What your site needs to be doing and probably isn’tgoogle's panda recovery

By now, most of us know about the Panda and Penguin updates that took place to filter out the bad guys and get the good sites to the top a little faster. Many people saw great increases in traffic while some dropped off the face of the proverbial planet web.

While most of our sites stayed put some did feel the effects negatively and we are struggling to put the pieces back together in a Google-friendly way.

What Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm did was shut down sites that had either bought back links or appeared to have too many fishy back links and also penalized sites for over-optimization; those that pushed out too many keywords on the page and did so very manipulative. But nevertheless, some of the good ones got the hit too.

So how do you bounce back after a drop in rankings?

Here is what Google is looking for:

If one page of you site is not optimized and properly set up, the entire site will be penalized.

Make sure all your pages offer great, original, relevant content and provide links to other related topics and pages within your site.

Find a website you love and emulate that.

Think Amazon, MSN, Ebay, YouTube – watch how they do it, they have dynamic menus that adjust depending on the page you are on. If you click on a book about dragons, all the menus and suggestions on that page will also be about dragons.  So, for example, on your buyers page, make sure you have more information about first time buyers, mortgage applications, keys to buying, buyers agent information – either link them within the content or have a menu geared for exactly what’s on the page.

Keep your readers on the page by offering them breadcrumbs to related content.

Google is watching how long someone stays on your site and which pages they are going to. If you have Google Analytics, check the traffic to various pages and capitalize on that by using those pages other places. Landing pages are still ok but once there, draw the reader around the content, help them click on more information by offering enticing clues and tidbits. Think about being on the real estate section of MSN – you got there because you clicked on an article that said, 10 Things you Must do to Sell Your House – but when you got there, the menu now changed to offer you more tips for real estate, the side bar has clues to getting an agent, more local information, etc… they keep you there by offering enticing articles that are related!

Keywords are not as important as topics

Google wants topics more than keywords. When you get to the buyers page don’t over-optimize. Example: Tucson Buyers – then on that page you have Tucson First Time Buyers, Tucson Homes, Search Tucson Homes, Get a Tucson Mortgage, Tucson Buyer Agent etc. Check out http://cbsandpoint.com/buyer-tips_23.html This is a simple buyers page at at the end it says topics rather than geo-targeted keyword links. Google already knows what the page is about when they go there as long as you have a good title and good content. They don’t want to be told any longer where to go and why – THEY ALREADY KNOW IT!

Keep your Back links Varied

We once knew it as always link your domain to your keyword or phrase – over and over – but now Google is looking for more natural ways and that includes naked links, contact us, click here (HA) and more. You want to use a variety of keywords, phrases, simple terms and other anchor texts as well and simple URL’s to link people and bots back to your site.

How to get your readers to follow you

Load Time Matters

If your reader take longer than 4 seconds to load your page, you’ve already lost them and they’re off clicking somewhere else. Make sure images are small enough to load quick and widgets don’t bog down the page so much.

Watch your Blogroll – Link Roll

While WordPress and other sites allow a list of links, these are quickly diminishing in value. At the very least make sure you mix them up once in a while, switch them out or just simply put them into content once in a while. Google hates the long list of links or pages of link exchanges (and has for some time) – Try to keep the links per page under 100.

Leverage your IDX as user experience

People want more than a website; they want an experience. Keep your readers there by incorporating more information including your IDX into your pages. Keep it indexable or at least framable so readers can click throughout your page and site and STAY THERE. You want people to stay on the site as long as possible.

A page that stands alone gets banned

You can’t simply throw up content on your site anymore without any links, text links or relevant content. You must interlink them. One lonely page on your site can harm the entire site. Make sure every page is highly optimized and linked to each other. There’s no point in putting out content that’s just going to sit there. In this case, quantity doesn’t count.

Remember – Don’t EVER buy links, don’t leave a page alone without any internal linking or breadcrumbs, and don’t over-use your keywords. Google is very picky – and yes, we must oblige.

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