Author Rank. Panda. Penguin. Mobile. Google+. If you think about it, these things were not on most SEO and online content marketer radars in the early 2011. But in just a year’s time, they have become major components of Web marketing.
Have you responded to these changes? Have you learned how to tap into the potential of these developments and increase exposure for your brand, traffic to your site, and money in your bank account?
If not, now is the time to jump on board. Let me show you six general steps you need to take to cash in on the new SEO and finish 2012 strong:
Cash-in on Penguin’s Over-optimized Link Profile Update
The first thing you want to do if you’ve been hit by the Penguin update is to remove all spammy pages. You’ve probably have messages in your Google Webmaster account warning you about these pages.
Those are your first priority. Look at the list of penalties and start correcting.
Let’s say you don’t have any messages in Google, but you are still certain you’ve been penalized. Your next step is to audit your content—and repair anything that comes across as spam.
And if you think that you should not have been penalized, you can always ask Google to reconsider your site.
While there is a chance that it’s their mistake, the chance is small since Penguin is an algo update, meaning the change was global, not some tweak a Google engineer made after he thought he saw something spammy on your site.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t report any errors. Your feedback will help Google, so fill out the form that Google has set up to report errors on the Penguin update.
You can also report on any fishy activity you see on other sites with their standard spam report form:
Now that you have the errors fixed, your next step is to optimize your link profile. The bottom line is to attract a mix of different types of links:
- Image links: Either use provocative and compelling images and photographs that entice people to embed on their site or pin to Pinterest (with a link coming back to your site) or create a gallery of images for people to use.
- CSS links: Redesign your site with CSS and enter into CSS galleries. If accepted, these galleries will then display your website and link back to you.
- Press release links: While this is not the cheapest way to get links, if your press release picks up some traction, you could get a bevy of links from SEO, social, and website embeds.
- Social media links : Encourage people to share your content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Reddit—basically on social media network sites. Don’t forget to encourage people to bookmark your pages, too. All these links back to your site are important.
- Content links: Be a content producer who churns out great videos, infographics, blog posts, interviews, ebooks, etc. When you do this people will love it and promote your stuff on your blog in a natural way.
- Anchor text: On your site and on external sites (namely, from guest blog posts), use a mixed bag of anchor text: branded, exact-match, non-exact match, and generic.
This linking strategy will help you avoid Penguin penalties, while adding ranking value to your pages and site. This means you’ll get more traffic, subscriber, and sales.
Cash-in on the Google+ Profile
Some people think Google+ is a ghost town (Robert Scoble argues that’s simply wrong). That’s simply not true. If you measure the success of hang outs alone, Google+ is not doing too bad.
It doesn’t compare to Facebook or Twitter, but it’s just a matter of time. This is why getting in on Google+ now is essential.
So, first things first: create your account.
After that, start paying attention to the keywords and who you are connected to. AJ kohn pointed out that there are four places in your Google+ profile where keywords are critical:
Let me show you what I mean. Say, we do a search for “social media.” You’ll see results that look something like this:
Those are showing up at the top of the results, but not in the organic search. They are Google+ profiles who’ve got a ton of people in their Circles and have used the right keywords.
Let’s talk about your Circles.
In a nutshell, the more people you have in your circles plus how important these people are plus the number of them who actually link back to you, the better. That’s the simple formula to Google+ success.
The question is how to get these people to circle you. Here are some tips I’ve shared before on my article 10 Productive Tasks You Should Be Doing On Google+ Right Now:
- Leave a ton of comments with thought leaders who use Google+.
- Identify two or three thought leaders who you can follow and promote. Share their content and plus one their stuff. This should get you noticed eventually.
- Don’t forget to share your work in the comments. This doesn’t mean to spam them every time you are on Google+. What this means is to let them know that you have original stuff.
- Create a solid profile that makes you look like a well-rounded, experienced, and intelligent person. When they come to check you out you want them to be comfortable with your reputation.
- Create compelling content on your own posts.
Let’s now talk about how you actually create content on Google+, starting with how you would format your Google+ headlines.
I don’t know if you knew this, but Google+ gives you post titles. It’s usually the first line (60 characters according to the search rules). This will show up on Google search.
A post without a headline looks like this on Google+:
Here is an example of a headline in Google+:
How do you do that? Easy, just use two asterisks around your headline like this: *Your Headline Here*—and use keywords. The asterisks will disappear when you publish.
But a great headline isn’t enough. You’ve got to create posts that attract attention, gain followers, and rank in search. Try these four tips:
- Content schedule: You need to write a long-form post about once a week. I recommend all my clients to keep it under 300 words, which is the minimum for a blog post, but doesn’t matter in Google+. It will rank on search regardless.
- Videos and photos: Unlike Facebook, Google+ renders images, photos, and videos beautifully. But a mistake a lot of Google+ users make is they limit their copy to a brief sentence—that’s a mistake. You will capture potential search keywords by adding a paragraph or two.
- Surveys: You can also create great content by simply asking questions or polling. People love to share their thoughts, so engage your audience. The question can be the headline, and then the body of the post can be general directions or choices.
- Niche blog: Google+ is perfect for blogging shorter posts not on topic with your branded blog. This way you can pursue topics or subjects without worrying about diluting your blog content.
Naturally, you can’t improve anything unless you measure it, which is what Google+Ripple is all about. It measures how much your content spreads.
Just go to any particular Google+ post and click on the “down” arrow: