If you are an aspiring blogger or have been writing for a while, these are the two members of the animal kingdom that you need to be aware of: Panda and Penguin. They may sound harmless, but they can inflict a massive amount of damage.
On a serious note, those two are the code names of the search engine results algorithms of Google. They were created for the sole purpose of ranking high-quality sites and penalising those that don’t offer much value, so you see how they might cause pain to webmasters.
Since the search engine giant regularly rolls out updates of these two algorithms, you need to come prepared when you finally get to meet them. The best way to do that is to develop blogging habits that adhere to good search engine optimisation (SEO) practises.
Here are some tips to avoid the wrath of Panda and Penguin:
Tip #1: Come up with unique content
These updates pay particular attention to the quality of the articles that you publish on your blog. So you need to make sure that these contain substantial and relevant information. Doing this will spark the interest of visitors causing them to stay longer and browse other materials that you have to offer.
In addition to that, it also pays to come up with posts that encourage user engagement. One way to do this is by asking questions at the end of your write-up. This sets the stage for readers to leave comments and spark a discussion.
Furthermore, you can also create other forms of content such as pictures, infographics, and videos for variety.
Tip #2: Check keyword usage
When you are writing a blog post, it helps to mind the number of times you use a key term. If it is done too much, then it is called “stuffing” which alerts Google of suspicious activity in your blog.
It is not a crime to repeat keywords, but they need to be distributed correctly. This means that you should avoid stringing them together one sentence after the other.
Tip #3: Watch your links
These refer to the sites that point to you and the ones you link to.
First, let us talk about the inbound type. These are otherwise known as backlinks, which come from other portals. Although it helps to get these, it is much more important to verify whether they are spammy. So how are these determined?
One good way is to check the anchor text or the word used as a link. If the links you receive contain mostly exact-match keywords, then this may signal Google of unnatural activity on your blog. Since getting links is vital, it is best if the clickable words used to link to you sound natural such as “click here”, “here”, and “visit this website”.
The other type of link that needs to be discussed is the outbound one. This pertains to the sites that you link to. And one of the best strategies for this is to point to those that are considered “authorities” in your niche. Plus, you should also minimise the number of times that you link to certain sites, as doing it too much raises red flags.
Tip #4: Avoid duplicate content
This pertains to articles within your own blog and the entire Web, wherein you need to take necessary measures to ensure that you do not repeat any write-ups.
Another equally important matter is to take necessary measures to ensure that your content is not duplicated on other sites. You can verify this by using plagiarism checkers.
No matter how long you have been blogging, it all comes down to this: if you play by the rules, there is no reason for Google to penalise your blog.
How about you? Do you have other tips to share?
About the Author
Jonny Lis is a Digital Marketing Specialist who oversees more than 300 campaigns for Smart Traffic, a UK-based professional SEO company that specialises in strategies that deliver results and rankings for their clients.