Recent changes in Google’s search engine ranking and optimization algorithms have necessitated a big change in how website owners optimize their websites for first-page placement. Rankings were once improved almost single-handedly by things like inbound referral links and user interactions, but that is no longer the case. Indeed, page authority must now be built organically and over time, using a few key methods that search engines like Google feel is honest, reputable and spam-free. Website operators who have seen their page rankings and authority decrease since the implementation of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm changes should pay close attention when learning how to regain their rightful spot at the top of keyword-targeted search results.
In Many Cases, it All Comes Down to Content
One of the major changes that was made with the release of Google Penguin and Google Panda was that inbound links changed in meaning and importance. Prior to these two major updates, virtually any inbound link to a website counted in the same way. Every link, whether it was a true referral link or merely part of a “linkroll,” increased the website’s authority in the eyes of Google’s ranking mechanism. That website was then given access to much better placement within Google’s search results.
In 2011, that all changed. All links were not treated equally by Google, and websites had to earn the website’s elevated reputation and authority in a more honest way. The way to do this was to create authoritative content that caused high-ranking and authoritative third-party websites to link to that content. This means that websites had to create fresh, authoritative content that would garner the attention of major publications in their niche. Whether that means securing links from trade industry blogs, magazine sites, or company websites.
Those links must be placed on the referring website in such a way that the content is “recommended” by the referring site. Instead of merely being placed in a list, Google must see that other people — authoritative people — are recommending a site’s content and giving it an air of credibility. When it sees this, the search engine will also improve how credible and authoritative it believes the website to be.
Consider Well-Written Guest Posts on Authoritative Websites
Of course, there’s more than one way to get a contextual, reputable referral link from a major source online. One of the best ways to get a strong link from a well-known source is create a guest post that they’ll post on their website. This blog post actually combines the major components of an authority boost: It contains well-written, authoritative content; it links to the blog in a contextual way that is part of a list on the website; and a guest post is basically an inherent recommendation of an author and their website.
Best of all, a guest post will actually drive traffic to a website that it previously would have been unable to achieve. Because the guest post will be placed on a website that has already achieved some degree of authority with its readers and search engines alike. These guest posts are a perfect way to boost page authority by actually placing the website’s full authority on display. In addition to a well-crafted guest post, the author of the post can stick around after it has gone live and interact with commenters who decide to give their take on the content. This will make for lively discussion and, through these discussions, new readers will likely find a new place online that they can go and interact with like-minded individuals.
Because guest posts drive traffic, promote a website, and increase its perceived authority at major search engines like Google, they should be considered one of the primary ways to propel a website higher in search engine rankings. There is simply no better tool than great content and wider communication with an interested base of readers.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Fresh and Updated Content
Google’s perception of authority is not limited merely to links from authoritative websites, although that is probably the single most important component when seeking to boost a website’s reputation with the search engine’s algorithms. A big part of Google’s new approach to website rankings is its commitment to displaying only the “freshest” results to users. Old content, it is assumed, is probably outdated and not of much use to people who need a quick and accurate answer to their most pressing questions.
To that end, some amount of authority is directly tied to how often a website produces new content that is as informative, popular, and interactive, as the things it has already written in the past. Google assumed that an authoritative website will have plenty of things to say about the issues, industries, or hobbies, that it covers on behalf of its regular readers. Therefore, websites seeking increased authority should decide on a schedule of regular updates and stick to it.
In many cases, this means committing to updates every day, every other day, or every week. Google prefers schedules — it likes predictability and it likes knowing that a website will have continually refreshed content available to its own users as well as those who get there via a search engine result. Consistency in creating new content and making it available to readers is one of the key ways to get on Google’s good side and move upward in search engine and page authority rankings.
Authority Comes from Both Internal and External Sources
A website needs to pursue its authority just like a traditional employee would seek a raise. Content should be created regularly, and new topics should be discussed often. And new opportunities should always be sought out, whether that means creating guest posts or creating the kind of content that virtually forces reputable websites to recommend an author’s work.
When these steps are taken, and executed in a timely and predictable way, Google will notice what’s going on. Over time, it will begin to increase a website’s overall page authority and send it higher in the rankings. With time, effort, and great content, a top-tier ranking is all but inevitable.