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SEO is Always Changing… Or is it?: Debunking the Myth and Getting Back to Basics

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic | Posted on 23-11-2017

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As an SEO specialist, I spend a fair amount of time each day talking with clients and my peers about SEO and the ways that it’s changing over the years. Most people seem to have the belief that SEO is constantly transforming and changing and that SEO tactics need to follow suit.

I remember saying something similar myself in the past and believing that I had to alter the way I ranked sites annually to keep up with Google updates. The truth is that basic SEO remains pretty much the same over the years.

Sure, there are minor technique changes to be aware of, and you’ll have to alter the way you do business all the time if you’re trying to fool Google. However, there are some general best-practices that have been working all along.

Learn to use these and you’ll be set. Heck, most of them are simple enough for business owners to master themselves.

The Fundamentals Aren’t Changing

While tricks and special tactics need to change over time, fundamentals really don’t seem to when it comes to SEO. There are certain steps that every website owner should keep a few sets of basic considerations in mind when deciding how they’re going to rank a website.

Answer the following questions with your website and you’ll be off to a very good start.

  • Is you website accessible? Search engines need to be able to crawl your website effectively.
  • What sort of content do you have? Make sure your site is optimized for appropriate keywords.
  • How should content be sorted and what’s most important? Make sure you have a clear hierarchy that you follow for your pages using a site map.
  • Is your content trustworthy? It needs to have plenty of backlinks proving trustworthiness.

As long as you tick off each of the above four boxes, you’ve got basic SEO in the bag. Sure there is more to it than that, and you may want to employ more advanced tactics, but you need to do those things first.

When first starting out, you’ll want to focus on these fundamentals and then move on after you’ve mastered each of them.

Make Your Site Accessible

No matter how good your website is, it’s not going to rank if Google and other search engines can’t access it. Make sure that each of your pages is crawlable.

Generally they start out that way unless you block web crawlers with a special command, but you can ping search engines to get them crawling your site faster, which is good after major updates.

Focus in on the Right Keywords

Now that search engines can access your website, it’s important they’re getting an accurate picture of your pages. You can paint that picture using keywords that you hand-select. Make sure you focus on one primary keyword per page or post.

It’s okay to add some sub-keywords but they should be building upon the main keyword, not competing with it. When putting your pages together don’t use the keyword too many times, and try to create the most helpful page that you can around the topic.

Make a new page for every keyword that you want to rank for and make the page as specific and helpful as possible. Think of your website like a library and each page like a book on an individual shelf. The keywords you use are catalogue cards for the library.

The library can only catalogue each book one way and put it on one shelf. Treat your webpages the same way so Google and other search engines can easily catalogue your website.

Show Which Content is Most Important

Every website has a purpose, or at least it should. Know what your purpose is and which pages on your site are the most important for that purpose. These are the pages that you want linked closest to your site’s home page.

If you’re a siding company your contact page and your services page would both be two of the most important pages, because they help you sell more siding. You would want those pages shown on the top navigation bar, and linked to as much as possible, while the page about choosing the right siding could be farther down the hierarchy.

Keep this idea in mind when building your website, and make sure the most important pages are linked to the most and closest to the home page of your website.

Build Quality Backlinks

It’s not enough to say your website’s great, someone else needs to say the same for search engines to take note. That’s what backlinks are for. When a decent website puts a link back to a page of your website, they’re saying that it has something of quality to offer.

You want to build backlinks to all the most important pages of your website, as proof that you have a high quality site that other people use. It’s not as simple as getting as many backlinks as you can though. Google looks at websites differently.

Some sites it trusts very well, and others it doesn’t value much. You want links from the highly trusted sites, because they carry much more weight overall. Avoid building up links from low quality sources, and instead focus on tactics that will get you links on major players, because they’re much more valuable and will help you with your goal of ranking well.

Follow each of these four fundamentals and your website should start ranking well in search. It takes time to get good at things like keyword research and backlinking, but at least you should know what your goal is now.

Even if you don’t do all the work yourself and you outsource a project to an SEO company, you’ll know what you want that company to achieve with this guide in mind.

Avasoft Solutions offers web design, search engine optimization, social media optimization, and pay per click advertising. Contact us today!

