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Saturday, February 5, 2011

SEO is A’ Changing (Again)

by Ronnie Weber on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 4:08pm

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, Google (the premier search engine) has changed the way they rank websites (again). While Google often updates their algorithm in an effort to provide better relevancy (and reduce the number of “spam” websites in top spots), several of these changes are worth noting.

1) Content copying and scraping is wrong – Google is taking major steps to eliminate sites that copy content from ranking well so that the searcher will likely find the original author of an article when they search. Many sites have learned how to scrape the web and take content from original sources, i.e. compiling a website built out of nothing but other people’s work. Consider these sites like the parking sites of old, or content farms, only more sophisticated. With this latest update, Google intends to clean up the web. To read more about content copying, click here.

2) Customer reviews do matter – Your reputation is critical to your success in Google. If you own a business that tends to have a lot of complaints, you will have a difficult time ranking. This makes sense. Why, on earth, would Google want to promote a company that ultimately provides their users with a negative end result? While online reviews are often written by competitors or a single customer with a bad experience, they are still important. If you want to be proactive, you should ASK your customers to write you a review. Even more aggressively, you can send them a link to your Yelp or Google Places page. To read more about why being bad to your customer is bad for your business, click here.

3) Social media now more important than ever – We know many people have shunned social media in the past. These people, however, will now find themselves in a bit of a hole when it comes to ranking. Your activity in the social media world counts. So does your popularity. To that end, it is critical that your brand attract and retain followers, friends both on and off your website. To read more about Social SEO, click here.

It now appears that to place high on the search engines, you will need these critical elements:

+ Good website experience – includes great content and great inbound linking strategies.

+ Good brand reputation – Google will rank sites with the best reviews in the top.

+ Good social media activity – overall interaction and popularity will determine your rank

The times are a’ changing in 2011 and it truly is getting way more difficult to rank based on an optimized website alone. If all of these updates overwhelm you, and they should, make sure you reach out to a search engine marketing company like ours who can help you navigate the new search landscape.

Ron Weber is the President of SD Interactive.

Contact him at 619-270-8156 for more information.

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