If not, maybe it’s your fault.
A lot of people feel that Google is treating them unfairly when it comes to search rankings. If you are one of these people, let me be perfectly blunt. There’s a good chance this is your fault. You have to play by Google’s rules if you want to have a good chance of being found in Google (and while there are certainly other ways to generate web traffic, Google is obviously a pretty big one). That said, Google will also be the first to tell you that “no algorithm is perfect”. Sometimes they don’t get it right. But are you doing everything in your own power to darn Google’s RESPECT?
Is your site showing up in search results for its targeted keywords? If not, maybe you’re not effectively using these keywords. Google is on to keyword stuffing, and content that is purely written for search. Do not over-saturate your content with keywords you wish to rank for. That said, you can use them as they make sense without compromising the flow of your content. Think titles, image labels (alt tags/title tags/captions), etc. It doesn’t hurt to keep this stuff in mind as you produce content. Just don’t do it in a way that compromises the quality of your page.
Is Google showing site links for your site when it appears in search results?
Right now, sitelinks are automated, but Google says it may incorproate webmaster input in the future. Frankly, I’d be very surprised if they didn’t. Still, there are best practices you can follow. ” For example, for your site’s internal links, make sure you use anchor text and alt text that’s informative, compact, and avoids repetition,” Google says.
If Google is showing sitelinks for your site, but you don’t like the ones they’ve chosen to display, you can demote URLs to let Google know which ones you don’t think are appropriate. To do this, go to Webmaster Tools, click the site, and go to “sitelinks” under “site configuration”. In the “For this search result” box, complete the URL you don’t want to appear as a sitelink. In the “demote this sitelink URL” box, complete the URL of the one you don’t want to appear. Note that it might take Google a while to reflect this in search results.
The Algorithm Updates
It’s not just about what Google has done in terms of algorithm updates. It’s about what you should be doing. But perhaps you have been hit by recent algorithm tweaks. If Panda, for example, hit your site, then drastic changes may be needed. Google considers your site to be of low quality. Perhaps a site redesign is in order. Google has a whole list of questions you should be asking yourself about your site in terms of quality.
Included on that list is “Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content.” Google said last week that it is testing algorithms that look more at this factor above the fold. Be prepared for that.
Google Is Listening.
If you think you’ve done everything you need to do to make your site Panda-friendly, and Google is still not giving you the RESPECT you think you deserve, then let them know. The company insists that it is listening. Go to this thread and make your voice heard. Last week, they even said they have an Excel sheet of about 500 sites from this thread (at least, I assume this is the thread they were referring to). There is a person responsible for false positives, they said. You may have a legitimate beef, and Google, at least to some extent, recognizes this.
Are You Expecting Google To Be Perfect?
Google isn’t perfect. They know this. In fact, they make this point themselves all the time It’s why they constantly tweak their algorithm. They’re not launching all of these updates just to mess with webmasters. Google makes over 500 changes to its algorithm over a year’s time. They’re trying to improve the quality of their search results. It’s not in Google’s best interest to return results to users that aren’t helpful. They don’t want to send people to Bing, which is marketing its search engine much more heavily than Google. Whether you think the quality of Google’s results have gotten better or not, this is their goal. Google considers Panda a “positive change across all of its known measurements,” by the way. I’m sure some of you disagree.
What Are Your Competitors Doing Right?
Still, you might see lesser competitors ranking above you in search results, and that can be very frustrating. For some reason, Google is giving them more RESPECT. Do you think it’s going to do you any good to just sit back and complain though? It’s your responsibility to analyze your competition. Look at the page that is ranking above yours. Are there some things about that content or page that they are doing better than you? Richer content? A cleaner design? Google has over 200 signals. Keep this in mind. Look for anything positive about that page, and then look at yours and compare and contrast.
About the Author:
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow WebProNews on Facebook or Twitter.
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