Resolving Google Penalties: The Complete List & How to Recover

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic | Posted on 19-09-2017

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Google is well-known for changing its rules and the way that it ranks sites, which leads to de-ranking sites and making it more difficult to achieve top rankings in the search engines.

If you’ve ever heard of Penguin or Panda updates those were algorithm changes made by Google, but even if your website loses its rank because of those updates that isn’t technically a penalty.

Google issues penalties to individual websites for things like spam, link cloaking and low quality or suspicious links. These are issues that you need to be aware of and that you need to try and avoid.

If you do get hit with one of these penalties, it’s important to be able to recognize the problem and for you to know how to fix it once you do. Below is an overview of common Google penalties and how to fix the issue on your website.

A First Click Free Violation

Google has a strict policy that requires website owners to show visitors the first page of their site for free. When you make your site content available to Google, but restrict it to visitors this is known as the First Click Free violation and will get your site a penalty that hurts search engine results. The penalty will likely affect SEO efforts over your entire site in a slight way, and that specific page in an intense way, like being delisted entirely.

Fixing the Issue

To resolve this issue you need to make sure that Google and visitors see the same exact content when visiting your website. Make sure you don’t lock up pages coming from the Google search engine with subscriptions or other fee-based access requirements. Instead present the subscription on that page and use the web traffic to help try and convince more people to subscribe to you, while offering something of value to everyone that visits that one page of your site.

Cloaking or Suspicious Redirects

Cloaking is a tactic that Google really looks down on, and it means that you are showing different content to Google than you are the visitor. Cloaking is a problem because Google sees it as suspicious. You should be able to make your content viewable by Google if you want to be ranked organically. Some websites also make the mistake of redirecting visitors to other areas of the internet without making the redirect properly so Google does not have access to it. This is another suspicious activity that could get your website flagged and penalized.

Fixing the Issue

If you’re flagged for cloaking or suspicious redirects you can fix the issue with a bit of work.

  • First use Google Search Console and use the Crawl Feature and Fetch as Google to get a look at your site through Google’s eyes. This is how you’ll find the problem.
  • Once you see how Google is seeing your site differently, you can take action to make the information the same for the search engine.
  • Carefully get rid of redirects that send users to an unexpected or unrelated location online, and try to avoid conditional redirects that aren’t accepted by Google.
  • Once you make all these changes you can send in a reconsideration request and Google will look your site over again and hopefully lift the penalty.

Cloaked Images

Images can be cloaked as well and cloaked images are pictures that are blocked by other pictures, pictures that show up instead of the ones that should be showing, or redirects that send users away from the expected photo.

Fixing the Issue

To fix this issue just make sure that you always show the same image to people. Look at your images and remove redirects around them and make sure the site behaves normally. Once you do that resubmit a reconsideration request to get rid of that pesky penalty.

Hidden Text

Hidden text is an issue for Google because the company wants to know what users are actually seeing when they visit. Google looks for text that is hidden through styling tools like CSS. Text that is hidden using the invisible tag, or text that’s colored the same color as the page will be flagged by Google and likely result in a penalty as well.

The Fix

The fix is simple. Make sure all your text is visible to human visitors plainly. Color text for visibility, and avoid hiding text through other methods like special CSS tags.

Spam Penalties

Serious span violations are only given to websites that utilize web scraping, gibberish text and cloaking in order to offer low quality text and content to visitors.

Fixing the Issue

To fix this problem, remove the spam content and add text and images with helpful information that’s unique to your website.

Free Hosting Penalties

Many companies offer free hosting, but in exchange for that hosting they spam your website and put up advertising to try and profit from your visitors. Often free hosting will result in penalties from Google as well.

Fixing the Problem

Ditch the free host to fix the problem. Hosting is cheap and you can pick up a reliable web hosting service affordably and get your site functioning without the spam.

Thin Content

Google looks for web pages with little content and not much to offer visitors and marks them as shallow pages. These pages might have scraped content, very few words, spun content, or very low quality content.

Fixing the Problem

The only way to fix this issue is to add good quality and rich content to your website. Make sure you have several hundred unique words on the page that offer something valuable to visitors.

