How to maintain your Google pagerank
Since the launch of Google’s Panda search algorithm large numbers of online traders and entrepreneurs have seen a fall in their site’s Google pagerank. Site owners regularly voice their bewilderment and anger on Google search forums. Sadly, the bottom line is that some site owners just don’t understand Google’s basic philosophy and terms of service. In this post I’ll spell out the key factors that can help you to maintain or improve your Google pagerank.
The lawless frontier
In some respects, the Web has been a lawless, unregulated frontier, where opportunists found it easy to make a fast buck at the expense of a naïve punter. Over recent years, Google has taken steps to level the field by introducing the Panda search algorithm. Their focus is now on ‘high quality, relevant content’ that needs to be honest and up-front. In this new ‘organic’ SEO landscape, your content needs to offer real value to the users who enter more than 3.5 billion Google search queries every day.
High & low quality content
OK, I hear you – your site is full of high quality content, right?
Let’s take a moment to list the types of low-quality content that have the potential to damage your Google ranking:
- Keyword stuffed content that sounds unnatural
- Duplicated, scraped and unoriginal content
- Content which is generated automatically
- Insufficient content to provide any value to your site visitors
Expect your Google pagerank to fall over the next year or two if you are using any of these techniques. In severe cases, Google may post a ‘Thin content with little or no added value’ warning in your site’s Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) account. Ignore the warning and you may find that your site is removed from Google SERPs (search engine results pages).
Use natural organic keywords
Well written content is usually rich in natural, organic keywords. Problems arise when content is written specifically to manipulate search results – a breach of Google’s guidelines!
Without relevant keywords in your content Google won’t be able to position your site in SERPs. Remember that Google’s indexing robots scan your content for organic keywords. The page’s Meta “keywords” tag is no longer used by any of the main search engines for keyword indexing.
The number of times that an organic keyword or key phrase appears on your page should be natural and not ‘stuffed’ or forced. The total word count of your page should be just long enough to contain all of the the information that you need to get across, in natural, readable language.
Avoid duplicated content
Many online stores still use duplicated manufacturer’s product descriptions for their catalog. While the ranking penalties for this seem to be insignificant right now, it’s likely that content duplication will result in lower rankings in the years ahead.
While Google currently have quite a relaxed attitude to ‘non-malicious’ duplication, the penalty for deliberately setting out to dupe users can be severe. It can even result in your site being removed from SERPs.
Auto-generated content sucks
At this point you should have a pretty good understanding of Google’s quality guidelines. The use of non-curated, automatically generated content is another example of a deceptive technique which is often employed to generate hits. These types of pages often feature affiliate product feeds, or some form of automated search results pages. Under Google’s guidelines, if the pages have little or no value to the user, they’ll either be reported as spam, or plummet down to the lower rankings.
We’ve already mentioned that Google needs content to be able to crawl and index each page. It’s surprising how many site owners fill their pages with cool images, sliders and graphics, but only feature a few paragraphs of text on the whole site.
There’s a lot of discussion about the ideal word count required for a webpage to gain the best Google pagerank. Again, Google would prefer that you focused on user experience rather than SEO. Write just enough to inform or entertain the reader. Write for your readers and not for Google.
The SEO landscape in 2018
Hopefully, you will now have a better understanding of the way that the SEO landscape is changing. While it may require a little extra work from site owners and webmasters, most search engine users will be pleased to see the spammy, exploitation sites gradually disappearing from their search results.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines provide a simple, easy to understand explanation of the post-Panda world of web design and content creation. This link is a great place to start: