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If you are even marginally involved in SEO, you have probably heard of “Google Panda” and the “Penguin” updates. If you are more heavily involved in SEO and its related fields, then you are probably well aware of the impact that these ranking algorithms have on the Web in general. With the constant revisions and new developments in search algorithms by Google, SEO practitioners and website site developers are constantly finding themselves struggling to keep up.
It is somewhat amazing to think that it has been almost ten years since the first “Boston” update took place. This was one of the first truly significant changes made to Google’s algorithms, and in many ways, its considerable impact is still felt to this very day. Since then, Google has released updates with increasing frequency, and many of them are almost just as earth shaking as “Boston”.
If you have been wondering what the consequence of these frequent updates are, here’s a shortlist:
• Spammy websites will be booted off
• Fresh material is developed with every update
• Search results will be more accurate
• SEO practitioners and webmasters will be forced to toe the line
All of these benefits are indicative of Google’s focus on providing their customers with a better product. However, the new algorithms do require SEO practitioners and webmasters to keep up with the new changes or risk being left by the wayside. Rather than viewing these changes as oppressive, your efforts might be better served by seeing them as a way to work with Google in providing your own audiences with better content and a more satisfactory web experience. Here are a few SEO foundational strategies that will help ensure your site’s ability to keep up with the changing face of the web:
If your webpage takes a long time to load, you not only risk alienating potential users but being ignored by Google and Bing as well. Statistics show that every 1/10th of a second in additional loading time equates to about 1% drop in sales. This may seem like an insignificant amount, but it does add up.
One of the most effective ways to make your website SEO proof is to optimize and compress your images and consolidate your CSS. Not only will this help you get a better search engine ranking; it will also help you attract audiences and keep them glued to your site’s content instead of having them go to a competing site.
Duplicate content is quite possibly the worst thing you can place on your site. Nowadays, search engines have become remarkably effective at sniffing out duplicate content, so you really are only harming yourself by hosting them. If your content is borrowed, repeated, or scraped, don’t even bother hosting it as search engines are bound to detect them sooner or later.
Here are some tips on how to prevent duplication and help you SEO proof your website:
• Use the same URLs for both the mobile and desktop versions of your site
• Use a 301 redirect in case you are unable to fix a bad link
• Don’t use parameters where robots can index them
• Use old standby meta tags such as ‘rel=canonical’ or “noindex” in order to guard against inadvertently duplicating content
Most people think that website structure is all about the UX or the UI. This is true to some extent, but it is equally important to ensure that your site structure makes your website SEO proof. Keep in mind that search engines are basically blind in the sense that the structure of a site matters little to them. Your efforts would therefore be better served by focusing on making your site’s UI as attractive and as useful to human audiences as possible. For starters, you should make sure that all your important links can easily be found in logical places on your site. It would also help to provide links to related products or services, and ensure that lesser webpages are grouped together according to the proper categories and sub categories.
It is important to realize that SEO is as much about the audience as it is about meeting technical requirements. Instead of focusing all your attention on factors such as keyword count and link spamming, you would be better off focusing on the needs of your audience and providing for those needs. By providing your audiences with quality content, you will be able to build a reputation for quality and make your site SEO proof at the same time. This approach will be way more beneficial for your site in the long-term than attempts to conform to any technical requirements that are likely to change soon anyway.
When it comes down to it, the best way to make your site SEO proof is to address the needs of audience. While familiarity with the technical considerations is always useful, you will always get better results by making sure that your audience gets what its needs. In order to accomplish that, you should focus on:
• Working with Google and not against it
• Contributing to the user experience
• Building your site’s reputation for quality content
• Interacting with your target audience
By following these basic SEO proofing strategies, you may not have to worry about algorithm changes ever again.