Are You Watching Your Google Rankings?

Don't Play Around with Panda
One reason for considering professional Search Engine Optimization experts is to help you keep abreast of changes and ramifications. Google has been increasing the number and significance of their algorithm changes every year. Last official count averaged more than one per day.

Unless you monitor your results using best practices you won’t know what changed, when it changed and how it affected your ability to show up on the first page of search results.  Almost every client we start with, either thinks their results are fine (they usually weren’t) or think they’re terrible (they weren’t always) because they don’t really understand how to go about searching and what words to use. And how to check it consistently time after time.

For instance, a CEO of a Trash Can manufacturer might use “waste can” when searching for his product and be happy it showed up. Maybe all their content used “waste” and was indexed accordingly. Or, worse yet, maybe the CEO was signed in and using Google’s “personalized search results” feature that is set by default. Once the CEO is shown the majority of normal searches (in the US) use the word  “trash” and not “waste”, he would be a bit disappointed. He would likely be even more disappointed with their results once the “personalized ” feature was disabled.

Why remind folks of this aspect? There are lots of benefits and lots of reasons why you really should consider learning finding a professional to help you in this area. You can spend hours every week reading what other experts are testing, what new methods are most effective and what techniques might now be getting you in trouble. Or just spend a few hours one week researching a professional.

A new article talking about the biggest three changes last year prompted me to post this article. Did you hear about Google’s Panda change? Did your site’s search results drop? You might be very interested in the following article from Duncan Heath at SearchEnginePeople.com about the big difference in Google’s latest search change, called Panda.

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Big Change in SEO “Best Practice” – Anchor Text in Links

One of the toughest things for small business owners is keeping up with all the important advancements or changes in technology that impacts many aspects of their business. Unfortunately, these advancements might be in areas that are NOT the business owner’s core competency, such as Web design, Quick Books updates or new Trade Event booth designs that dramatically cut costs.

Was Ten, Now Nine SEO CommandmentsImproving and keeping your search engine results are one of those areas as well. And for some months now, it appears that Google has drastically changed a top ten “SEO Commandment” I call “standardizing keyword use with inbound link anchor text”. This commandment from now on needs to add “NOT” in it. The updated commandment and the explanation are as follows:

Thou Shall NOT use the same Anchor Text Keywords within all inbound Links 

During most of 2011, Google has focused on trying to reduce the “black hat” SEO sites that are merely content farms housing shallow information that is seldom what a searcher is seeking. One item they continue to analysis AND penalize involves paid links. Their house cleaning consists of punishing violators who are obviously paying for links on a site that isn’t relevant and shouldn’t be sending traffic to the violator’s site.

Small business owners are easy, constant targets for the “we can guarantee your company will show up on Google’s first search page”. One of the often used methods is to sell a service that will increase the amount of incoming links.

FOR YEARS, SEO experts have know that using your most important keywords CONSISTENTLY in the link on the other site increased the importance of showing your site when someone searched on those exact words. This recommendation has been considered a White Hat Best Practice since its inception.

Now that same behavior could get you penalized. Just like JC Penny and Overstock.com (for slightly different link building schemes). Google has determined that if too many of the links on other sites that are pointing to your site use the same exact text in their link, you are probably paying for them.

We would recommend that you build up an expanded list of your most important keywords. If you have the opportunity to request what anchor text to use on another site, keep track. Use Google Webmaster Tools to periodically check natural growth in inbound links. Make sure to include product and company brand names in the links now to further change the links from being all the same.

Google assumes “natural links” would not always use the same words. And if they suspect you are buying those links, they’ll silently penalize you from being displayed on their search results.

Yes, this will happen even if you have only been following Best Practices or Used an professional SEO expert in the past. By the way, this is also the reason you shouldn’t think of SEO as a one time task.