SEO is an ever changing-game, and with Google’s recent Hummingbird update, your old SEO tricks may be doing you more harm than good. Start the year with a refreshed approach to SEO. Follow these tips to make sure your SEO approach is not having a negative impact.


Content is king, and it has been for sometime. Quality, regularly updated, well crafted content. But there are a lot of people who still believe in injecting so many keywords into their content, that it sounds unnatural. This impacts your Page Rank, and not in a good way.
According to Google’s Webmaster Tools this would be considered keyword stuffing.
Two examples they give are:

  • Blocks of text listing cities and states a webpage is trying to rank for
  • Repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural, for example:
    We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at

The tricks will only get you so far if you don’t have quality content that is genuinely useful and worthy of being shared.

Use Responsive Design

For your site to rank well ensure it is optimized for any device. This is where responsive design comes helps. Responsive design isn’t new, but with the amount of mobile devices on the market continuing to grow, it has been gaining traction over the past couple of years.

Basically, when you visit a website on your mobile device, one of the following scenarios will happen: 

  1. You get a desktop sized website shrunken down to the size of your device (annoying).
  2. You get redirected to a different mobile site / url with less information and an inconsistent look and feel to the desktop counterpart (kind of annoying).
  3. The website restructures its layout, navigation, font sizes, and image sizes in order to display the information you were looking for in the best possible format (awesome!).

The third situation, and most optimal, refers to responsive design. If a user comes to your website, does not leave right away, and continues to come to your website for information, then this will have a positive effect with search engines. However, if a user comes to your website and experiences one of the first two situations, there’s a higher chance of that user leaving right away which will negatively impact your website’s search results.

And if you needed any more convincing, here it is straight from the horse’s mouth:

"Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.” - Google 

Setup Google Authorship

By establishing authorship, you are establishing yourself as a knowledgeable resource in your industry. Google has made that process much easier by launching Google Authorship. This helps Google ensure that the content is coming from a genuine resource, as well it will help your posts stand out within search results, all helping improve your relationship with Google.

Utilize Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are the extra pieces of data such as ratings and author pictures that can appear next to search engine results. Rich snippets alone will not improve your page's ranking, but rich snippets do increase the chance that searchers will click on your website link, which in the end will improve your ranking.

You can set them up on your page by confirming authorship of your site and including the appropriate HTML markup in your content. More information is available here:

Be Social

Being active on social media!

Whether or not Google can access social media websites currently, the company plans to be able to access them in the near future. Plus, social media ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ increase your webpage's visibility, which is always good for Page Rank. The more you use social media for marketing, the more benefits you will undoubtedly see.

Use Webmaster Tools

Webmaster Tools is a free service Google provides that allows you to maintain and optimize your website like an SEO pro. You can see which search queries lead people to click on your site, make sure that your site's keywords accurately reflect the keywords you wish to rank for and fix any crawl errors. You can submit a site map, check your page's load time and use Fetch as Google Bot to verify that Google bots can read all parts of your site.

Whatever You Do, Do Not Buy Links, Directory Listings, Shares or Likes

Paying for links that increase your Page Rank is a violation of Google's Terms of Service, and doing so can decrease your Page Rank. While purchasing links, likes, listings, etc. may have worked in the past, it could end up getting your page removed from Google in the future if you are a repeat offender. Instead of purchasing your links, focus on creating quality content that people will naturally want to share. 

If you have purchased links in the past, make sure to remove them promptly. If you are unable to do so yourself, you can contact the owner of the website and ask that they be removed. Once you have removed as many as you are able to on your own, you can disavow any remaining links using Google's disavow tool (part of Webmaster Tools). This tool basically tells Google to ignore certain links to your site when determining your Page Rank.

Written By: Scott Whitehead