Post-Panda & Penguin: ‘Animal’ Friendly Websites to Rule SEO in 2013

With Google’s latest Panda update hitting us this week, it’s very clear that Google are demonstrating no sense of letting up. Their campaign to rid the top ranks of thin, overly optimised sites is becoming tougher. With the Penguin and Panda takeover showing signs of getting stronger, site owners and respective SEO agencies, are desperately backtracking on years of SEO strategy now deemed black hat. With more and more sites being penalised with each new update, now is the perfect time for new businesses to create a website, which is ‘animal’ friendly from the word go!

Before the Panda and Penguin updates, SEO agencies were utilising techniques that aligned to Google’s webmaster guidelines. Strategies focusing on a few target search terms, following in depth keyword and competitor research, took a hard hit the moment the updates were introduced. The statistics told us up to 12% of English language sites felt the effect of the first Panda update, seeing their rankings diminish overnight. SEO agencies had to quickly review their tactics.

Google’s aim to stay as the number one search engine had stepped up a notch, meaning 2012 was the year content became king. From now on, the top ranks would be awarded to those with user friendly sites, with well-structured navigation, relevant and accurate header tags and fantastic content. The almost monthly updates since Penguin and Panda arrived have been an affirmation of Google’s position on supposed black hat SEO techniques.

Sites are rushing to remodel their site structure and content, as well as find and remove hundreds of back links which may have over optimised anchor text, then to wait for the painfully slow creep back up the search engine results pages.

These updates however are creating great opportunities for some. For new companies post Panda and Penguin apocalypse is proving the perfect time to build a new website. Whilst competitor’s sites are taking time to inch back up the ranks, new sites could speed past into the top spots by creating a completely animal friendly site. We’ve compiled some tips that will help new sites keep in line with updates, and come out on top.

Great content – Well-formed, relevant content should naturally generate links to a site. We are operating in a time where we can share, pin or plus one content without even having to leave the page. Ensure you include social network tabs on each page within your site; links to pages deep within your site are always a winner with Google. It creates a natural connection; nothing is forced and will not be mistaken for spam. A great example of a site that has achieved great SEO success by focusing purely on content is Woo Themes. Read the case study at Web Designer Depot.

Link profile – Keep any anchor text links natural. Do not focus on two or three key terms; instead work in plenty of different variations, and even some terms that are completely off track too. Naked URL’s should also be used to keep the link profile natural and not focused on specific keywords.

User experience – Google’s main focus is the user’s experience on your site. Sites will be rewarded for how user friendly they are, rather than how well optimised they are for keywords. Make sure your site is easy to navigate, add in comment boxes on articles and customer reviews. Make a user’s experience on your site easy and enjoyable.

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