New SEO Rules: See What You're Missing . . .

We just don’t hear about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as much as we used to. Judging from the topics trending online you’d think that SEO has become irrelevant, passé, out-of-date. Well, the truth is having a solid SEO strategy for your digital presence is more important now than ever to the success of your website. Since Google and other search engines hold the key to the level of free exposure and web traffic your website receives, learning the new rules of SEO is essential.

Google’s release of “Panda”, its latest major algorithm update, changes the way we need to approach optimizing our websites for search engines. In the past, getting your website to rank well in Google search results meant focusing on keyword placement, descriptive “title tags”, unique content and backlinking. Today, after the Panda update, these techniques are no longer enough.

Panda introduces some totally new elements to Google’s ranking methodology to help people find higher quality sites in their searches. For us web publishers, our focus must shift from keywords and links to the user experience, trustworthiness and likeliness your web pages will be shared. I know. I know. It seems a bit abstract. Doesn’t it? So let’s take a closer look at Google’s new SEO guidelines.

Design and User Experience
Google now places a higher value on websites that are well designed and organized. There's a group of people who literally rate web pages for quality. If your site has too many ads, requires a lot of clicks to navigate or if it just isn’t very attractive your rating will suffer. These factors relate to the likelihood that people will (or will not) share your site with others. It’s like a popularity contest!

Authority and Authenticity
The days of producing lots of content for content’s sake are over. Now content quality matters. Content must be thoughtful, well-researched and unique. Ranking is also affected by whether the writer is judged as an authority on a topic or not. Consequently, you do best by creating truly original content that is not scraped or paraphrased from other sites. And having an opinion on a topic that differs from the mainstream is a plus.

Usage Metrics
More importance has been given to web user metrics. Your site’s metrics will be compared with other sites within your niche. Here is something quantifiable that we can grab on to as we work to optimize our sites. In particular, the metrics that show if your site is liked best, include average time on site, bounce rate, page views per visit and click thru rate (CTR) from search result pages. Google will also be judging the diversity and quantity of traffic to your site, and how often pages are shared.

For more guidance on how Google Panda works, check out the 23 questions on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog. And to keep on top of SEO best practices tune in to SEO Moz’s Whiteboard Fridays.

By the way, Social Media selected and published this article, which is currently among the Top 5 most popular! What is your take on these recent changes in SEO? Please share your thoughts with us.  


  1. Thanks for this excellent summary of Google's new metrics. Of course design is in the eye of the beholder (read Google). Good design to one person may be awful to another. Google's methodology will always be a mystery. You've got to consider SEO but writing the best content you possibly can is good for SEO -- but also your readers.

  2. Thanks for the update Sharon - I know I'll appreciate a better effort on Google's part to push unique content. It'll be interesting to watch how the art of manipulating brownie points given for sharing will evolve. Jeanette makes a good point about design - the Google for business suite is my favorite successful product line to cite for its horrendous usability.

  3. There are no hard and fast rules of SEO (search engine optimization). There are many people who believe that they have a pretty good idea, by testing and researching, of what the search engines are looking for from a good website, but only the search engine algorithm creators really know.
    Affordable SEO Services Company India

  4. Good to know about these SEO rules. I know that SEO is highly important and the effective method but it needs proper plan and strategies in order to create their way to success. I also have a website and this is why hired the most reputed team in LA for my white hat based seo campaign. Happy with the results.


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