Since the Google Panda update was rolled out in numerous stages over the course of the first two quarters of 2011, the SEO game has changed quite drastically. Below are some of the best SEO tips you can follow to make sure your site is Panda ready.

Quality Over Quantity

The biggest change that came with the panda update was attacking sites with a lot of low quality syndicated content. So if you changed your strategy after this update and focused on higher quality content, but your low quality content still remains you may want to think about going back and tweaking all of that content. Its been widely noted that a few bad apples can kill your apple tree now. Here are some more important quality over quantity SEO tips.

If you can figure out which of your pages were affected negatively by the panda update, you should be going back and either tweaking them, or getting rid of them all together.

Look for pages that have a keyword density greater than 3-5% and lower it. Content that is blatantly keyword stuffed in a desperate attempt to rank better is a good way to get panda filtered.

The goal here is to share content that people will want to share, which will also do wonders for your linkbuilding as your viewers will be doing part of your backlinking for you by sharing your posts on social networks.

Spelling & grammar are obviously important factors to always keep in mind.

As a final quality note, I always check the top 10 rankings on Google for the search term I’m working on and compare my content with that content. Then I ask myself is my content better? Do I offer more value? Am I just repeating what they’re already saying or am I taking a new approach to the topic?

Linkbuilding SEO Tips

The days of ranking a site solely on low quality spam links like blog comments, forum profile links or directory submissions are slowly but surely coming to an end. The best way to utilize these types of links are in extreme moderation mixed in with a good diversity of higher quality links, or to use these low quality backlinks on your buffer sites only, not directly on your money sites. Remember, one solid backlink from a strong domain on a high quality content page can literally be worth more than thousands of these low quality links.

Don’t over do it with your anchor text. If all your inbound links are exactly the same, that is a fairly obvious footprint for Google to spot. The less footprints the better.

Streamline and simplicity

Strive to make your site as simple and streamlined as possible. Forget the confusing, fancy widgets that just add clutter to your site. Give your viewers exactly what they are on your page to see. If there are some elements you have to include, try to keep them below the fold. Your content should not be cluttered and separated by ads and widgets. Also take a closer look at your page count. Do you really need them all? If you’ve got pages all over the place, trim them down and organize things better.

Appearance if becoming increasingly important

Google has the ability to determine how good your site looks based on code, layout and the amount of adverts compared to content. So keep this in mind while developing or picking your theme. Don’t go nuts with the ads, and try to make things look nice and clean for the visitor. One of the questions Google bases its quality factors on is “Would I give this site my credit card?”. Even if your site isn’t selling anything, you should still strive to make it look as professional as possible so that if you were taking credit cards, your viewers would not question your sites authority.

The importance of site navigation

How easily can your site be navigated? If your visitors are having to go through multiple pages just to find a certain page, that is very bad. Your navigation should also be somewhat static in terms of location. Your navigation bars should not be changing from page to page, so make sure your site can be easily and efficiently navigated as Google is looking at this aspect.

Page speed

Make sure your site doesn’t take longer than 3 seconds to start seeing something. The slower your page speed, the worse your site is likely to rank and the higher your bounce rate is going to be.

Start socializing

It’s clear Google is starting to favorite social media and incorporate into its search algorithm as much as possible. So start adding those social widgets to your site with the Facebook “like” button, Google +1 button, Follow me on twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon etc… If you use WordPress there are some fantastic social media plug-ins to check out.

Buggy code

If you coded any aspect of your site yourself, there’s a good chance you’ve got some in-efficient code or bugs that could be hurting your rankings. Go through it and clean up any old or outdated code. Not only can this help with your rankings, but you will have a cleaner, leaner, and less vulnerable site.

Site maps

Do yourself and Google a favor and make it easier for bots to crawl and find your pages. This may not directly affect your rankings, but it certainly helps your new posts and pages get indexed faster.

SEO Tricks

Titles

Make them unique, and have them contain your targeted keywords. If your target keyword is ‘Best Running Shoes’ then here is an example of both a bad title and a great title.

Bad title = The Best Running Shoes

Why? You’re practically guaranteed to run into at least one duplicate title as this is a very bland selection. Not only that, but your limiting yourself from ranking for potential keyword extensions and increasing your traffic like in the title below

Great title = Best Running Shoes For Men And Women 2011

Not only is this far more likely to be unique, it covers 3 keyword extensions. ‘Best running shoes for men’, ‘Best running shoes for women’ and ‘Best running shoes 2011′

You just took the base keyword ‘Best Running Shoes’ which has 27,100 exact global searches, and added 3 keyword extensions which have a total of12,200 global monthly searches for a total of 39,300 exact global monthly searches.

Anchor Text

Just like in the example titles above, you should try to apply keyword extensions to your anchor text diversity for great search engine exposure. For both your inner page linking, and linkbuilding campaigns you should be alternating your anchor text as much as possible. This will not only help you rank for these keyword extensions, but will also make everything look more natural to the spiders.

SEO Word Count

It is my personal belief that post panda update, the more content you have on your page relating to your topic, the easier it will be to rank, assuming the quality of the article does not suffer of course. I’m not saying its impossible to rank small 200 or less word pages well, it just hasn’t been as easy to rank them compared to a 500+ word article of the same quality. 500 words is my absolute minimum word count, and with a few keyword extensions in the article, writing 500 words is very easily achievable. I know there are some that will disagree with me on this, as it can be very circumstantial. But, ask yourself this question. Would you feel safer in the long run with a 500 or even 1000 word article compared to a 300 word article? The answer is pretty obvious for me.

I hope you have learned something from my SEO tips and tricks and as always, if you feel you disagree on a topic here, or would like to add your 2 cents, I would love to discuss these topics with you all.