A Tiny Onpage SEO Checklist to Avoid Getting Slapped by Panda
- SEO |
- Avoid the same lenght of content on all your site (eg not 500 words for each page)
- Stick to a minimum amount of 20 pages
- Aim to have no affiliate links at all at 50% of your pages.
- Don't look at amount of affiliate links per page, look at it at a per site ratio, I prefer to stick with the following formula ( # affiliate links / # pages website) <= 1, so if you have 20 affiliate links and 20 pages you're good to go, but don't forget what I wrote above.
- Avoid large images at the start of the post, Google prefers to crawl written content first.
- Avoid affiliate links at the start of the post, I would recommend your 1st affiliate link to appear after the 2nd paragraph and preferably somewhere down the fold.
- Nofollow your affiliate links (no idea if it helps but it can't hurt), I never bothered before and saw no negative effect from it but it only takes a tiny bit of effort so why not.
- Be divers when styling your posts, it looks too much like a content farm when each post looks exactly the same.
- We have h2, h3 tags, use them, it makes your posts more appealing for the reader and it gives structure
- Use your H1 tag only once, it's meant as your title so makes no sense for a post to have two titles, check your theme to make sure it's only used once, if not adjust it, most themes are programmer/designed so poor that it's often an issue.
- What about linking out to authority sites? I wouldn't even bother, no one ever came up with proof in any way and I never saw any change in rankings ever when I played with it. If it has an effect it's so tiny that the loss of visitors who click that link heavily out weights the benefits.
- Use static homepages and category pages if you have the intention to rank those pages, you will find out it takes considerable less effort to get them ranked, if you don't want to change them to static or find it to hard then dedicate some other pages for your main keywords. It's really worth it, trust me on that.
- Avoid duplicate content by using canonical tags and reduce thin pages by using a plugin like SEO Yoast to noindex/nofollow tag, author, sub page, date archives.
- Contrary to what I said before you can consider using tag pages to boost the amount of pages your site has, I saw one site doing that, he has 1 homepage, 12 reviews and 12 tag pages. His homepage + review pages are all 1200+ words though, cause of that it doesn't hurt to have some thin pages but always compensate your thin pages by having thicker pages and make sure your thicker pages outweight the number of thin pages. He's doing exceptionally well btw and I traced many of his other sites where he applies the same concept. Tag pages are just pages and thus they can help you to increase the overall relevance of your site, just know what you're doing, most people take this type of advice the wrong way and start to produce ultra thin 3 page site and add 17 pages to come up with the 20 page minimum that I advised earlier. DON''T, read what I write as a whole and not pick just the snippets that you like, it doesn't work that way.
- Aim at a low keyword density ( <=1%) and the longer your key phrase is the lower the density should be, density is calculated like this btw (many do it wrong). Eg: 500 word article, kw is "best lawn mower" and mentioned 5 times. Some think 5/500 words = 1% density, WRONG. 5 times * 3 words (best + lawn + mower) = 15 words / 500 words = 3%, too much. The longer your phrase is the less important it becomes to mention it in that exact order, actually it can even be dangerous at a 1% density to keep repeating 6 word phrases in the same order so use your common sense.
- Vary your Title / URL and H1 tag. Most who produce a page come up with a title like "Best Lawn Mower", URL: hxxp://site.com/best-lawn-mower, H1: Best Lawn Mower, that looks pretty unnatural, especially when you add internal and external links that also match the "best lawn mower" phrase in the exact same way, and that leaves footprints and thus you're much more sensitive to get slapped by some update.
- Name your categories smart, if your target keyword is "best lawn mower" and you plan to rank your category and the name is "best lawn mower" and you have 20 pages of content it means that you have 20 internal links with the anchor text "best lawn mower", which limits you in the amount of external anchor links you can use, so better use a more broad name for your category like "lawn mowers". When using SEO Yoast plugin it allows you to set a custom title for your category where you can and should use "best lawn mower" as the title still carries the most weight of all, though even that is diminishing these days.
- Avoid themes with huge sliders/carousels, especially when you start out with a brand new site, there's something called "above the fold" and Google is more strict with that, it prefers to see written content above the fold, the more the better.
- Avoid Amazon type of themes that place buy now buttons on every single home/category page, it hugely increases the amount of affiliate links and I told you earlier you have to be careful with amount of affiliate links. Those themes also have the tendency to place affiliate links at the top of each review page so the first thing Google crawls is an affiliate links so better stop using them.
- Check the theme you use for SEO friendliness, many themes include a bunch of garbage that makes you sick, even the core WP files are not so friendly for SEO especially when you start to use category descriptions. What happens is that when you use a lengthy category descriptions and you have a list of categories in your sidebar that this description shows on every freaking page on your site and thus it results in a TON of duplicate content that scares the hell out of you. I attached the wp core file that you need to replace to prevent category descriptions to show up on every single page (assuming your category shows in your sidebar or main navigation) which is the case 99.9% of the time. You find this file inside your /wp-includes/ folder. Do make sure to update to WP 3.9.1 or you might hate me for this suggestion as it can and will break your site if you run older versions of WP, sure it might be compatible with WP3.9 but just dont take your chances.
Ok this short post turned out to be a bit longer then I expected but if you setup your site like this and take all considerations into account then you're 100% free of Panda slaps.
Most people are not aware of it but a Panda filter doesn't tank you back to page 20, it often only causes small drops of 5-15 positions or holds you back from ranking well, even sites that rank somewhere down page one or at page two can achieve huge gains to the top of page one by simply adjusting their sites, not a single additional backlink needed for that.
Try it, you got nothing to lose and a LOT to gain!
ps: In case I forgot something I will add it later but I think I mentioned the most important points so far. Other things to think of are page load speed by decreasing images instead of using width / height elements, more advanced methods are using CDN, anyway this post is about keeping you 100% Panda slap free. There's always more to do to increase rankings.
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