Guest post by Patrick Del Rosario. This is his 2nd post here, the 1st one was on Small Business Failure. To gain exposure by partnering with us, read our write for us guideline.

Google Penguin and Google Panda updatesGoogle Zoo – Pandas and Penguins

Everyone recognises that search engine optimisation is constantly shifting. Last year Google Panda was active in finding low-quality or duplicate content, and this year Google Penguin is cracking down on websites with unnaturally low-quality links. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation – in case you didn’t already know) consultants and companies alike have laboured steadily to figure out these recent algorithm puzzles set forth by Google.

The Almighty Number One Page

The Google Penguin Update launched on April 24, 2012.

According to the Google blog, “Penguin is an important algorithm change targeted at web spam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.”

Optimising your website incorrectly can cause you to not only drop in rankings, but become banned from Google altogether. So why do people risk it? To see their site on The Almighty Number One Page of Google, of course!

Here are some ways to stay hidden from Google’s suspicious eyes:

1. Practice White-Hat SEO

There are two options of conducting search engine optimisation. The correct way, referred to as “white hat,” and the incorrect, immoral way known as “black hat.” Black hat techniques break the rules of search engines and involve tactics that are spammy and dishonest such as:

  1. Hidden doorway pages (gateway pages)
  2. Duplicate content (many pages with the same text)
  3. Keyword stuffing (high keyword densities)
  4. High-quantity link farms (unrelated links pointing to the site)
  5. Hidden text (invisible text colours that blend with the background colour)

White hat SEO is the “correct” way of optimising your website so it shows up high in search results.

Search engines and users love fresh content; it inspires loyalty from readers and ensures search engines will visit your site regularly. Although this is a longer process requiring updating or refreshing information, it is well worth the effort for optimal long-term results.

2. Have Topic-Driven Content

Websites must assume a content marketing strategy that covers all their online activities. Create great content with readers in mind first, search engines in mind second. Give your readers fresh, steady updates of original content that provides value!

Value is determined by popular opinion, unbiased information, industry news, or just the advice that if you put your audience first you will get high search engine visibility.

Additional reasons to focus on content include:

  1. People will want to share your content virally if it provides really helpful information.
  2. Great content will send you lots of targeted traffic.
  3. When content is the focus you will receive more than just search engine traffic. Social websites, word of mouth, mentions, revenue referral sources, citations, rankings, etc. should never be discounted.

3.Link Building – Tactics vs. Strategies

Link building should be a by-product of great content, not the reverse. The difference is link building is a tactic, while content marketing is a strategy. What is meant by this is that if you’re just trying to build links for SEO purposes and nothing else, this is a short-term solution – a tactic. Stop chasing Google’s algorithm with “black-hat” tactics.

4. Syndicate Your Content

RSS (Really Simple Syndication – in case you didn’t already know), syndicates your web content to other sites and builds inbound links, making RSS one of the most effective SEO strategies today.

Syndication is fundamentally taking a piece of content (an article, blog post, video) and sharing it or re-posting it somewhere else.

Here are some syndication tips:

  1. Position a noticeable link on your homepage letting your visitors know right away that you have feeds and that you offer content syndication.
  2. Another form of syndication is taking someone’s article, writing about it, and linking back to the original source.
  3. Set up a webpage specifically for all your feeds.

When you or other people syndicate your content, it is seen as a sort of social link building. Google highly considers people talking and writing about your content – so they boost your rankings because you are the original source!

5. Always Incorporate Social Signals

Nowadays it ought to be everyone’s goal to make social media a part of their SEO services campaign. After Google’s various updates, remember, without a social presence, your trust factor will be greatly devalued.

If you have not already done so, create a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube profile and make sure your website is linked to each of them.

You should realise some important factors:

  1. Google announced social signals are officially incorporated into their search algorithm.
  2. Increasing your fans, likes, and followers will alert all the search engines about how popular your site is.
  3. Out of all the sites that got de-indexed, penalised, or punished after the penguin/panda updates – the sites with the most social signals got hit the least.

Social sharing is vitally important today. It is the best sign that others are liking your content. It is your choice whether or not you get involved. There are conversations on every network twenty-four-seven; all you have to do is get involved, supply helpful content, and watch your rankings increase.

Google penguin
Penguins are also kings!

6. Knowledge Is Power, Content Is King

Dear internet entrepreneurs – knowledge is power. Make sure to always write with your readers in mind before you write with SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages – in case you didn’t already know) in mind. Content, and the organisation of your material, is the most significant factor for search engine optimisation.

Search engines rely on the content of a web page to assess how relevant and dependable your material is to a specific search. Content is still king – no matter how many links you get or how great your homepage SEO is – content still is, and will always be, king.

I would love to here you thoughts and feedback in the comment box below.

Patrick Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges. It is one of Australia’s pioneer and leading providers of Web design courses and Graphic design courses. When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging, travelling, and photography. Patrick together with his father runs a Photo Studio in the philippines. If you have a blog and would like free content. You can find him on Google+.

Creative commons image courtesy Seventh Continent