Last week, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s anti-spam team, announced that Google is working on a penalty for over-optimized websites. What does this announcement mean to your website and how should you react to this announcement?
Here’s what Matt Cutts said in detail:
“We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit.
All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over-optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.“
Does this mean that you shouldn’t optimize your web pages anymore?
This announcement is aimed at people who are trying to push the limits too far. Of course, it is perfectly okay to add your keywords on your web page and it is also perfectly okay to exchange links with other websites.
Actually, all of these methods can have a very positive influence on the Google rankings of your website. The problem starts when these elements are overused. This usually happens when you use fully automated tools and services to promote your website.
For example, it is likely that the following SEO methods will get your website in trouble:
- automated link exchange networks that add your link to hundreds on other websites
- tools that automatically create fake forum accounts and comments with a link to your site
- tools that automatically create keyword rich web pages for you on your website
- participating in paid link schemes
Fully automated solutions always mean spam when it comes to SEO
Google wants to show high quality web pages in the search results. Web pages that have been created automatically cannot have the same quality as a web page that has been created by a human editor.
Fully automated solutions lead to low quality links and content that is not helpful to the average web surfers. Businesses that “optimized” their websites with these methods are the ones who will be hit by the new ranking filter.
If you see the words “fully automated” and “hundreds” or “thousands” in one sentence that you can be sure that the advertised product or service is spamming and your website will get in trouble if you promote it with these methods.
Don’t panic and create a symbiotic relationship with search engines
If you haven’t used the spam methods described above to promote your website, then your Google rankings won’t be in trouble.
Optimizing your web pages remains very important because you have to show Google and other search engines that your website is relevant to a particular keyword and that your website has a high quality.
The key is to focus on the user.
Optimizing your web pages is important but you have to make sure that you play by the rules. If you do it correctly, search engine optimization leads to lasting high rankings, more customers and more sales.
If you’re pushing the limits too far, your website will get in trouble sooner or later. If you want to get lasting results, consult a professional SEO expert to get the latest in SEO expertise.
What is AWstats?
There are many perks to being a Maine Hosting Solutions customer but one of the most amazing features that we offer is often overlooked- AWstats.
Lets take a look at what AWstats is:
- Advanced Web Statistics (AWStats) is an amazing web server logfile analyzer that shows you all your web statistics including: visitors, pages, hits, hours, search engines, keywords used to find your site, broken links, robots and more.
- The main advantage of AWstats vs. other web analyzers such as google analytics, is that this program will not only analyze web logs, but also FTP and mail ones, which will give you a lot more detailed information about the activity taking place on your website.
- AWstats allows you to get a good understanding of visitor numbers from both humans and robots, and monitor how much bandwidth is being used. You might also be able to detect if someone is hotlinking to your images or document files too, and taking your bandwidth that way.
- It is a tool for network administrators as well as marketers. Don’t waste your time or money on stat counters or visitor counters which are usually inaccurate- AWstats is a server based analyzer and is included in any of our hosting packages that are offered from a Starter Plan to a Super Plan! AWstats is located in the control panel and contains just about any information that you could ever want or need in regards to monitoring activity on your site.
Here are the top 5 pieces of information that you can pull from your AWstats:
- Monthly History: This graphs out the unique visitors, number of visits, pages, hits and bandwidth on a month by month basis (seechart).
- Weekly/Rush Hour Activity: This charts out the activity of your site based on the hours of the day. It will show you the busiest and slowest times that activity is being generated.
- Search Keyphrases: This analyzes and displays the keywords or key phrases that users typed in in order to get to your site. This can be a huge to tool to utilize if you plan on doing any SEO or promotion for your site.
- Fan Favorites: AWstats allows you view your sites most viewed, entry and exit pages by visitors. It also calculates the number of times your site is “added to favorites bookmarks”.
- Robot/Spider Counter: These are automated programs that enter into websites and follow internal links to seek content and use them as key phrases that may pertain to your websites products. With AWstats, you can track these search engine robots and estimate when your website will be found and be established on the internet.
Let us summarize by saying that AWStats is AWESOME! You can pull data and create graphical and textual displays of your sites activity. As an added bonus, AWStats offers the ability to export data into an XML format for presentations. Remember that this program is free with any hosting package and is located right in your control panel. Enjoy!
