Before you start to make changes to your website, first you need to know if your site has been hit by Google Panda or Penguin or it’s mobile algorithm. If you look at your site statistics, you will see a significant traffic drop on or around the 24th April 2012 if Penguin is the cause, or around the 21st April 2015 if mobile compatibility is your issue.
The keywords that dominate your exact match anchor text are the ones usually hit the hardest by Penguin. The free back-link checking tool at majesticseo.com is the easiest way to analyse your existing keyword anchor text.
Before the launch of Google Penguin, you could use as much as 70 percent exact match keyword density and rank well, in one step this dropped to 5%. The bulk of your links ought to be made up of Brand, URL or ‘junk’ link text as opposed to target keywords.
Brand links are variations of either your registered company name or website name. Use different permutations of your web address for URL links.
Focus on building links from different IP addresses. Links are more powerful if they originate from sites with content relevant to your site. Website authority can be measured by Google PR and ‘Trust’ score metrics. A back-link from a page that’s already being linked to from a quality resource is a powerful link to get.
Google and Linking Networks
Don’t take the linking shortcut of using an automated linking network to build your links. You might get a short term gain, but the back-links are generally of poor quality and in the long run Google will find the network eventually and devalue all the back-links it provides, often penalizing sites that are linked to.
The absolute maximum on-page keyword density you should target to keep Google happy is 2 to 3%. Adding a link to a .gov or .edu site from your content will enhance your domains ‘quality score’. (assuming link source category is appropriate for your niche).
Your site content
High quality, well-written and genuinely unique content is the only content that you can publish on your site. Google Panda loves to see contextual linking from related keywords and phrases within your content to other pages of your website, or to authority domain content pages.
A relevant video will help to increase the time spent on your page, and pictures should be used to break up large blocks of text. Every image on your pages should have relevant alt text that describes the image using a variety of long-tail keywords where necessary.
Make sure that you use a spelling checker to test all your content and that it makes sense to you. Google can determine the ‘reading age’ for different text which enables it to establish if a professor or a schoolboy wrote your site content.
As a rule, target around 500 words or more for every page of content that you write as this has been shown to be beneficial for search engine results.
Google likes content that real people like, so write your site content so that your website visitors enjoy consuming anything you write. The search engines will reward you when they can see real visitors engaging with your site.
When Google reads your content it uses a process called latent semantic indexing to relate keywords together.
“Rather than keep repeating your primary keywords time and time again, you should try to use alternative words for the same thing as this will feel more ‘natural’ and help your rankings. Forget about keyword density and provide rich content that covers the subject in comprehensive detail instead.”
Using Metadata Tags
All pages of your website must have unique meta data. Duplications show that your site isn’t the best quality and if you have enough duplications you will be penalized. Each page of your web site really should have it’s own bespoke metadata. This is a demonstration that you have put care into your site.
Duplications will be penalized, especially if you have a lot of them. Meta description tags are usually used under your page title in the search engine results. A compelling description tag will increase the amount of clicks you receive which will improve your user engagement score in Google.
Slow websites won’t rank very well. Use YSlow in Firefox to measure the load speed of your websites content. The quantity of visitors that don’t like what they find on your site and hit the back button is called the bounce rate. It needs to be 55% or less for top Google rankings.
Average Visit Duration
You should try to increase the average page views per visitor statistic because Google uses this as an important indicator of the quality of your site content. When Google sends you a visitor, it assesses how long they stay on your site. Longer visits indicate relevancy and high quality content that people like.
If you need to know more about search engine optimization, how to apply SEO to your website pages and how to build high quality, future proof back-links to your website, enrol on an SEO training course online where you will learn the skill necessary to optimize your website professionally.
SEO is a constantly changing process, as search engines adjust their ranking algorithms to amend the order of the sites listed at or near the top of SERPs.
As a website owner, you need to stay abreast of these changes as they happen to prevent drops in your traffic.