After Penguin 2.0 was introduced in May 2013, the social networks plays a much bigger role in getting you that high ranking page in the search results.
The background supporting my claim, is that when Penguin 2.0 was rolled out, we had some serious drops in the placements for several of our clients sites, and I followed my usual routine to analyze what might have caused the drops. I was of course worried that our link building strategy had caused the drops, and was very relieved when I knew for sure that the drops in placements could not be caused by links hurting the rankings.
What I found was that Google has finally rolled out an update that uses social signals directly to determine the placements of a page, and that the actual content of the page plays a much bigger role in the rankings than before.
Let me try to explain what the above example shows
When a page is naturally being shared in the social networks, it skyrockets in the search results. It keeps the placements over time, meaning that this phenomena is not just a temporary fluctuation.
When a page is being shared in the social networks, the need for built links is very limited. This means that you don’t need to “build links” to rank well for a page that the users have a genuine interest for.
In the example above, the search word is a Norwegian single word called myggfelle. This word means mosquito trap in english. Make a test search in Google.no, and you will see that the page ranks on the first place for this term. Of course we have a number of high rankings for a lot of other terms for this site, but I will not reveal those here to protect us from competition.
The recipe for getting placed high in the search results after Penguin 2.0
Write genuine, usable copy. The text has to be good enough for someone to actually want to share it with their friends. This means that traditional, technical seo is dead. Forget key word density, header 1 to 5 or any other technical details. Concentrate your efforts on one thing: making an article that is so good that the reader wants to share it, simply because it’s worth sharing.
What I have found through my analysis so far is that themed links means close to nothing any more. Inbound links still plays a major part though . Besides getting other people to link to your content, it’s all about getting shares in the social networks.
What I predict, is that advertising agencies that are able to come up with great ideas for an article will have a bright future in the search market from now on. The traditional advertising agency is back in 2013.
Here is an example that might give you an idea about what to do:
Think through what you might know that can be useful to someone else. Then make a do-it-yourself article describing accurately how to do this. In my case above, I was lucky enough to stumble by a very good recipe of how to make a mosquito trap from a plastic bottle. So, the article had nothing to do with the rest of the content of the site.
Write the article with readability and usefulness in mind. Include a picture that illustrates your point well, and remember to name the picture with something relevant to the article. In my case, I name the picture mosquito-trap-that-works.jpg. Because of the picture getting a lot of traffic from image searches, the sharing of the article in the social networks skyrocketed.
What is your experience?
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Bjorn is CEO of Devenia Ltd.