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Richard Wynn is an online marketing consultant who founded Loop in 2011.

Seven post-Google Penguin pointers to drive more traffic to your site

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Google’s Penguin updates have been transforming the face of search for some time. Aimed at stripping away spammy approaches to search engine optimisation (SEO), the updates have changed the way you need to carry out SEO. Here are seven pointers to help you stay ahead of SEO and keep you in with a shout when it comes to people finding your business online.

#1 Mindset, go

First things first: You may want to do some search engine optimisation but in reality you’re going to need a mix of strategy, social media, great creative, content and SEO. That’s probably going to be a change of mindset from what you’ve been advised in the past. 

Our advice: Free your marketing, the rest will follow.

#2 Live strong

But if you free your marketing, what will follow?

The answer: A strong online brand. 

Here it is: If you want to rank and drive real traffic to your website you really need to build your online brand. So just do some good marketing. And, as you’re doing all that good marketing, what you’ll find is you’ll create opportunities and drive traffic to your site from sources other than just search engines. Your liked and widely shared blogs will rank naturally, and your engaging and insightful attitude on social media will result in people visiting your site for more.

#3 Leave lots to crawl over

Search engines will crawl over everything they can find about your business. They do this to rate your credibility and relevance when it comes to returning your website in searches. 

So, imagine how strong your brand is going to appear when you have a website that’s so on point it outmatches the opposition and content that’s in all the right places and liked and shared across the web: presentations, videos, reports, PDFs, blogs, press releases, webinars and competitions to name a few.

#4 Think quality, not quantity

Optimising anything is complex and time-consuming. And that includes search engine optimisation which nowadays demands you get quality links to your site. So say no go to spammy back links gained en-masse! 

Yet, getting those quality links is a tough job. But don’t compromise – you want to make sure you go for links from highly-relevant blogs and trusted sources. Of course, don’t get too hung up on always securing those valuable anchor-text back links. A more diverse profile is more valuable in today’s SEO – so go for variety in your keyword distribution.

#5 Be more personal and social

Gone are the days of anonymous profiles as ways to build links to your site. Nowadays it’s all about your people stepping up and becoming brand advocates online, naturally creating links to your site and boosting SEO efforts. So get your people using social media and sharing your business content. Think about new developments such as Google authorship markup.

A happy by-product: You will get closer to your customers and engage with them. What’s more, social media use will also help create those all important social signals – likes, shares and comments – which search engines now consider when ranking your site.

#6 Get creating content

A good content strategy should complement and feed your social media, and so drive traffic, create links and social signals. As a by-product your search rankings will get a boost.

Publishing blogs and sharing resources within a “hub” on your website are two really effective ways to use content to get your site returned in more searches. Put simply, there will be more content for Google to find. These activities will also provide people with something more insightful and interesting to like, share and comment on (those important social signals). 

#7 Focus closer to home

While you’re upping the game on your own site you should also consider this: Because Google has clamped down on what we can all do with SEO off-site, you’ll need to make sure your on-site SEO is water-tight. That’ll mean getting your site’s meta-information in tip-top condition and using the latest developments such as rich snippets.

You might need to take a look at some of the links currently coming into your site too. Make a decision about what value they provide and delete some if necessary. It’s probably best to talk to an SEO specialist when considering this course of action.

Read our #FreeYourMarketing blog series for more ideas and tips on creating and using on-point SEO

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