Defeating Google Panda – How To Get Your On Site SEO Back On Track In 8 Easy Steps
Technical & Content SEO Post Panda 4.0
If you don’t keep up with the latest SEO trends you can soon find your search ranking pays the price. Things change quickly in this game and a series of Google updates have shown that brands of all sizes can suffer the effects of SEO malpractice.
Website owners need to go back to the basics and bring their strategies up to date from the very beginning – and on-page SEO is the place to start. The good news is that most of the essentials still apply, which means you can get your page optimisation back on track in eight easy steps.
The first thing you need to do is check Webmaster Tools to see if you have any 404 errors. For any pages that no longer exists use a 301 redirect to the relevant new page. Likewise, if you have any temporary pages missing, use a 302 redirect.
If you use any CMS or syndicated content platforms you can easily end up with multiple URLs leading to the same content. This is a big no-no with search engines so take a look at Google’s very own guide to canonicalisation and setting preferred URLs.
A logical website structure is important for both users and search engines to navigate your pages. Say you have a product page for a consumer electronics website – your URL structure should look something like this:
All major search engines recommend you have an XML sitemap to help their search bots count your web pages. Type in www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml to check you have a sitemap and, if you get a 404 page error, you need to create one.
Content & Editorial SEO
Content and keywords
You can’t escape it – quality content is your biggest asset for SEO success and the standards rise with every Google update. You need to create regular content which has genuine value to your target audience and make sure your keyword strategy meets the latest Google regulations.
Page titles & headings
A good page title should be natural, contain your primary keywords and generally end with your brand name. Keep it descriptive though – just like all content you are writing for humans first and search engines second.
Get to know your heading tags from h1 to h6 and make sure you use them properly.
Meta & alt descriptions
Meta descriptions no longer factor in search ranking, but they are the first thing people see on the results page – so your meta descriptions need to entice searchers to click through to your page.
Don’t forget about images either. Alt tags give you a chance to describe your pictures for image searches and screen readers. Which means search engines and hard of sight users can both interpret your images.
Semantic markup doesn’t help you rank any higher either, but it can increase your click-through rate by giving your search listing an edge on the competition. By using Schema or another semantic language you help search engines rank your pages more relevantly and in return you get author names or product ratings in your snippets.
Other Ranking Factors In SEO – There Are Over 200
Don’t forget about performance
Naturally, there are more than eight elements to on-page optimisation and the performance of your website plays a huge role. User experience determines how easily a visitor can access and navigate your content – not something you want to ignore.