We have seen a decline in search engine results impressions over the last month or so with a more noticeable drop around the time the Google Penguin update came out. From a lot of commentry around on the web, a lot of people are blaming this update for such declines. Rather than just accepting this apparent balancing of the web, I now have the ongoing task of making whatever adaptations are needed to try and restore the previous levels of traffic.
Our business is a small specialist lock company who mainly manufacturer the products but also sell online although at prices above those of our distributers/B2C customers. My initial thoughts were that well, we are trying to compete at achieving high search result positions with huge multi-national retail sites who have large marketing spends and resources available, and thus why would we have a change. However, this seems a bit defeatist!!
A few of the actions I have been taking are as follows:
Introducing the use of the rel canonical and rel alternate tags where page content is the same (e.g. myurl.com/dir1/dir2 and myurl.com/dir1/dir2/ - note the trailing slash) - I am paranoid over duplicate content but would have thought if it was one the same site, then Google would just ignore one copy
Ensuring all titles, meta keywords & meta descriptions are unique
Ensuring that heading 1 tags are used appropriately
Avoiding keyword stuffing
Avoiding the use of link building schemes
We are shortly about to embark on a social media project - we currently don’t run a blog or an active Twitter or Facebook account and from my research, Google are now very, very keen on genuinely popular sites - i.e. those with real reviews, mentions, etc on social media platforms.
Does this all ring true? Can anyone offer any advice, shared experiences or even just moral support!!??
Don’t forget that social media also make more direct connections with people, which is possibly more powerful that just waiting for these people to stumble upon you in a search engine. Getting traffic to your site is not just about search engines.
The problem around duplicate content comes when you have different routes to the same page – you’ll almost certainly find that you have some inbound links that include the trailing slash and others that omit it. If those two URLs are resolved separately then, as far as Google is concerned, it looks like there are two pages, and the link juice is being split between them. By telling Google that they are just variants of the same page, you ensure that all that googley goodness is channelled into the one page.
Seems like you’ve taken a hit from the penguin update. The sad part with these updates is we never know why exactly are we being penalized or pushed down in search results. All we can do is avoid using any of the short cuts to search engine optimize the site. And yes, do not avoid link building schemes, just avoid bad link building techniques. If you do not build links, your site wouldn’t stand in the competition.