Backlinks are still Google’s most important ranking signal.
That’s why many businesses buy links to artificially improve the rankings of their websites. This can be very risky because Google doesn’t like paid links at all.
If you use paid links to promote your website, you put your rankings at risk.
Google has 3 ways to detect paid links:
1. Your competitors can send spam reports
- On its information page about paid links, Google encourages webmasters to report the paid links of other sites:
- “If you see a site that is buying or selling links that pass PageRank, let us know. We’ll use your information to improve our algorithmic detection of such links.”
2. Google’s manual spam fighters can find the links
- Google employs people who do nothing else than judging the quality of Google’s search results. They also employ people who look for spam and paid links.
3. Google’s algorithm can detect the links
- Based on the paid links report, Google could develop algorithms that can detect paid links automatically:
- “We’ll use your information to improve our algorithmic detection of such links.”
- Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, said in several of his blog posts that Google’s algorithms had been able to detect paid links before they were reported in a manual spam report.
It is difficult and time-consuming to get good backlinks to your website. That’s why backlinks play such an important role in Google’s ranking algorithm.
Avoid fully automated link building systems. These link building systems have been created to game Google’s algorithm and that’s why Google will downrank your website as soon as they find out that your website participates in such a link system.
If you want to get lasting results, use SEO tools that play by the rules. You can analyze the backlinks of your website and the websites of your competitors here.
If you want to succeed with an activity, you have to find the perfect balance of the factors that are involved in that activity. It’s the same with search engine optimization. If you want to get high rankings on Google or Bing, you have to find the right balance between on-site factors and off-site factors.
What are on-site and offsite factors?
1. On-site optimization refers to the factors that you can control on your web site:
- The text on your web page.
- The number of web pages on your website.
- The number of keywords and related keywords on your web pages.
- The links on your web pages to other pages of your site.
- The links on your web pages to other websites.
- The structure of your website.
- The robots.txt of your site.
- The HTML code of your web pages.
2. Off-site optimization refers to the ranking factors that are usually out of your control. The most important off-site factor are the links to your web site:
- The number of backlinks that point to your website.
- The quality of the backlinks that point to your website.
- How often your website is mentioned on social media sites.
Search engines determine the position of your website in the search results based on the on-site and the off-site factors of your website.
What is more important for your website?
Some webmasters invest most of their time in on-site optimization. Others swear that links from other websites are the only way to get high rankings on Google.
Depending on the keywords for which you optimize your website, you can achieve good results with both methods.
You will get the best possible results for your website, if you combine both factors:
You need both factors to get good results
If you optimize the on-site factors of your website then you make it as easy as possible for search engine spiders to parse your web pages.
The content of your web pages should contain the right elements and the right keywords in the right places so that search engines know what your website is about.
Links from other websites that contain your target keywords show search engines that other people also find your website relevant to a certain topic. If other people mention your website on social media sites then search engines know that real people like your website.
Analyze the on-site and the off-site factors of your web pages. An easy way to calculate links back to your website is simply search Google for “backlinks:yourdomain.com” – This will show you all pages linking back to your website in the Google Index.
If you want to get high rankings for a certain keyword, analyze your web page with the MHS Top 10 Search Engine Optimizer.
The Search Engine Optimizer will tell you how to correct the on-site elements of your web page and how to change the links so that your website gets top 10 rankings on Google and other search engines for any chosen keyword. The optimizer also considers the social media mentions.
Finding the perfect balance between on-site and off-site optimization is easy with MHS’s Top 10 Optimizer. If you follow the advice of the Optimizer, your website will get the rankings that it deserves.
Keywords with little competition require different tactics than keywords with high competition. If you want to get the best possible results for your website, you must use the right tactics with the right keyword.
1. On-page optimization has a higher impact for long keywords
The relative value of on-page web page optimization is very high if you target very long keywords with little competition:
Here’s an example: say you want to be listed for the search term “buy blue nike ‘the overplay’ basketball shoe in Atlanta” then it is enough to optimize one of your web pages for that search term because the competition for that search term is not high. You don’t need many inbound links to get high rankings for that keyphrase.
