Over the weekend, Google released Panda 4.1: their new search algorithm that determines website page rank and focuses on removing both redundant and irrelevant content from their search index. It has already begun its roll-out and while some companies are receiving very nice increases in their ranking, many are receiving dramatic blows to theirs. So don’t put it off any longer! Now is the time to reevaluate your SEO practices and ensure that you don’t get burned too.

The concept behind search engine optimization (SEO) is simple: keywords and phrases are used to help your website rank higher on Google searches and therefore allow your business to obtain more visitors. However simple this concept may be, actually performing SEO correctly requires a lot of thought, time, and technical savvy.

As an SEO expert who has helped countless companies in this field, I have seen my fair share of poorly executed SEO attempts. This is definitely one facet of marketing where it pays to get help in an area where you may be lacking.

Keyword Optimization

This involves ensuring that the keywords you want to use are ranking as frequently as possible in searches. There is a lot of research that goes into this process, including analyzing which keywords will actually bring you qualified traffic from search engines. It’s very important to remember to not over-saturate your posts with keywords, though—this can yield the opposite effect.

URL Optimization

This is a tricky thing to master. Google and other search engines like what they like, and if your URL does or doesn’t have a specific keyword, or if it’s too long, or if it’s too short, or if it has a query string…you could find yourself up a creek without a paddle.

Meta Tag

Make sure to define your meta tag data well. Without a perfect construction, your response from search engines can be lackluster. This is another instance where the proper length and content matters. Just like URL optimization, meta tags can’t be too long, too short, or contain too many keywords.

Backlinking

You may have the greatest product on the market, but if you’re not providing content to other websites that have a backlink to your own site, search engines are not going to pull you as readily in searches and customers who could have benefited from your company are going to remain unaware of the benefits you have to offer.

Keyword Tracking

It’s incredibly important to know not only what you currently rank for, but also to know what you want to rank for. With this knowledge under your belt, you can build your content around your current strong suits.

High-Quality Original Content

Write things that are worth reading! Create content that will pull potential customers in! Show people that you take your business seriously and they’ll do the same. This is where Google’s Panda 4.1 is striking home the hardest—the algorithm is designed to verify that all your content is original. If it is not, you will be penalized in your ranking, so schoolhouse rules still hold true: don’t plagiarize, ever.

Still think you can pull all this off yourself? Really pause and consider your competencies realistically. You may find yourself falling into easy-to-avoid SEO pitfalls without the proper training and knowledge. There is a reason why marketing agencies (like Vonazon!) offer to coordinate and maintain SEO services for you!