By Val Zamulin – Founder, Seologist Inc.
Luckily (or unluckily for some) the days of easy Google-bombing and link spam are all but gone, at least for competitive niches. Many of about 500 enhancements that Google made to its algorithm in 2013 alone rely on multi-dimensional semantic analyses to assess the quantitative and qualitative features of content, as well as its uniqueness and user response. The universal buzzwords “content is king” are used left right and centre by preachers of white hat SEO, however, we have to focus on how can we make the most of the copious amounts of quality content that we want to share with the rest of the world.
Categorize and divide your content by audience
It always works best if you split your content between several separate pages, each focusing on a specific niche or service type. If your portfolio software is every bit as good for day traders as it is for value investors, then split your 2000 words of content in two, creating reasonably sized pages of unique content, one for each group of investors.
By doing that not only are you targeting a more relevant audience but you are also legitimately increasing the website size (amount of pages indexed) and are avoiding any risk of content over-optimization because now you don’t have to cram both value and day trader keywords in the title and the metas of one page. It also drags along a number of collateral quality signals such as average time of visit, exit rate, all that working in combination with primary SEO signals. So: divide, granulate and conquer.
Make the best use of social media – not just for SEO
To begin, the effect of social media engagement on organic rankings is very blurred and indirect to say the least. There’s a school of thought advocating that it is one of the signals that Google uses to assess the domain authority. Another thing is that there are other faster and more effective means to build it which is a topic of a different discussion. But even with that, it’s always nice to have a boisterous social media presence for other purposes, not completely ruling out its collateral effect on your SERPs.
The problem is that this monster always needs to feed, and posting your content to an undeveloped or unengaged audience is not going to please its appetite. Building the audience and engaging it is the real challenge that not many are able to cope with. This is where Facebook and Twitter PPC platforms will come to aid, while bearing in mind that the metrics for assessing their efficiency have to be completely different to Google Adwords. I have had cases where sharing a post on FB and Twitter with a deeplink to a brand new page, and then running a week of PPC to my accounts and getting a decent amount of unique user re-posts, links and re-tweets would push this page on Google to the bottom of the first page for a number of moderately competitive queries. Needless to say, this all wouldn’t have happened if the content by itself weren’t attractive and intriguing.
Stop the excessive internal linking
You do NOT want to interlink every page with every other page in your site anymore, much less with a keyword-rich link text. It’s not 2008. This is excessive, illogical and throws people off. The more logical you are about linking to the new content the better it is for you, both from the defensive penalty-prevention standpoint, as well as for the user experience. If you’re running a Canadian lifestyle site and your immigration article is about the new pass score for Quebec, limit yourself to just the Quebec category page, and both the sitemaps, you don’t have to link to this third or sourth level page sitewide. Google will find this content quickly enough anyway (provided that your sitemaps are in order, and the content gets shared properly) and in the post-Hummingbird world you really don’t want send a whiff of an overoptimization signal to Google.
My personal takeaway of 2014 is that the breadcrumbs (in schema.org) are your friends now, working better than anchor text in internal navigation links before Google Panda. Just one of those little things that that help make the big things happen!
Having a lot of great content is a very important step in the right direction but make no mistake – getting all your digital assets to work in synch with your SEO strategy means a lot of extra heavy lifting! Make sure no stone is left unturned and every small thing is taken care of, and then you’ll squeeze every last drop of SEO value from it.
About Val Zamulin
Val Zamulin is the founder and owner of Seologist Inc, currently part of the ICM Media Group
An avid writer, SEO strategist and online marketing analyst. Over the 11 years of his marketing experience, he has crafted successful search marketing campaigns for over 300 different businesses on 4 continents including multi-billion public corporations like Aventis (Sanofi Pasteur), Easyhome and Wajax. His real passion is search marketing R&D, experimenting with new tactics and building a team of strong, creative and committed search engine marketing specialists.
Visit Val Zamulin’s panel speech on March 6th where he’ll be talking about 5 new ideas for SEO in 2014