Are you aware of PANDA, PENGUIN, HUMMINGBIRD... Animals in the Google SEO Zoo?
There are three big Google algorithm updates that you need to understand
for effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in 2014.
Panda (aka Farmer) originated in February, 2011. Updated periodically through 2013.
Penguin (aka Web-Spam penalty) began in 2012, updated 2013.
Hummingbird (aka Semantic Search) originated in August 2013.
Panda and Penguin were Google's attempt to penalize low-quality and spammy websites.
Hummingbird is a major development to include more semantics in understanding the user's intent behind searches.
What can you do to make your web content more effective?
- Make sure your webpages have sufficient high quality content. There should be at least 350 -to- 500* words that are relevant, well-written, and interesting to read, on each of your pages.
- Give all of your webpages unique HTML Titles and Meta Descriptions.
- Use keywords carefully, make your Titles, Meta Description, IMG alt tags, H1 and H2 tags effective, relevant, readable, and not just a stuffed list of words.
- Avoid duplicate content. Make sure that your content is unique. (Use copyscape when in doubt.)
Remember that searches are becoming more conversational with mobile input, and design your webpages to answer key questions, not just target search queries typed into browsers as you may have done before.
Characterize your audience into personas, plan your content to fit each type of customer.
Use Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, and Google Adwords tools to explore the behavior of your website, your pages, your audience, and your marketplace. Target your audience.
What about back-links? Yes, backlinks are still important, but must be more natural. Do what you can to make sure your backlink profile is high-quality, relevant, and random-ish. No more keyword stuffing, link anchor text should be natural, that is, a mixture of branding, URLs, and natural phrases. Disavow any undesirable inbound links, paid links, or black-hat SEO links.
Social signals (especially Google +1 posts) are an important part of your link profile.
Keywords in Domain Names and URLs are still important, but not as important as they have been in the past.
Keep abreast of SEO changes and trends, read http://moz.com/blog/ranking-factors-2013
The Google Search algorithm measures hundreds of factors on every web page and is updated hundreds of times per year. Major updates happen as often as needed. Benchmark your competitive keywords and check your SERPs periodically. The GSERP.com tool is free and convenient. There are also paid tools such as AHREFS, AuthorityLabs, MOZ (formerly SEOMOZ), MAJESTICSEO, SEMRush and others, to measure your Search Engine Results Positions (SERPs), links, and keywords. Make adjustments, and check your results on a weekly or monthly basis.
* Update: at least 350 -to- 500 words, OR MORE, on each page, and they must be well-written and relevant. Much more if you have more competition.