If you target more competitive keywords, you need more backlinks to get high rankings in the search results.
2. Even if you target competitive keywords, it is important to optimize your web page content
The chart above might create the impression that web page optimization is not important to get high rankings for very competitive keywords. That is not the case. Optimizing the contents of a web page is the essential basis for high search engine rankings.
By optimizing a web page for a keyphrase, you tell search engines that the web page is relevant to that keyphrase. If more than one web page has been optimized for that keyphrase (which is usually the case) then the web page with the best inbound links will get the highest position in the search results.
For example, the website www.cnn.com has 46,600 inbound links according to Google. Although CNN.com has so many inbound links, they do not rank for the keyword “buy blue nike ‘the overplay’ basketball shoe in Atlanta” because the website has not been optimized for that keyphrase.
3. Optimize your web page content, then work on the backlinks
If you want to get high rankings for a keyword, the first step is to optimize one of your web pages for that keyword. Then work on the links that point to the optimized web page to outrank other websites that have been optimized for the same keyword:
4. The more pages you optimize the better
When you optimize your website, optimize different pages of your website for different keyphrases. Start with longer keyword phrases that don’t have much competition and then proceed with more competitive keywords.
For example, start with the keywords “buy sneakers in Maine”, “buy cowboy boots in Maine”, “buy pumps in Maine”, “shoe shop Maine”, etc. When you have managed to get high rankings for many of these keyphrases, Google will know that your website is relevant to the topic “shoes”.
As soon as Google knows that your website is relevant to the topic, it will be much easier to get high rankings for more competitive keywords such as “buy shoes” or even “shoes”.
The more pages of your website you optimize for different but related keywords, the better.
5. It’s not necessary to have more links than your competitors
It’s not always necessary that you have more links than your competitors. You need better links.
Try to get links to your website that use the targeted keyphrase as the link text (also called anchor text) and that point to the web page on your website that has been optimized for that keyphrase.
Don’t focus on quantity, focus on quality. Getting hundreds of links from a link farm won’t help your website as much as a few dozen links from relevant web pages with authority.
If your website has both optimized web pages and good inbound links then it will be easy to outrank web pages that only have one factor.
MHS SEO SERVICES can help you to optimize your web page content and to get backlinks to your website.
VIEW Our List of SEO Services Here.
The keywords/keyphrases that you use for search engine optimization are very important. Choose the right keywords/keyphrases and your website will convert visitors into customers.
Follow these steps in choosing your keyphrases prior to ordering your Search Engine Optimization Plan.
Here is a do-it-yourself 5 step guide to creating key phrases that will be effective in the search engines:
1. Describe what you do in easy words
- Try to describe what your company does without using any business specific words. How would you describe your company to your parents or even your grand parents? These descriptions help you to find new keywords that are related to your business.
2. Find the unique selling proposition of your company
- What makes your company special? How are you different from your competitors? Do you offer great service? Do you offer the lowest prices? If you offer great service, add service related keyword modifiers to your list. If you don’t want to sell by price, avoid words like “cheap” or “low cost” in your keyword lists.
3. Find words with multiple meanings
- Some words have multiple meanings. If you sell products that have names that can be confused, make sure that your website visitors immediately know what they will get. If you sell tablets, do your customers know whether they are tablet computers, bath tablets, clay tablets, chewable tablets, writing tablets or graphical tablets?
4. Focus on your most profitable products
- You don’t have to be listed for every single keyword on search engines. If some of your products have a small margin, it doesn’t make sense to optimize your web pages for them. It’s better to focus on the keywords that are related to the products that are profitable for your business.
5. Write down the 10 most important keywords
- Make a list of the 20 most important keywords and then take a close look at the list. Are the keywords all about the same product? Do you cover all aspects of your services and products with these keywords?
Do not follow your first instincts. Carefully go through the list and check why you find a keyword important.
When you optimize your web pages for search engines, start with very targeted keywords that attract targeted website visitors. Do not use one-word keywords or keywords with multiple meanings. The more targeted your keywords are, the more likely it is that you will get new customers with these keywords.
The “key” is to create a list of key phrases that will convert visitors into customers!