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2012 Google Optimization Tips

By in Search

It’s a brand new year for those who are attempting to optimize their websites to rank high in Google and other search engines.  2011 was a year of change for webmasters, who saw a lot of ups and downs for their rankings.  Google spent much of last year preaching that high quality was their primary concern, despite many claiming that their SERPs were no better than usual. Still, it seems clear that quality is a mantra that’s not leaving any time soon.

There are a few things that seems notable about search, and I’ll illustrate what I think they are.

Don't Forget Images, YouTube, Or Google Plus

Don't Forget Images, YouTube, Or Google Plus

Have You Been Outhustled?

Lots of marketers are now complaining that it’s much ‘harder’ to rank highly in search engines than it used to be.  They might be tempted to consider all sorts of reasons that this is possible, but let’s be realistic.  If you had a website that has ranked highly for years, chances are you didn’t do that much to ‘improve’ your website over the years, because you were likely very content with the results.  Your competitors, who were firmly behind you, plotted ways to take over your positions.  Chances are they may have delivered even better content and backlinks than you did.  One update they moved up and you moved down.  It really could be as simple as that.  In other words, if you find your website has lost search engine traffic, suspect your competitors before assuming you’re the victim of an algorithmic update.  You may have just been out-hustled by a hungry foe.

Is your competitor’s content better than yours?  If not,  maybe the website’s backlinks are better.

  • Check the backlinks and see who’s linking to them.
  • If neither the content or backlinks seems out of line, run through and check all the basics for signs of trouble.

Check The Basics Of SEO First

If it’s been awhile since you first set up your website don’t automatically assume everything is perfect from a technical standpoint.  Check all these elements.

  • Check Google Webmaster Tools for any errors.
  • Pay particular attention the average load time of your pages.  Fix slowness problems!
  • Make sure your .htaccess is accurate.
  • Check your 301 rules and 404 error pages for valid headers that do exactly what you expect them to.
  • Run a link checker and remove broken links
  • Check your content quality.  Are your pages well-written?
  • Get rid of weak pages or duplicate pages.  If pages have little content, dump them.  Or you can always extend them to be more valuable.
  • Update your CMS or website software to the newest version.
  • Update your design!
  • Add features and social sharing.
  • Add videos.  YouTube ranks on every SERP page now!
  • Add images and rank for them.  Image search is another channel.
  • Don’t forget Google Plus!  Results are personalized.
Update and improve your website wherever you can.  Try and remain detached about your website.  Don’t take your demotion personally.  Just make the changes and keep notating whether what you’re doing works out or not.  With enough effort, you should be able to return any website to its former high-ranking glory.