This is Part 3 of a series about keeping your website safe from the infamous Google updates while also serving your customers.
As we’ve discussed in two other installments, many online business owners experienced the “Google slap” with the last Google Panda update. This slap, however, wiped out many websites from the search engines altogether and has forced many website owners to rethink their strategies to prevent this from happening again.
Avoiding Duplicate Content
If you take a look again at the infographic down below, you’ll see that the third most important reason websites get penalized is for using duplicate content and scraped pages.
Duplicate content is basically having the same exact content on multiple pages of your website. Some website owners have malicious motives and will do this to try to manipulate search engine results. But this can also happen on honest websites, especially if you have restructured your site recently.
When undergoing a site reconstruction that has a brand new domain name or new way of linking pages, always set up 301 redirects. This way the old text copy won’t appear in a search; instead, the old URL will automatically redirect to the NEW URL with the same text copy.
Another form of duplicate content could be an affiliate disclaimer that you currently have posted on each affiliate offer on your website. Even a few paragraphs with the same text can be considered duplicate content. Instead of adding these same paragraphs to every page, write one page with your affiliate disclaimer information and link your affiliate posts to that one page.
“Scraping” content pages basically refers to copying and pasting content from another site to your own website with no regard to the relevance or value being offered to your reader. I’ve seen examples of scraping just one article or page of information from an authority site to copying the entire website, word for word, page for page.
Whether this is done manually or via computer program, there is no inherent value in scraping sites for information. If you want to use a citation from an article, that is certainly fine provided you put it in quotes and provide a link to the original source. You can also link to that information using anchor text within the body of your website text. But under no circumstances is it alright to just copy and paste information; it’s also called plaigerism and could also be copyright infringement.
When in doubt, always stick to original content that provides value to your reader.
Becoming an Authority
The more value your website provides, the more traffic you’ll get to your site. The more people read your site and link to it via social media or in their own website copy, the more of an authority you become. The more authoritative your online voice, the more Google likes your site and rewards you with terrific search engine rankings.
This may seem like an endless cycle and work is definitely involved to become an authoritative figure in your niche but it certainly makes sense that Google would reward those who do this work more than those who don’t update their site at all.
When someone doesn’t update their site or their blog regularly, they run the chance of people forgetting about them and visiting other sites for information. Even if you post evergreen information, if the search engine bots don’t see an update in 6 months, they, too, will forget about your site and you’ll fall in the rankings.
Who would you rather learn from: an expert who is in the trenches everyday learning new things and ‘walking the walk’ or the person who sits by quietly, watching what’s going on but not putting it to use in their own business?
Promoting Content Over Social Media
Even if you’ve reached authority status, people won’t necessarily know every time you publish a new blog post. Promotion is part of the online business world but there is a right way and a wrong way to promote your website.
Social media is all about being ‘social’ online and building relationships with your followers. And building relationships is learning about the people who are following you, taking an interest in their business endeavors and just interacting with them as a regular, friendly person.
I knew this guy in college who was always right about everything. He didn’t know how to have a conversation with anyone without telling a story that felt like he was ‘one upping’ us. If I got a 90 on a test, he got a 95. If I found a particular class difficult, he found it easy. If I said the sky was purple, he said it was green. Who wants to be around someone like that?
Social media is the same idea. You don’t want to constantly ‘one up’ people by talking about yourself (or your site) all the time. Some give and take is expected between followers and the whole social media experience will be more beneficial when that give and take happens naturally.
So take a look at your social media feeds and take note of how many times you mention your own site. There are lots of differing opinions on how much self-promotion is too much but for now go with your gut. If all you talk about is yourself and your site, mix things up a bit by recommending other interesting articles (from OTHER sites!) or ask your followers some questions.
Just don’t ignore the social media aspect because this is a way to also build up backlinks to your website. Every time you publish a link to an article, that creates a backlink, which is valuable in the search engine algorithms. And the more valuable your content, the more likely others will share your links, which increases the chances of attracting new followers and/or readers. The key is finding that balance between friendly interaction and self-promotion.
Here are the links to the other parts of this series:
Part 1, Quality Content Helps Keep Your Website Safe From Google Updates
Part 2, Is Low Quality Web Content Costing You Business?
Part 3, 3 More Ways to Avoid Getting Slapped by Google Updates
Here’s the infographic again which illustrates how to stay in Google’s good graces:
See my disclosure about advertising and affiliate links