Penguin and Panda have confused a number of webmasters, and it’s no wonder. With so many updates, it’s hard to keep track of what each update was geared toward. To simplify matters a bit, Panda looked for duplicate or spun content. Penguin, on the other hand, is much more difficult to deal with. It examines patterns with backlinks, anchor text and other linking tactics to penalize those that do not provide value to users. The trouble is that no matter how awesome a site’s content is, without promotion, very few people will find it. So, how do you balance promotion while avoiding penalties? Here’s a brief guide to get you started.
What Does SEO in 2013 Look Like?
SEO no longer works around thousands of links, optimized anchor text and link building by any means possible. Instead, Google wants webmasters to focus on SEO strategies that make use of social spread, recognition, authority and marketing great content. Their highest priority is to ensure that sites that rank well provide a lot of value to the end user. That should be where your attention is focused.
Know Your Audience
What is your audience looking for? Keyword research is still important in this regard, but those keywords should be used to develop quality content. Don’t focus on how much money a particular keyword can bring in. Instead, use long tail keywords. Long tail keywords have less competition and will have more immediate results than shorter phrases. By writing great content on long tail keywords relevant to your niche, you can help your site and your brand build authority.
Market Your Content
Rather than marketing your keyword phrases as many bloggers and webmasters do, you should focus on marketing your content instead. That means you should create copy that is compelling and highly relevant to the end user. This will help your brand and content spread through the social networks (social spread) and will encourage authoritative sites to link to your content, creating high quality backlinks. The value for the audience should be high, and you should link to other quality resources within your content in order to help the user. Newsjacking is a popular way to get the word out about your content and involves writing on relevant topics within your niche based off of stories that are already in the news.
Traditional marketing methods shouldn’t be overlooked online. Press releases can help spread the word about your site and get you branded mentions. Remember, though, that Google recently announced that you should avoid over-optimized anchor text in press releases. In other words, they’re okay to use to spread the word about your brand, but should not be used to get page rank for keywords. If you use keywords in your Press Release copy, use nofollow tags.
In summary, you should focus on the experience of the end user. Create well-researched, high value content that is likely to be shared and cited by authoritative sites. Know what your audience needs and deliver it.
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