How to Place Well on Google in the Post Panda/Penguin Era — A SPN Exclusive

Hard Work Gets You Organic Placement

There is no magic wand, no secret recipe, or for that matter special protocol you should follow or buy to have your website appear in the top unpaid search results on Google. In fact, do too much of optimization for placement and you’ll run right into Google’s “over optimization” filter and be dropped back as much as 50 to 100 pages in the search results.

So what is a website owner to do? First off, the bottom-line is you can’t scam or buy your way to top placement on Google.com. In this new world of post Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, it is readable natural content that Google wants; no keyword dense content, no heavy use of keyword phrases in the heading and subheading tags, and certainly no aggressive link building strategies.

Matt Cutts, the Google representative to my industry, says this about organic placement:

“Key phrases don’t have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonym work so that we can find good pages that don’t happen to use the same words as the user typed.”

“People can overdo it [using meta tags and headings that are keyword dense] to the point that we consider it keyword stuffing, and it hurts. I would just make sure you do it in natural ways where regular people aren’t going to find it stiff or artificial. That tends to be what works best.”

“Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines. It’s just not necessary. The next time you write a new page of copy, test this approach to writing for the engines and see if you get as good (or better) results than before. I’m betting you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

You can read the full article and interview that was done with Matt Cutts on SiteProNews. It is worth
a careful read. The article’s author goes onto state that she likes mentioning a specific phrase only two times on a page and then sprinkles in synonyms in a natural way in her content and Cutts has agreed that he likes this approach.

The bottom line is that building keyword density and working in keywords to headers, images, and links is now passe and even considered spamming by Google. What used to work to get organic search placement simply no longer works.

Twitter and Google+ Are Important

Because Google+ is a Google tool and is being integrated into every Google property, to not be actively be involved in Google+ and +1’s, which are part of Google’s new placement focus, is a missed opportunity.

Twitter links and activity are indexed and shown in Google’s search results unlike those of Facebook. If you have to choose a social network to be involved within this new world, choose Twitter over Facebook!

Why is Google+ So Important?

Based on this new focus for Google, you need to start flowing through search and social activity into your Google+ and +1 bank. If you don’t have accounts, Google can’t tie the activity to you specifically.

Let’s Talk About What Google+ and +1’s Are

Google+ is a social platform. It is not like Facebook but more like Facebook and Twitter combined. However, it is much more important than any of the social networks we know and use now.

You could consider Google+ like a voting and popularity network but one that has the ear of Google. Anything you do on Google+ will most certainly impact your website’s organic placement and Web Visibility in the future. Google has said as much in their releases. Google has additionally stated that it will be showing social results from your Google+ network in their Google.com personalized search results.

What this means is that for people and businesses that embrace Google+ early and start building their network now, there will be strong benefits for their updates and links. This activity will be shown in your own personal and expanded network’s search/social results.

+1’s are Google’s version of votes. If you like a page, like an ad, like a blog post, like a Google+ comment, you vote it up using a +1. What is crucial to understand is that a +1 is tied to your Google+ activity. These +1 votes will impact your visibility and placement on Google in the new Google Search Plus Your World results.

Google Search Plus Your World Is the New Face of Google

In mid January, Google rolled out an important change to their search index. They named it Google Search Plus Your World. In my industry we call it Search Plus. Google stated that they will be using activity, updates, Google+ activity, and +1 activity in the search results that they deliver to your personally and to those in your Google+ network.

What is interesting is that even if you are logged out of your Google account, Google is still tracking your activity. Of additional importance is the announcement that the social related results that will be shown in the Google.com index are personally selected for you and WILL contain Google+ activity across your Google+ social network.

That means if you start building your network now, your information and website could be appearing in search results for a very broad network of readers and potential prospects. As this activity comes from your personal network, just like a word-of-mouth referral, links to you and your profile will most likely carry more authority and legitimacy in the eyes of potential clients. Everyone weights a reference by a friend about a business more than a written review found randomly on the Web. This will be the real impact of Google+ and +1’s in the very near future.

Why Is This So Important?

All of the information in this newsletter is important because the business that is driving these changes is Google. Because Google owns 65% of the online search market, to be positioned well on Google means taking full advantage of what Google considers important.

It is critical you understand that Google+ is not Facebook. Google considers Google+ and +1’s integral to it’s new face of search and how search results are shaped and delivered. These new Google offerings are very important and should be embraced quickly and completely for your future organic placement benefit.

Placement is More Than Twitter and Google+ – There Are Still Links to Factor In

Sorry, you can’t just stop with Twitter and Google+ and think that you’ll garner organic placement, you’ve got to think about links too. But smart links! For most clients the easiest way to build links naturally (that is important to Google) over time is by blogging. Google considers each blog post as if it were a new page on your website – but a page that is on one topic – and so may easily place in the search results for that topic.

