5 Simple Panda Proof Ways to Boost Your Search Engine Ranking

Have you been seeing a steady drop in your website’s position on Google and other search engines? Have you been scrambling (or should I say “panicking”) trying to find ways to plug the leak in your online presence before your website sinks to the briny bottom called online oblivion? As a website designer and SEO expert going on 15 years, I am happy to offer the following search engine optimization tips for 2014 and beyond.

What many website owners fail to realize these days is that the old ways of doing things no longer apply. Yes, I am talking about keyword stuffing, link building and other previously successful “SEO” tactics that at one time were the magic button for a rise to the top of Google. In 2014, Google is a smarter, more demanding search engine. And it gets smarter and more demanding every single day.

So does a website owner have to spend thousands of dollars hiring SEO and social media services to deal with the new Google and it’s perpetual litter of Pandas and other creatures? Probably not. In fact, by hiring some services (or should I call them “disservices”), you could actually be harming your online reputation and position. There are a lot of predatory SEO services that prey on your fear and uncertainty where online marketing is concerned. Arm yourself with a little knowledge, and you will see that you have the power to grow your online market share and get your website moving in an upward direction.

There are so many things to consider in online marketing that many site owners are easily overwhelmed and confused. Jargon, analytics, engagement, metrics, demographics – a dizzying array of terms and measurements that can send even the most experienced webmaster searching for a handful of Tylenol and a cup of coffee. Thankfully, without delving into the minutia of these ever increasingly complicated matters, there are many things you can do – simply and easily – to improve your website and “UN-SEO” it so that Google will look more favorably on you.

My 5 Steps To Higher Google Ranking in 2014

1. Send Spam Packing

Is the text on your website “keyworded to death”? The information presented on your website should be geared towards your visitors and making them want to have what you offer. Go through your text with a fine tooth comb and look for overuse of keywords and keyphrases. Rewrite things to make them sound more natural and appealing. Use synonyms. For example, a dog is also a pet, companion, pooch, canine, etc. Watch for big blocks of text and break them up with line spaces. Add a few images that help illustrate the message contained in your text.

2. Help Your Pictures and Images Help Your Website

Images can help make – or break a website. You can do a number of things very easily to use your images to your benefit. These include:

  • has a need for speed. Resizing and resampling your images are extremely important. No image on your website should ever be above 100kb in file size. Learn how to make them web-friendly before you add them to your website.
  • Name your images according to what they are depicting. For example, a photo of a Black Labrador Retriever puppy should be named black-labrador-retriever-puppy.jpg and not 98079060606mmnkd.jpg
  • Give all of your images “alt tags”.  Alt tags tell visually impaired visitors to your site what is shown in the image, and it is widely believed that Google uses them in their ranking factor as well.  You can include your keyword in the alt tag, provided that the photo depicts your keyword. For example, the alt tag for a photo of a Siamese kitten could be: alt=”Photo of Chocolate Point Siamese kitten for sale by breeders in Los Angeles, CA”. DO NOT put a list of keywords in your alt tags, and make sure that any pre-existing alt tags are pristine and do not contain keyword spam.
  • Link your images to the page on which they appear. Google and other search engines index and list your images in their images search engine. By linking your images to their respective pages, you gain incoming links and traffic.

3. Get Socializing

Facebook is no longer a pastime for people with nothing better to do. It is a valuable tool that helps potential customers connect with your business. Your website, at the very least, should have a set of buttons that allow visitors to “like” and “share” your site and it’s pages. Facebook also allows you to create a page to advertise your business and connect with clients for FREE. This is not difficult to set up and can really make a difference. You can also gain a good following through carefully crafted Facebook ads, for as little as $25.

In addition to Facebook, you can and should create a business page/presence on Google Plus, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest and YouTube. You cannot avoid this – it is the way of the future and you must do this if you want to succeed.

4. Mobile Matters

Visit your website using a tablet or smart phone. Can you easily find your way around? Do you have to scroll left and right to see what is on the page? More and more visitors to your site are using these devices (as high as 35% and increasing), and it is very important that your website be “responsive”.  If it is not, it’s time to have a redesign, or put together a separate mobile site that will load when visitors are using mobile devices. WordPress is a great tool. It lets you create your website quickly and easily, and there are a number of free responsive templates that you can use, and make your own with a few easy modifications.

Find out whether your website is responsive here .

5. Get Rid of Low Quality Links

If you jumped on the “link building bandwagon” (as many, many people did), chances are you have lots of spammy links pointing to your website.  These links tell Google, very clearly, that you and your website have been trying to “game the system”. Fortunately Google is a forgiving Online God, and if you make a sincere attempt to get rid of these links and promise never to do it again, you can redeem yourself.  Get a current report of what sites are linking to you. You can go through and attempt to get any spammy sites to remove their link to you.  Any that do not respond can be dealt with through a “disavow request” through Google’s Webmaster Tools . (A free service that lets you monitor all kinds of things related to your online presence).

Some of these things may seem like rather daunting tasks, especially if you are not all that tech savvy an have relied on others to manage and maintain your website.  It’s good to know what needs to be done to get your website on the road to recovery, whether you are do-it-yourselfer, or prefer to hire help for your site . These steps can go a long way towards greatly increasing your market share, so roll up your sleeves and get started today.

About the Author:

Deborah Moore is first and foremost a writer and journalist. She has more than 15 years’ experience developing highly effective and affordable websites for her clients, most of whom are in the pet industry. Debbie is the co-owner of Moore Designs Website Services and Smart Pet Websites . Debbie lives in Mount Pearl, NL with her husband, Dave, daughter Georgia, a dog, 2 cats and 4 goldfish. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or toll free at 888-642-6390 for all your website development and online marketing needs.