Updated – February, 2015.
This week, (not coincidentally also the week Google has changed its algorithm) we’ve received a number of emails from shocked and unhappy people about their page rank. For some of us, our PR has been doing well and all the sudden, we are doing poorly. And for some of us our PR was holding steady, and we still are (or doing better). And the sad thing is that these seemingly arbitrary PR numbers determine our income! Which makes the whole area of search engine optimization stressful and emotional for many, many people. I hope to alleviate fears and give you a sense of control back through the following few paragraphs.
Know your numbers
First, there’s no use getting all stressed out if nothing’s wrong! We all need to keep our stress supplies for those days we have teenagers, or grandbaby teenagers. Keep an eye on your visitors and where they’re coming from using Google Analytics plugin by Yoast. Other measurements are not nearly as reliable. Yes, I realize that your advertisers will be watching Alexa and PR and other stats, but as a webmaster, I strongly recommend you focus on the simple numbers, not the interpretation of those facts – like Alexa and PR. Interpretations may change and you have no control over that. There are however, a number of things you CAN DO to make your content, website, networks and numbers the best they can be. Being in control is usually a big stress reliever so lets discuss the so-called SEO Expert, and the SEO best practices to help fix your PR.
Things not to do
Hiring an “expert”
I caution you against hiring help from an SEO ‘expert’. These experts (although I hope with the best of intentions) mislead and waste your money. For example, the ‘experts’ will tell you that you have to have X number of keywords per page. They’re wrong. We know they’re wrong, because they’re trying to ‘trick’ google into seeing what your page is about. Bare with me a moment, while I pretend to be google:
To provide the most relevant search results, I will look for the search words in x places on a page, x times, and in x many configurations.
2 weeks later
That is resulting in 50% bad results. We need to change it up! Lets add freshness to the mix. Anything published today will be given more freshness points.
2 weeks later
Pages are now changing their publish dates automatically. I’ll start recording dates and seeing if they’re being re-published. They’re not going to mess with my pretty new freshness-algorithm.
Success over the long haul
The easiest, simplest, and least stressful Search Engine Optimization is following tried and true best practices. The two foremost experts in the fields of best practices that I always follow are Yoast.com and Copyblogger.com. They’re reliable, honest and dependable. They focus less on how Google is trying to stop spammers (because we’re not spammers) and more on the recommendations from Google for creating great pages (including pages that are relevant and ‘fresh’).
- on your images/videos/links/recipes, include relevant alt tags and title tags
- use language that speaks to the readers; use proper grammar and spelling
- network and get your site recognized by other bigger, better websites in your niche that might link to you
- pick a topic for each page and make sure that it is clear (use SEO for WP plugin by Yoast for page – by – page analysis)
- make sure you’re using Google webmaster tools to specify a canonical url
- submit a sitemap to Google webmaster tools ( SEO for WP Plugin will assist with this)
- fix crawl errors and 404 errors
- no-follow and no-index duplicate content (select only one: tags or categories for indexing, remove author indexes if you only have one author, and remove date-based archives if you use tags or categories)
- do use “nofollow” tags on your ads and sponsors
- do not buy incoming links (by reciprocity or cash)
- do not stuff pages with keywords in places that don’t make sense
- do not overuse meta tags, tags, and categories