This newsletter is a special issue to address the topic of organic placement in the new world of Google. I'll try to put it in simple terms what you can and should do to garner unpaid search placement.
The world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as we know it is dying with Google pretty much hammering in the last nail in the coffin with their recent Penguin 2.0 algorithm updates. That being said there are still some very smart things that you can do, and should do, to help your website retain, improve, and even garner organic search placement.
Hard Work Gets You Organic Placement
There is no magic wand, no secret recipe, or for that matter special protocol you should follow or can even buy to have your website appear in the top unpaid search results on Google. In fact, do too much optimization for placement and you'll run right into Google's "over optimization" filter and be dropped back as much as 50 to 100 pages in the search results.
So what is a website owner to do? First off, the bottom-line is you can't scam or buy your way in to top placement on Google.com. In this new world of the post Penguin 2.0 algorithm update, it is readable natural content that Google wants; no keyword dense content, no heavy use of keyword phrases in the heading and subheading tags, and clearly no aggressive link building strategies.
Matt Cutts, the Google representative to my industry, says this about organic placement:
"Key phrases don't have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonym work so that we can find good pages that don't happen to use the same words as the user typed."
"People can overdo it [using meta tags and headings that are keyword dense] to the point that we consider it keyword stuffing, and it hurts. I would just make sure you do it in natural ways where regular people aren't going to find it stiff or artificial. That tends to be what works best."
"Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines. It's just not necessary. The next time you write a new page of copy, test this approach to writing for the engines and see if you get as good (or better) results than before. I'm betting you'll be pleasantly surprised."
You can read the full article and interview that was done with Matt Cutts on SiteProNews. It is worth a careful read. The article's author goes on to state that he likes mentioning a specific phrase only two times on a page and then sprinkles in synonyms in a natural way in his content and Cutts has agreed that he likes this approach.
The bottom-line is that building keyword density and working in keywords to headers, images, and using keyword dense anchor text for links is now passe and even considered spamming by Google. What used to work to get organic search placement simply no longer works.
Twitter and Google+ Are Important
Because Google+ is a Google property and is being integrated into every Google service to not be actively involved in Google+ and +1's, (which are part of Google's new placement focus), is a missed opportunity.
Twitter links and activity are indexed and shown in Google's search results unlike those of Facebook. If you have to choose a social network to be involved with in this new world, choose Twitter over Facebook!
Why is Google+ So Important?
Based on this new focus for Google, you need to start flowing through search and social activity into your Google+ and +1 bank. If you don't have accounts, Google can't tie the activity to you specifically.
Let's talk About What Google+ and +1's Are
Google+ is a social platform. It is not like Facebook but more like Facebook and Twitter combined. However, is it much more important than any of the social networks we know and use now.
You could consider Google+ like a voting and popularity network but one that has the ear of Google. Anything you do on Google+ will most certainly impact your website's organic placement and Web Visibility in the future. Google has said as much in their news releases. Google has additionally stated that it will be showing social results from your Google+ network in their Google.com personalized search results.
What this means is that for people and businesses that embrace Google+ early and start building their network now, there will be strong benefits for their updates and links. This activity will be shown in your own personal and expanded network's search/social results.
+1's are Google's versions of votes. If you like a page, like an ad, like a blog post, like a Google+ comment, you vote it up using a +1. What is crucial to understand is that a +1 is tied to your Google+ activity. These +1 votes will impact your visibility and placement on Google in the new Google Search Plus Your World results.
Google Search Plus Your World Is the New Face of Google
Last year, Google rolled out an important change to their search index. They named it Google Search Plus Your World. In my industry we call it Search Plus. Google stated that they will be using activity, updates, Google+ activity, and +1 activity in the search results that they deliver to your personally and to those in your Google+ network.
What is interesting is that even if you are logged out of your Google account, Google is still tracking your activity. Of additional importance is the announcement that the social related results that will be shown in the Google.com index are personally selected for you and WILL contain Google+ activity across your Google+ social network.
That means if you start building your network now, your information and website could be appearing in search results for a very broad network of readers and potential prospects. As this activity comes from your personal network, just like a word of mouth referral, links to you and your profile will most likely carry more authority and legitimacy in the eyes of potential clients. Everyone weights a reference by a friend about a business more than a written review found randomly on the Web. This will be the real impact of Google+ and +1's in the very near future.
Why Is This So Important?
All of the information in this newsletter is important because the business that is driving these changes is Google. As Google owns 65% of the online search market, to be positioned well on Google means taking full advantage of what Google considers important.
It is very important to understand that Google+ is not Facebook. Google considers Google+ and +1's integral to the it's new face of search and how search results are shaped and delivered. These new Google offerings are very important and should be embraced quickly and completely for your future organic placement benefit.
Placement is More Than Twitter and Google+ There Are Still Links to Factor In
Sorry, you can't just stop with Twitter and Google+ and think that you'll garner organic placement, you've got to think about links too. But smart links! For most clients the easiest way to build links naturally (and this natural slow growth is important to Google) over time is by blogging. Google considers each blog post as if it were a new page in your website. But a page that is on one topic and so may easily place in the search results for that topic.
If the page gets indexed, it can lead readers from your blog right into your website and can even improve the stickiness of your website. There is no downside, in my point of view, with blogging. It is not unusual for a website that blogs three days a week to build 156 new website pages and grow links to over thousand in a year.
I want to reiterate that there is no magic formula to getting organic search placement on Google.
What I do know is that Google likes content-rich authority websites that have a large number of pages and have an older established domain name.
Google likes a natural slow progression of link growth pointing to a website and blogging works great for growing these inbound links slowly. Use link schemes and you may get dropped from Google's index in the new world of Penguin 2.0.
Google likes linking and a social exchange through Twitter as Google includes tweets in their search index. But again be careful about anchor text and over doing.
Google loves Google+ and Google +1 activity. In fact so much so, that they have a special section in your site's Google Webmaster control panel where they track these and even show the search impact.
The bottom-line is that it is becoming increasingly harder to grow and build organic search placement, but there are still some very smart things you can do if you follow what Google themselves considers important.
We are here to help and can offer consulting services, Twitter updates, blog writing, Google+ updates, and website content services. If you need serious professional help, I invite you to call us at McCord Web Services.