Since the release of Google’s two latest algorithms Panda and, more recently, Penguin, many have speculated that all forms of SEO are gradually coming into their cross-hairs. It was particularly threatening when they announced that Penguin would specifically be targeting over-optimisation.

But what they meant by that, was that more subtly unethical SEO practices would be more effectively recognised and penalised. You won’t be punished for building a website that’s too good. Just as long as that measure of “good” applies to the human visitors of your website and not just the web-crawlers that Google sends around.

Content: Readability is the Key

• Avoid using large blocks of content that are obviously stuffed with keywords. These are quite easily recognised by Google. This is because they have very low readability due to placement and density of the keywords, they often aren’t paragraphed properly and don’t offer any actual valuable facts.

• There’s nothing wrong with including a keyword in your page title, in fact it’s suggested, but just make sure they apply and you don’t overdo it.

• Avoid duplicate content. Google doesn’t penalise it, as it can often be accidental, but they won’t weight it either. Near-duplicate content is another story. Slightly affecting your content and putting it on another page is seen as intentionally unethical and will be punished.

Links: Keep it Ethical

Links are one of the great debates of search engine optimisation. They may not mean as much as they used to but they still mean quite a lot. You just need to do it in a way that compliments the content of your pages.

Link footers aren’t as highly valued as links placed in the content, for instance. This is because the latter looks like it’s providing further useful content on the subject instead of just a link for the sake of a link.

Blogs: Building Popularity

Blogs for commercial companies struggle to attract followers, as opposed to social and informational blogs. This is mainly because people don’t enjoy being directly marketed to when interacting on the internet.

Make sure to vary the content of your blog between commercial posts and informative posts. Try to interact with people on other websites, and provide insightful commentary on their pages. If people find you interesting they may begin clicking-through to your blog.

Blogs: Encouraging Interaction

Google likes to see interaction on blogs. Not just posts but people discussing those posts in an intelligent manner. Below we have some suggestions to entice the right people to comment on your blog.

• Link-bait, refers to content that is so sensational or interesting that it inspires users to widely share it amongst themselves. This is an effective social signal. Try making your post topical, relevant and a little exciting for your target market.

• Often, blog posts shouldn’t have all the answers but rather, it should ask the right questions. Sparking a debate on your blog post can be challenging for a commercial blog as you still have company image to maintain. Don’t be controversial but rather say something original.

• Regulate your blog so it doesn’t lose authority. This involves screening your blog comments so only intelligent and insightful commentary is displayed. Don’t be an intellectual snob, just cut down on senselessly abusive comments, spam posts and comments that just ramble on without adding any value.