Years ago, the race to be at the top of search engine lists fueled a new business: SEO Experts. Some unethical practices ensued, with people who built whole businesses on teaching others how to use trickery and deception to fool Google. A number of these ‘experts’ charged top dollar to give their business clients the ‘best’ SEO. Much of it remained secretive, making these experts seem very clever, indeed. People bragged about ‘keyword stuffing’ and showed off content that made no sense but had numerous ‘keywords’ everywhere.
It’s not nice to try to fool Google. Code writers for Google came up with two innocent-sounding algorithm website content checkers – Panda and Penguin. Although their live counterparts look innocent, the Google Panda and Penguin have very large teeth and claws. Someone at Google has a wicked sense of humor – these should have been named Piranha and Rattlesnake.
Just like any other reputable business, Google wants to give you the best service by providing high quality information. Their goal is to reward the websites that give the reader real value with higher search ranking and penalize the ones that don’t.
Here is a summary of what each of these cuddly predators do:
Panda’s job is to check the entire site (or a board view of the site) for the following:
- Duplicated text or ‘syndicated’ content (which is content copied from other websites – stolen in violation of copyright law)
- Doorway websites. These are sites that are created to drive traffic to a central site by crowding the search results with a keyword or phrase. They look like real websites, but are really just ‘redirects’ to a site stuffed with ads.
- Thin pages or pages that don’t have much text but are instead filled with ads.
- Bland text – pages that are not engaging or of no value. These often have no images either.
- Nonsense pages – content that doesn’t make sense to a human and is filled with links.
- Misuse of affiliates. Your site must add value first; then add real affiliates – those that reasonably have some connection to your product or service.
Penguin’s task is to check specific pages and areas that have:
- Hidden keywords that don’t fit your content. An example of this is a website that sells tires having a keyword like ‘Beyonce in a bikini’.
- Repetitive keywords or keyword stuffing in your content
- Random keywords placed in footers or sidebars.
- Random, illogical keywords, plagiarized content or ‘link schemes’ – links that are purchased or acquired by trade that have no real value or connection to your site.
When Panda and Penguin find these ‘violations’ in a website, it is sent to the ‘forgotten depths of nowhere’* in search engines. Google is evidently into punishing those who try to ‘get one over’ on it.
How do you tiptoe through the minefield of SEO jargon? Learn how simple it is to create great SEO by understanding what it is in plain English. You can control the search engine optimization for your website by using real, logical keywords for each page. Creating quality, original content on a regular basis is the biggest driver of traffic to your website, and the one and only thing that will consistently bring you to the top of the list in a Google search.
There are WordPress ‘plugins’, or add-ons that will make your SEO much easier. My two favorites are All in One SEO Pack and WordPress SEO by Yoast. Pair one of these with your original content and you will make Google very happy. Even better, you’ll see real results.
It is also a good practice to submit your website’s sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools here: www.google.com/webmasters and consider Google Authorship – which will help Google identify you as a real person. You can learn more here: plus.google.com/authorship
If you would like more information, here is a great video you can watch that will show you just how simple SEO can be: support.google.com/webmasters/answer. As always, the Wild Women are happy to answer any questions or help you with your website needs. Just give us a call!
(*actually the title of a song by Xasthur)