SEO Marketing Firms & Website Owners Review Content Quality Guidelines
Summary: Content development is now the most critical function of website marketing since the Panda Update was enacted by Google in late February of 2011. Learn how Google’s latest update has affected online marketing firms, SEO, and website owners.
High Quality – Original Content Is The Key To Organic SEO Rankings
Since the Google Farmers Update, also known as the Panda Update (named after the programmer/engineer who created it) that began to take effect in late February 2011, many website owners and SEO marketing firms have paused to review and revise their SEO strategies. It has long been known that high quality, original content is the key to successful organic SEO rankings. Both Google and Yahoo continue to recommend this as the most effective way to stay visible on their systems.
Yet even as programming was rewritten to adhere to stronger guidelines, many SEO marketing companies continued to engage in content and linking strategies that were questionable in order to attain high rankings quickly, under competitive keyphrases. Robots are becoming ‘smarter’ at recognizing these types of tricks – and penalizing websites that utilize these types of methods.
Google, Yahoo, Ask, Bing, and others provide an essential and free service to users of the World Wide Web. These search engines are designed to quickly sift through mountains of websites and point the user to the information requested. When a person types a keyword or phrase into any search engine, he or she expects the first and subsequent pages of the search to answer the query with websites that closely match the inquiry. If a search engine fails to do this – why use it at all?
Google is the most frequently used search engine by far, capturing approximately 80% of all online traffic for queries. Yahoo is second, providing almost 15% of search engine queries. Google can afford to hire the best programmers. These professionals are continually identifying search engine marketing tricks. Their job is to write code that can quickly identify websites where tricks are applied and downgrade them on Google search engine rankings, instead of rewarding them with page one positions.
As the World Wide Web has grown and expanded, so has the profession of search engine marketing. Training programs in the SEO field are still in the nascent stages of development. Most accredited colleges and universities do not provide certification or training in SEO, Internet Marketing, or Search Engine Marketing. As a result, this profession has obtained a dubious reputation. Many SEO marketing firms must hire employees that have demonstrated their skills in promoting websites but have no solid certification to back this up.
Despite this lack in educational options, there are still many highly ethical SEO marketing specialists. Unfortunately, the non-technical consumer has limited means and knowledge to identify them for certain. I will review some basic ‘white hat’ SEO practices that are most effective in promoting websites post “Panda Update.” Applying these techniques to website marketing is more critical than it ever was – in light of the recent update.
Google’s Search Engine Quality Content Guidelines
- Do not use hidden text or links on the web page. This practice is known as cloaking. The visitor sees something different than search engines do – and Google and Yahoo can now identify these pages and downgrade their rank. Integrate inbound and outbound links into website content that naturally belongs. Links should help the user navigate the website and the World Wide Web and expand upon information given.
- Keyword stuffing web pages or blog posts with irrelevant keywords to improve ranking is not permitted by Google. Google search engines allow up to 4% keyword density on a page. More than 4% could be considered as excessive keywords. Google bots no longer read meta tags (though Yahoo and other search engines do). Title and description tags are the focus now. Make sure the title and description tags closely match the content of the web page. If there is no relevant content on the page – create some!
- Make sure that web pages are written with quality, original content. If the website owner wants to republish materials written by other authors – always credit the original author and, when possible — link to the source. Good writing has always been republished and syndicated. But website owners and search engine marketing firms need to limit the amount of duplicate content on a website for optimum results on search engine ranking.
- Do not link the website to web spammers or ‘bad neighborhoods’ on the Web. ‘Bad neighborhoods’ are easy to identify because they are full of links and images but provide very little if any, original content.
- Do not populate a web page with nothing but links (and no content). Google, Yahoo, or other search engines may then identify this page as a ‘link farm’ and downgrade it.
SEO companies and website owners who want to succeed in optimizing their websites correctly and who want to provide clients with legitimate ranking strategies will not take shortcuts. They will realize the importance of using keywords when and where they are necessary and either optimize content that is already written or provide original content for a website with keywords embedded.
Nowadays, company and organizational websites that attain a high ranking on search engines will be engaged in true, white hat linking strategies such as social media bookmarking, article and press release syndication, and link building to related websites.
If these white hat techniques are offered by an SEO company, a consumer can be certain they are legitimate.