SEO Series Part 3: Time, Persistence, and Dedication

Search engine optimization is a never-ending game that takes time, persistence, and dedication. Even worse, Google tweaks its search algorithm every few months with new releases of Google Panda. This means that just when you think you might know all the best SEO strategies and practices, Google will change them. EVEN worse, Google never tells you the exact changes it makes, they only hint at the changes and leave it to SEO experts to interpret these hints.

What does this all mean? It means that if you really want your site to consistently come up on the first page of a search engine, you have to work on your SEO constantly. There are no breaks, time outs, or half times in this game. If you’re not doing it, you can bet your competitors are. It will take more time in the beginning because you have to learn SEO strategies; such as those I shared with you in Part 1 and 2 of my SEO series blogs. After that, though, you can’t slow up too much. You still have to constantly create content, work on optimizing your pages both meta-wise and design-wise, and stay up to date with Google’s updates.

Besides knowing all the latest “tricks” that will help you outrank your competitors, probably the best thing you can do is just focus on your site in a genuine way. By that I mean maybe not worrying so much about SEO, and instead focusing on your customers and making your site the best it can be. I think that if you truly care about your business, optimization will come naturally. You’ll have people talking about your products or services, sharing your content, referring their friends to your site, and so on. These are all great for search engine rankings, and come from just being an extraordinary business.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s very important to have a basic understanding of link building, and you can spend months learning every trick in the SEO book, but if you don’t have a great company/brand, it’s not going to do much. Just like no matter how many inbound links you have, if you have a crappy website it’s not going to do much good.

 

Some things to keep in mind. Always have SEO in the back of your head for everything you do to your website.  Constantly be making your website better, whether it’s improving your keywords and meta, or the design, look, feel, and functionality of your site. Constantly produce great content. For example, maybe master blogging for a few months, then move onto making content for YouTube. Try and become an expert in these different Web 2.0 fields. When you start have enough revenue, become an expert in Google Adwords or Facebook advertising. Make sure your site is optimized for smartphones. Trust me, there’s always something you can be doing to improve your SEO.

Some sites that can help you keep up with the SEO landscape: Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, Matt Cutt’s Blog, and Search Engine Round Table. There are many more on the internet, spend some time to get to know the ones that you feel are most relevant to your website. Other then that, make sure to dedicate time each week to SEO, and good luck!

Feel free to post any questions or comments below!

What is Google Panda?

Google Panda is an update to Google’s search algorithm that fundamentally changed the way search engine optimization works on Google. Introduced in February 2011, Google Panda (named after Google engineer Navneet Panda) increases the quality of search results provided from a Google search. Before Panda, PageRank (named after Larry Page) was the main methodology that Google used to determine who showed up in what position on Google searches.

PageRank ranks pages by a number of attributes, but the biggest is the number of inbound links a website has, and the quality of those links. So for instance, say you own a men’s fitness website. The more links you have that lead to your website, the higher up on Google you will rank with search terms like “men’s fitness.” The more links the better, but the links have to relate to your website. So a link from a fitness blog or an exercise machine company is way better than a link from some random website that has nothing to do with men’s fitness. Moreover, the higher the PageRank the site that links to you has, the better. So even better than a fitness blog linking to you would be MensHealth.com linking to you, because it has a nice PageRank of 7 (out of 10).

With Panda, Google makes its algorithm even more complicated, because sites were beginning to focus only on generating the most inbound links, without regard to the actual content of their site. Now sites can get penalized for having content deemed “too thin” or low quality. In addition to looking at a site’s PageRank, quality of content, and a number of other attributes, Panda now looks at a site’s “usage metrics” to determine what actual visitors think of the site. Panda looks at the average time users spend on a site, the site’s bounce rate, page views per visit, how the site is being shared socially through social networks and +1’s, and how people are navigating through the site.

With Panda, Google is trying to find unique, popular, and high quality content that matches your search terms. Even though the first version of Panda was released in February 2011, new versions of Panda are released periodically. The newest update, Panda 3.3, was released last month. It was only a minor update with no major changes (read the official blog post about the update here). The thing about Google, though, is that they won’t tell you specifically how Panda works. No one but Google knows exactly what a perfect, Panda-friendly website should have and not have. If they did, everyone’s site would be the first result on a Google search.

Even though Panda is only 1 of 200 factors Google uses to rank pages, SEO experts have to keep up with the latest Panda updates if they want to keep up with the industry. There are many studies, theories, books, etc. on how exactly to beat Google at its own game and get the top search result without paying for it as an advertisement. Those who have a really good idea of how Panda and its algorithm work have become multimillionaires just because their site pops up as the first search result for a given search term. Anyone with a website that is concerned with SEO should be aware of Google Panda and keep up with its frequent updates. Take a look at this infographic to learn even more about Panda.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below!