“If you have too many spammy, low quality links, usually your ranking would be either automatically or manually dropped."

Here’s how to keep on top of changes regarding the way online information is sorted and ordered.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is not a new concept, but many SMEs continue to follow directives that are flawed, out of date or simply blown out of proportion.

You might have heard people uttering things like: ‘link building is dead’; ‘guest blogging is over’; ‘SEO is a one-time event’; or ‘SEO tools alone will improve rankings and drive traffic’. So what are you supposed to believe and how should you devise and implement an SEO strategy for your site?

With so many mixed messages swirling around the internet, it causes great confusion for the beginner SEO implementer, says Scott Donald, managing director of CreativSEO.

It can be difficult to know if a certain page is incurring a penalty, causing your site to appear lower in search results, or if your ranking is influenced by a search engines’ algorithms that relate to site navigation and user experience, says Donald.

To give your business the best chances of appearing high up in search results rankings, here are some tips to building an effective site.

Link to quality pages

“If you have too many spammy, low quality links, usually your ranking would be either automatically or manually dropped,” says Donald.

Avoid thin content pages with little unique content, or pages consisting of duplicated content offering no unique value. The site will drop you to the Panda algorithm until you sort it out.

The goal of Google’s Penguin algorithm is to identify and penalise sites that attempt to trick search engines by creating unnatural backlinks to gain an advantage in result rankings.

“If you’re spamming links just to get clicks anywhere with no intention of quality this will result in penalties and make your site dead. On the other hand, link building done in a quality and strategic way makes the site more alive than ever.”

Create excellent content

Just as the value of a page is judged against criteria such the business’s ability to create unique and interesting content, this also applies to entire sites.

“Make sure you’re increasing the articles being written, say 800 words and over,” says Donald. “Conversely, quantity doesn’t always mean value, so it’s more about focusing on the overall quality and contribution of your content.”  

Keep up the guest blogs

Guest blog posting has become a widespread way to get quality links, but Google recently kicked it to the wayside and proclaimed it ‘over’.

“At the start of the year they announced guest blogging was no longer effective. Everyone panicked and thought it was something to discard immediately. Google later acknowledged that guest blogging, when done for the right reasons, was a suitable strategy,” says Donald

“A lot of announcements that they make are to throw the average person off the scent because they don’t want us to understand their algorithms. It makes it easier for them if no one does SEO because they’ll have an unbiased source of data.”

In this case, ensuring the content written by guest bloggers is of a high quality is paramount – their contributions should link to reputable sites and not be an exercise in spamming your readers.

When you encounter conflicting information, it’s important not to give up out of confusion, says Donald. A site that is properly SEO optimised will greatly increase its chances of securing a high position with search results rankings, but remember it is by no means a guarantee.

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