Unnatural Links

One of the most common penalties that webmasters get hit with are for unnatural links to or from their sites. Webmasters that buy links to their sites are in violation of Google’s terms, and so are webmasters that sell links out to other websites.

Fixing the Problem

To solve the problem, change any suspicious links or remove the links entirely.

There’s really no way to beat out Google so it’s better just to follow the rules and avoid getting penalties the best that you can.

Avasoft Solutions offers web design, search engine optimization, social media optimization, and pay per click advertising. Contact us today!

8 Can’t Miss Off-Page SEO Strategies to Build Your Online Reputation

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic | Posted on 19-07-2017

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Today most major businesses focus on on-page SEO strategies that are going to help their sites become visible in search engines. This is an important marketing tactic that most businesses should at least be trying, but it’s not the only step to building an effective company. Good companies don’t just focus on on-page SEO but also off-page SEO as well. Read on to learn what off-page SEO can do for you and what steps you need to take to boost the off-page SEO of your company specifically.

What Off Page SEO is

Off page SEO is essentially your businesses’ and your website’s reputation and how well it is known on and off the internet. It’s all the things that you do outside of your website itself to help improve the reputation of your company. Off page SEO is even more important to the success of your company over time, and it’s what will make or break your business.

Why it Matters for Your Business

Off page SEO shows whether you have a high quality business or not. Businesses that focus heavily on off-page SEO have excellent reputations, can sell products more easily and build up a following in less time. They also aren’t dependent on just the search engines for their customers, which makes it easier to build a long-term business rather than a company that fails when Google decides to de-rank their pages. Learn effective off-page SEO strategies and you’ll have a more successful company overall.

1. Build Your Brand

Every major company ever realizes the importance of a brand, so why aren’t you actively building a brand as well? Start with a company logo, then figure out what your company stands for and come up with a catchy slogan that fits your company perfectly. Now do everything that you can to get the name and message of your company out there. The more people that know your company name and what you stand for, the better your brand is going to be. This brand will help you sell more products in the future and give you instant recognition.

2. Offer Excellent Customer Service

Over deliver on customer service, every single time. Answer questions promptly, help customers resolve problems quickly, replace products without question. Do all these things and you’ll create loyal customers that talk positively about your company. This is a process that works really well for Amazon and it could work well for you too.

3. Build a Presence on Social Media

Social media is incredibly powerful with its ability to get your name out there into all the people around the internet. You’ll build up your brand by talking to people, and you’ll create a big base of fans that you can market to as well.

4. Know What Customers are Looking For

Take time to really research what your customers are searching for. You need to know what they want, what keywords they are using and what features they are most interested in. This information will help you guide your business, but you’ll have to spend some time looking it all up. Take the time to do proper research and you’ll be rewarded handsomely.

5. Connect with Big Names on Social Media

One of the biggest benefits of staying active on social media is creating opportunities for you to connect with users that have an impressive reach on the platform. There are going to be well-known people online that have thousands of followers. Get these people to like your product enough to recommend it and you’ll get hundreds of customers.

6.  Get Involved on Blogs and Forums

Blog commenting is an old strategy that has recently fallen out of favor because it’s not effective for link-building anymore. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful though. Visit top forums and blogs relating to your niche and leave thoughtful or helpful comments. Over time you’ll get seen by hundreds or thousands of eyes, and that results in brand awareness and more customers. You can use resources like Quora or Reddit for this purpose as well.

7. Guest Blog for the Relationship

Bloggers can be one of your biggest sources of traffic and a boost to your brand, but only when you form a relationship with the people. Don’t ask a blogger to guest post just for the link. Instead offer something of real value, and try your darn best to make an impression, because this could end up creating real growth opportunities for you in the future.

8. Branch out with Your Content

Stop creating the same old posts and mix things up a bit. Create an audio file and make it available online. Create videos showcasing your product or explaining something. Release press releases, tweet about your brand. Do whatever you have to reach more people, even if that means steering away from your standard content strategy.

Use some or all of these strategies and you’ll build a more successful company. Sure these methods take time, but they’re all about offering quality, creating a good company that you can be proud of and they’re solutions that are for long-term businesses.

Avasoft Solutions offers web design, search engine optimization, social media optimization, and pay per click advertising. Contact us today!