people use them incorrectly and end up hurting their ranking position with Google.
The biggest news out of Google’s algorithm updates is the news that Google will not share any of the new information until the company has reviewed and approved it. They are doing this to give searchers and website owners the best chance to get the valuable information. That means that if you have smart research techniques such as using anchor text filters, using the right keywords, using news releases and making sure that your web pages are optimized well, Google will share the valuable information with you but only after you have given them permission. If you try to game the system or trick Google into sharing information before they have given their approval, you will probably find yourself on a bad end. Because of this, the best SEO practices are to make sure that your web pages are as fresh and relevant as possible and that your links are all valid links with Google as well.