Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and Google’s New Algorithms Social Media is Key
Every Google update sends ripples through the community of website owners, webmasters, and SEO experts responsible for creating an online presence. Every iteration brings with it anecdotes about sites that faced inexplicable losses and had to start building their online businesses from scratch.
But Google's goals are in such close alignment with those of content publishers that each successive series of tweaks should be seen as the improvements they are meant to be.
Online Audience Optimization (OAO) is today's answer to SEO, updated for the needs of content publishers. It eschews the spammy SEO techniques that Google's ongoing updates are meant to circumvent. Publishers embracing OAO as their approach to developing audience for site content should have nothing to fear from Google's updates.
Utilization of OAO techniques does require, as does traditional SEO, an understanding of what is important to optimizing search engine rankings. Social media strategist Don Crowther recently shared a study he had done identifying what has changed over the past year since the latest Google updates, and what factors correlate most closely with high search engine rankings.
Don is careful to point out that what he has identified is correlative, not necessarily causative. Google doesn't share its formulas, so no one really knows what action causes better results. It is possible, however, to find out what elements correlate with high rankings, and that is what Don has done.
Some of the findings might surprise members of the SEO community. Backlinks are as important as they ever were; keyword density is not. No-follow backlinks do support higher rankings. Stop words (words such as the articles in a phrase that the search engines don't use) are to be avoided in internal links, but in external links they do support search ranking.
We all know to use images-but we need to use them more (25 or more per page, says Crowther). At the same time, these images need to be very loadable. Load time is important, and if your page takes more than two seconds to load, it is too slow.
But Crowther's main finding is this: for robust search rankings, social media is key.
Of the top 10 correlating factors, seven are social. These are the seven:
Google Plus Ones
Related story: Using Anchor Text in Online Audience Optimization (OAO)
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.