If the page gets indexed, it can lead readers from your blog right into your website and can even improve the stickiness of your website. There is no downside, in my point of view, with blogging. It is not unusual for a website that blogs three days a week to build 156 new website pages and grow links to over thousand in a year.


I want to reiterate that there is no magic formula to getting organic search placement on Google.

What I do know is that Google likes content-rich authority websites that have a large number of pages and have an older established domain name.

Google likes a natural slow progression of links pointing to a website and blogging works great for growing these inbound links slowly.

Google likes social exchange through Twitter and tweets are included in Google’s search index.

Google loves Google+ and Google +1 activity. In fact so much so, that there is a special section in your site’s Google Webmaster control panel where Google tracks these and even shows the search impact.

The bottom-line is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to grow and build organic search placement, but there are still some very smart things you can do if you follow what Google considers important.

We are here to help and can offer consulting services, Twitter updates, blog writing, Google+ updates, and website content services. If you need serious professional help, I invite you to call us at McCord Web Services.

Nancy McCord is the founder and President of McCord Web Services LLC which provides blog writing services, Twitter and Facebook status updates, and Google AdWords account set up and management. Since 2001, Nancy McCord has developed a reputation as an expert on Google AdWords and how to use social networking for business. You can visit Nancy and her firm at www.McCordWeb.com. Connect with +Nancy McCord at Google+, @mccordweb on Twitter and on Facebook.

About the author


Nancy McCord

Nancy McCord is the founder and President of McCord Web Services LLC which provides blog writing services, Twitter and Facebook status updates, and Google AdWords account set up and management. Since 2001, Nancy McCord has developed a reputation as an expert on Google AdWords and how to use social networking for business. You can visit Nancy and her firm at www.McCordWeb.com. Connect with +Nancy McCord at Google+, @mccordweb on Twitter and on Facebook.


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  • There is so much confusion and sheer terror at the thought of over optimization. I shudder to think people are just letting their sites slide in the hope that things will right by themselves.

  • So Google+ is good way to receive traffic organic. This really good info and after this I have to past good article in my website.

  • I thank you so much for preparing this article, my eyes have been opened. I am new at all this and was obviously going about it the old fashion way way. Google plus and twitter here I come. Thank you.

  • In the second paragraph of your article in my SiteProNews email, you say, “you can’t scam or buy your way to top placement on Google.com”. Ironically, this statement appears just below an ad for “1,000 Visitors in 30 Days!” for $7.99.

  • So everthing we used to do has now gone out of the window and we have to change our ways to get good results in google

  • There is a lot of desinformation from Matt Cutts, don’t believe everything he says, there are tons of examples of sites with duplicate content that are 1st on google…
    I’ll give you a hint about penguin 🙂 just don’t over seo the keywords you want because gg compares them to their adwords dictionnary, if they cost a lot you’re more likely to get penalised on these 😉 ( so target non paying keywords first so that you can fly under the radar… ) I know a company who bought 25000 links with chinese keywords so that they are “penguinised on those useless words”, then they started putting english keywords anchor texts, and now they are on the front page with highly competitive queries…

  • Can I make 2 points.
    1. While I understand the logic of Google+, unfortunately it is a total mess and would not be considered at all useful for the majority of businesses. Placing weight on a platform ‘unfit for purpose’ seems strange.
    2. You can acquire good rankings for a page without having keywords in the link text pointing to it and without any appreciable use of the keywords on the page. So, exactly how does Google decide why your page (and not 2 million others) should hold the coveted No1 position? I understand it can be complex – but there still needs to be an understandable logic to the process.

  • After Matt Cutts recent remarks I researched the best tools to create LSI content that Google loves. These are the tools that we are using in our companies now:

    LSI Keywords
    A free online tool that quickly gives you 1, 2 and 3 word LSI keyword phrases from the top 10 Google pages ranked for the keyword you type in.

    LSI Ranker and editor
    Two paid tools that create a list of LSI keywords from the top 5 sites ranked for your focus keyword, then scores your article for those LSI keywords. The editor allows you to see your score in real-time as you edit.

    Google External Keyword Tool
    Google’s free tool that draws LSI keywords from their algorithm and database. If you login with your Gmail address then you can see up to 1,000 keywords instead of 100, and you can also see other columns of data like Adwords PPC cost per click.

  • I just want to add to this discussion. What a mess in a search results! All 3-4 year old info and nothing new and fresh. Google messing up like never before.

  • Matt Cutts is a hopeless propaganda minister.

    It would be nice if sites like SPN didn’t support it.

    Google+ is crap and hardly used. Google just wants to scare, intimidate, and try and force people to use it.

    No more garbage articles about Google+ and Matt’s latest disinformation.

  • To Franck – You noticed this too? I’m finding what is said and what actually occurs are two different things.

    To Ian Smith – Point #1 Not only is Google+ a mess, the same is true for the coveted Google Places, which is now a broken crap shoot.

