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Uncovering the Mysteries of Google and Off-Page SEO (Part 2 of 2)
In part 1 of my interview with SEO professional, Chad DeBolt, VP of Search Acquisition at Synergyma, we discussed some general strategy and processes related to off-site SEO practices. In the following conclusion of this interview, we discuss how algorithm changes affect the future of SEO techniques and strategy.
Amy: What's the most important thing a client can do to be proactive in working with an SEO professional?
Chad: It's important to understand the general process and to have access to or create valuable content specific to your niche. Content is the like the bullet in the SEO gun. An example of this would be blog posts. You could use an RSS feed as valuable content and this actually causes automatic link building.
Amy: Can you tell me what you know about the latest Google algorithm changes and how it affects Google rankings?
Chad: Sure. In the past year and a half there have been two major algorithm changes that really rocked rankings for many sites:
In 2011 Google unleashed the "Panda" algorithm change. This targeted "thin page content," which means, not a lot of content and the content doesn't change); content from "link farms" (e-zines that offer non-valuable content); pages with more banner ads than content. How you can change efforts to work with this algorithm: Beef up your content. Specifically, including 750-1000 words on your homepage is ideal. It sounds like a lot, but you put the most important content up front and add the rest below the fold. In addition, more pages of content is better for your site. Site structure is also important -- flatter structure is better.
Google's "Penguin" algorithm change happened in April 2012. This targets the following:
- Over-optimization or "keyword stuffing" (say building tens of thousands of links to the same keyword).
- Keyword relevancy -- keywords need to be relevant to what is on the page you are linking to.
- Narrow link diversity -- if all your links came from either social bookmarking or e-zine articles, they now need to be diversified or these links will be devalued a bit.
- Social signals are the final part -- this means how many Facebook likes did your article or blog post get. How many times was it retweeted. This is becoming increasingly important. There are actually services available that will help you get likes and tweets (social popularity). For example Synnd.com is one of the most well known. Synnd works by collaborative effort where other users help each other out, rather than an automated system.
Amy: How important is it to have a presence on Google-owned sites, like Google+?
Chad: Google+ is starting to play a bigger role. Google+ is good for syndicating your content. There is more of a social signal benefit than SEO benefit, meaning link building actually moves your site up in Google Ranking-- social signals legitimize the link building.
You should create a Google+ account. You should also create "circles" of people who are in your target niches and send blog posts and other thought leadership this way. It will help you get +1's and, build authority in these niches and eventually more traffic.
What are your burning questions related to SEO? Let us know and we will do our best to find out the answers!