seo news: how JCPenney and social media are affecting Google's results
(Courtesy of emfluence lead SEO strategist, Corey Morris)
Here are a few notes about things in the search engine optimization (SEO) world that you may or may not have heard about:
Google Algorithm Changes – As the JCPenney example showed the world, buying links works still in Google. Google is working very, very hard to protect the integrity of their system and recent changes were made to their algorithm to specifically target spam. These were rolled out in January and are focused on “low quality sites” in Google’s eyes. Highlights of what these changes target:
- Better detection of sites that have been hacked
- Better detection of sites that have duplicate content and little original content
- Better detection of sites that use lots of spammy words, or use regular words in a spammy manner (out of tolerance with norms for keyword competition)
- Better detection/action taken against content farms
Paid/Purchased Links and Google – It has always been a violation of Google’s quality guidelines to purchase links for SEO benefit. There also has always been a perceived gray area of links purchased for SEO versus legitimate buys for banner advertising, etc. It is very important to be crystal clear in your intentions, as Google is finally cracking down hard on those who are buying links (see JCPenney again), and even those without the scope or intent of the JCP scale are in line to get penalized or lose money. The big takeaway here is don’t ever buy links to gain PageRank or for any other SEO benefit. If you are buying banners, do so for traffic to the site and exposure, not SEO. Make sure that the site posting your banner uses a rel=”nofollow” attribute in the link tag to make it clear to Google that this is an advertisement, not a paid link.
Quality Content – How do we make sure we don’t fall into that category that Google is now calling “low quality” sites, which it is looking to purge from it’s index? There are a lot of good resources for how to create good content and copy. Bruce Clay has posted a good article that defines and details it.
Google’s Results are Getting More Social – Another layer of social integration (minus Facebook for now) are being integrated with the search results in Google. This is supposed to also impact how sites rank, as social is blending with organic more than in the past. Here’s a great article with screenshots and detailed description of how it works.
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