Published on by: James H. Hobson
Domains and Hosting
Domains have taken on a greater importance. Registration length is not a huge SEO factor but it is a good idea to have your domain registered for at least 5 years to show stability. The pronounced change is that exact match domains are now seen as being spammy. Having an esablished domain is better than newly registered domain.
Hosting selection remains a minor consideration but still should be respected as influencing SEO. Your website hosting should be in the country where you are located. Using a large and established hosting company is vastly superior to small companies that offer in-house hosting. In-house hosting means using servers located within the web company and should not be confused with website companies that resell hosting services provided by providers such as GoDaddy.
SEO Link Building
SEO Link Building has changed substantially to nullify previous benefits from link farms, blog wheels, mass link building and other black hat practices. In 2012 links should be from sites that are relevant to the target site. It is much better to have 10 links from relevant sites than 200 from random websites. A good way to think about it is to ask, "is it logical to think that someone on Site A would link to Site B?". Be very selective in where you seek to gain a backlink.
Link velocity, the volume of new links gained in a specific period of time, is a key signal. When a small local business gets 1000 links in a week, or normally gets 2 links a month and suddenly gets 500 links, it looks very suspicious. A good link footprint reflects a normal pace and logical backlink sources. The days of acquiring links in mass are over, and it will now hurt your rankings.
Other link building factors to watch are:
- Domain diversity; meaning too many links from a single domain is not good.
- Natural anchor text; means anchor text that people would normally use such as "click here" "learn more", etc. Most people linking to your site are not going to use perfect SEO phrases.
- Anchor text diversity; means having anchor text that varies. If your backlink footprint shows certain phrases, especially perfect SEO phrases, as being a large percentage of your overall link footprint it looks very unnatural.
- Bad link neighborhood; means having links from sites with questionable practices. In our business, SEO companies with backlinks to blackhat services will hurt their SEO results.
SEO Coding in 2012
SEO Coding is really nothing more than doing things in an ethical and logical manner. Write code for optimal page performance and informing users. Don't write code to manipulate search engines.
- Title tags should be no more than 70 characters. Repeating words in your page title is not recommended. Dashes and vertical pipes remain good dividers.
- Page descriptions, title attributes and alt tags should be accurate and not used for keyword stuffing. Page descriptions should be less than 150 characters.
- Page load time is now a very critical thing to improve. A page should load in less than .5 seconds, and ideally will be far less than this time. Use external stylesheets and keep an eye on the file sizes for photos and graphics.
This subject could be expanded into several articles so we will address only primary points here. Keyword density is no longer something to max out, but is instead a figure to keep relatively low. Search engines utilizing latent semantic indexing can identify "word groups" meaning word families that are related. Subsequently, using many related terms and "partial SEO phrases" will be much more beneficial than repetitive use of 1-3 keyword phrases.
The bottom line for Google SEO in 2012 is to focus on website users and visitors. Improve the user experience with rich content, minimize promotional language, eliminate spammy practices and your site is more likley to achieve and sustain top search engine rankings.