The latest search algorithm from Google had a big negative impact on the search ranking of websites for many small businesses. A reader recently asked for advice about recovering, but offering a definitive answer was a bit beyond our expertise. To find out once and for all, we turned to a partner and SEO expert, asking Walker Oxley of Oxley Internet Solutions to shed a little light on the subject for us. Walker was gracious enough to write a guest post showing our readers how to handle the new rules for SEO in a way that maximizes their sites’ rankings. To learn more about the guidelines and hear suggestions from Google, watch this helpful video Google made about creating search-friendly web pages.
Many sites are getting hit from the latest Google Penguin algorithm update. The biggest change in the algorithm facing most sites is how Google has started penalizing sites that used link-building as the main focus for their SEO strategy. It is good to have links that point to your site, but only if they are from authoritative sites that have good reputations and are known not to be link farms. If your site has been hit because of bad link-building practices, then the best way to begin the recovery process is by scrubbing all the links that currently point to your site. This is a good place to start to see all your site links:http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/.
Once you’ve found all your backlinks, you have to ask yourself whether the link was added to just “build a link” or if it’s there for a reason. Should a link not make the cut, you’ll want to remove it. In order to get the link removed, if you do not have access to do so manually, you’ll need to send an email to the site owner from an email address of your website domain requesting that the link be removed.
Having good on-page SEO is what Google really wants to see now, and that should be the main focus for SEO on any type of site. That means that your website should be optimized fully, but within the allowed guidelines (White Hat SEO). Everything outside the guidelines of what you know is acceptable to do on your site is considered Black Hat SEO, and you run the risk of the site being penalized heavily or even banned if it’s not corrected. It’s always better to play it very safe if you’re managing your site yourself, or hire a qualified and vetted SEO specialist to assist you.
Well written, quality content that is keyword-rich is your best friend! This needs to be original content written strategically for the search engines but also for the site visitor. This is usually the tricky part to most business owners. The content on each page should align properly with your meta tags (page title and page description), image alternative tags and Heading 1 tag. This needs to be done to each individual page within the site respectively to avoid being penalized for having duplicate content as well.
Even though we are talking about on-page SEO, there are actually aspects of SEO that still need to be handled off-site. A couple of these would include local business directories (Yelp, Manta, Google Places, etc.) and social media.
Overall, with the Penguin update, Google is trying to give small business owners more of a chance to compete with the big corporations that have dominated in the search rankings by pushing down the sites that have practiced Black Hat SEO in the past. As a small business owner you should have the same opportunity to get high search rankings if your site uses good SEO strategy, correctly implemented.
– BBR Marketing & Oxley Internet Solutions