    Your point #2 is exactly why the search results pages are a mess.

    To Coupon – I’ve been saying the same thing! When looking for current info, G offers up nothing but info from years ago. I use Bing and other search engines if I want info that is current.

    To avoid any website algorithm hiccups, just stick with pure organic white hat and common sense. Ditch the SEO software and do what is natural.

  • It’s SEO + social media now. I heard someone call it “Business Relationship Optimization”. And, it’s gotten a lot more complicated and time-consuming for the average company with no in-house expertise to implement.

  • I have been messing with Google plus but got frustrated with it. I don’t want my personal information associated with my business. Each time I go to Google+, it plus up all my personal information. I have made countless effort to replace these personal information with my business information.

    Does any one has a clue on how I can do that.
    The same thing with my twitter account. How can I replace my twitter account with a business account?


  • Hi,

    I am the author and have been watching the comments. The point I wanted to make based on what I read is that even if you don’t like Google+, guess what, you are going to have to embrace it in this new world of organic placement on GoogleUnfortunatelytley it does not matter if you like it or not, Google likes it, and searches that impact your business are done on Google’s free platform.

    You are just going to have to play the game Google’s way if you want placement in this new era post Panda/Penguin.

  • Hi Nancy,
    Agree totally with you.
    If you want to rank well and not be penalized in the future you need to play Google’s way.
    Concentrating on quality unique content and relationship building will not only help you with Google but you will build a loyal customer/client base.

  • We all of us know that – “Google likes content-rich authority websites that have a large number of pages and have an older established domain name.” – No any doubt about it.

    It’s so much interesting and valuable – “Google likes a natural slow progression of links pointing to a website and blogging works great for growing these inbound links slowly.” – I love to this google activity.

    I was totally unknown about this – “Google likes social exchange through Twitter and tweets are included in Google’s search index.” – Now, I found the way for better SERP and keyword ranking for my website.

  • Sorry, but I must disagree that we “have to embrace Google+.” No, we don’t have to embrace anything. Last I looked, this was still a free thinking society and G doesn’t rule the world, nor is it the only search engine on the planet.

    Looks like there are privacy issues with it for one thing, and it is the very reason why I never joined FB. Another thing is I have yet to hear people absolutely rave about it. In fact, I’m hearing more of the opposite.

    As Nina said, she is trying to get her personal info removed from it and is having great difficulty doing that.

    Nope, no Google+ for me. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • Thank you for the great article. I agree with you that we should all just try to make a good website, forget seo and google, focus on your website and customers and what they want instead. Hopefully one day we’ll be back on page 1 for our keywords even if they are competitive.

    Best of luck to everyone.

  • Re: Nancy McCord article:
    Well written and very informative. I agree with Nancy when she states that even if you don’t like it you are going to have to “play the Google+ game” to get desired ranking.
    Well done
    David Quinn

  • The Penguin change pretty well ruined two of my ratings on Google but my pages are still very highly rated on Bing. I wish people would use Bing more!
    That being said, I actually like Google Plus and prefer it over that mess called Facebook.
    I enjoyed this informative article very much. Thanks Nancy.

  • It almost sounds like Google is making it less complicated to get to #1. I can see the need for a paradigm shift in my SEO. Of course it means more writing, which I detest. 🙂 lol

  • Thanks Nancy, This is a wonderful article for the people like me who are not SEO professional and do the marketing for their site by themselves,
    Would love to read more of your articles.
    Thanks a lot.

  • To be honest here, his Google idea of updating how their penguin penalized website is beginning to scare. It kind of slows down some things as people would find it difficult to build links to avoid being hurt. Well, I just feel that the better way to stay save is to build links from high profile sites, avoid keyword stuffing and work on putting up quality contents. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  • According to matt cuts for better ranking and traffic we should use google+, but we are not able to find some real users on google+, its better to go to Facebook and twitter so that we can get some good traffic and leads.

  • Ironically I don’t see a Google+ button on this page to share the article. I’ll use the URL itself.

    Another extremely important item to note is that, if you are depending completely on organic Google rankings to float your business then you are disillusioned. You need to build your traffic/sales/leads on multiple channels. I wrote a blog post detailing how you can get huge conversion increases by doing testing, optimizing then rolling out to other channels:
    test, optimize then roll out

  • There’s only 3 ways to market in the post-panda world in my opinion:

    1) Work on your Author Rank or invite others with high author rank to blog on your site.

    2) Stop focusing on anchor text and start focusing on relevance.

    3) Create long-form content that is as ever-green as possible. Short form content for the sake of content won’t work anymore.

  • […] lo tanto, para sobrevivir en esta era post Panda-Penguin, es obligatorio atenerse a estas […]

  • Hiring an unknown seo agency is risky. I found many of them just put links in poor posts and low authority sites.