5 Hacks That Will Improve Your Site’s Quality Score

how to recover from panda

* This is Part #2 in the series on boosting Quality Score. If you haven’t yet read Part #1, you can do so by clicking here.

I’m going to show you 5 easy-to-implement techniques you can use to avoid a Google Panda beatdown.

Before that happens though I need you to first setup Google Analytics if you haven’t already done so. Don’t worry, it is free to install. That link will take you to the signup page, then just follow the steps and get it up and running before moving on.

You will also need a Google Webmasters account. Again this is free to setup and easy to install. To really be able to make a change on your site, you’re going to need at least one month worth of information in both Webmasters and Analytics.

That’s okay, just bookmark this page and come back to it once you’re ready.

Once you’re good to go, it’s time Kung Fu the shit out of this Panda with these 5 hacks on improving the quality score of your site.

1. Find Underperforming Content & Make It Better

This isn’t rocket science. There’s a specific process you can use to see what pages are underperforming in Google Analytics:

  1. Login to your Analytics account.
  2. Open up your site’s data.
  3. In the left hand sidebar, click on Content >> Site Content >> Landing Pages
  4. By default the table that appears next will sort information by Visits. If it has not done so, click on the column title and sort the information from the highest number of visits to the lowest.
  5. Make sure the data you see are seeing is from the last 30 days.
  6. Notice the Avg. Visit Duration column. This is the average time a visitor spends on your site after initially entering through the matching landing page.

In my opinion it’s one of the best ways of determining the quality of your content. If people like it they will stay for a while, period.

That also means an improvement in your site’s overall quality score.

Take a close look at your top content (pages that receive the most number of visits) and see if you can improve on them in any way.

Below is an example of a page that is receiving a lot of traffic, but was under-performing as far as average time on site. Last week I decided to add in relevant YouTube video. As a result so far the average time on site has more than doubled from the previous month.

Check it out.

Before

Page visits before adding in a video

After

Page visits after adding in a video

Other tweaks you can add to your content other than videos are:

  1. Add more oomph to the title of the post.
  2. Try lengthening the article.
  3. Insert more images.
  4. Add some personality to your content, dammit!

2. Restore or Redirect Broken Pages

In other words, find any links on your site (or others) that go to broken pages, then either:

  1. Restore those pages.
  2. Remove the links.
  3. Create a redirect to the most relevant page on your site.

I use this free plugin to redirect to the most relevant page when I’m unable to restore or remove the links.

To find out if there are any broken pages on your site, you can either use Google Webmasters (under Health >> Crawl Errors) or a broken link checker, like http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com

This also might be something you should think about checking once a month.

After all, if visitors are clicking links that go to broken pages on your site, they’re likely to leave immediately. This is something that can lead to higher bounce rates and lower time on site, and that’s just not good for business.

3. Related Posts Plugin

If you aren’t offering at least one related link at the end of each post, it’s likely your quality score is suffering as a result.

There are two types of plugins we use to get people to click links to related pages on our site:

  1. NRelate Flyout (scroll to the bottom of any page on this site to see how this plugin works)
  2. SEO Auto Links & Related Posts (shows a list of relevant pages directly below the post)

By installing one of the above plugins, you should see an immediate impact on your quality score. I recommend tracking this change in Analytics so you can compare the difference it makes in a month’s time, as far as bounce rates and time on site goes.

4. Automating Highly Targeted Internal Links

By including internal links to other relevant pages on your site, you can dramatically improve quality score. The idea is that your visitors will click them and stay on your site for longer. However, this will only work if the anchor text matches the page that it’s being linked to.

To do this try using the same plugin mentioned above, SEO Auto Links & Related Posts. Use the Auto Links option from within your WordPress Dashboard. Then look for the option “Auto links base” and select “Tags”.

Now whenever you assign a tag to a post (the option is available when adding or editing posts), when that tag appears in a future or existing piece of content, it will automatically show up as a link.

Make sure you get as specific as possible when assigning tags to posts. For example, Jill wrote an article on how to guest post. The tag used for that post was “how to guest post” which is, as you can see, why that keyword anchor is currently linking to that post.

5. Improving Load Time

If your site takes a long time to load, it’s more likely visitors will bounce before reading your content.

Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your site’s overall load time but these 4 tweaks should be enough to make a major difference:

1. Use the plugin W3 Total Cache as mentioned in the Art Of Authority to optimize your WordPress site’s performance.

2. Install a plugin called WP Database Optimizer. No configuration required, just set it and forget it. This plugin clears out any unnecessary data from your database, preventing it from loading on your site and slowing it down.

3. Use .png images instead of .jpegs. PNG’s are smaller image files and therefore require less time to load than JPEG’s. I also recommend using a plugin called WP Smush.it which can further reduce the size of your image files.

4. Apply the use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Let me explain how these work: If you’re like us and your site is hosted on Bluehost, then the files that make up your site exist somewhere in the US.

Now let’s say someone from the UK comes to your site. They literally have to connect to your host’s server all the way over in the US which takes time.

A CDN is a network of servers that exist all around the world. So when someone comes to your site, they automatically connect to the closest server on the network – decreasing load time in the process.

To make this happen, we use a service called MaxCDN and they cost around $40/year.

My final suggestion is to check your site’s load time prior to implementing any of the techniques mentioned above. That way you can see just how effective each one is on decreasing load time. To check the speed of your site, visit http://tools.pingdom.com

Start Now!

That’s right! Get yo’ ass into gear and start working on improving your site’s quality score.

Or if you’re yet to build a site, when you do, be sure to start your online career the right way by using the techniques I mentioned.

Nothing, I repeat NOTHING of what I have showed you here is rocket science. It’s all easy to implement and most of the time is set-and-forget.

I’ll leave you with this: The most important part of this process is tracking every change you make by placing notes in Google Analytics.

Panda refreshes normally occur around once a month. If a spike in search traffic appears, take a look at your notes from 30 days prior and see if you made any changes in and around that period.

That way you know if you should continue to make that specific tweak or maybe test out something new.

Remember, SEO is all about testing and measuring, and you can’t measure unless you track what you test.

Looking For Even More Hacks? Sign Up For Your 7 Day Escape Plan And Learn A Few More!

  • http://Www.pub.me James bluemink

    One word for this

    Awesome!

    • http://screwtheninetofive.com Josh

      Thanks man :-)

  • http://www.mintsprinkles.com Ali

    Omg, Josh + Panda = hilariousness

  • http://screwtheninetofive.com Josh

    Yeah it was hard getting him to agree to do the shoot, but in the end I managed to bribe him with 20kgs of bamboo ;-)

  • http://tielandtothailand.com/ Chris & Angela

    Great post. You definitely helped us out a lot with this one. Caught a couple of broken links, but we are all set now. Thanks!

    • Jill

      Nice! We’re happy to hear it was of good use to you guys :)

      And by the way, that url you have is GOLD! Love it! I see you guys are in CM…we should meet up!!

      • http://tielandtothailand.com/ Chris & Angela

        Thanks! Only hangup is trying to verbally communicate the url to people. We sometimes find ourselves mimicking the act of adjusting an imaginary tie when trying to get it across to people haha

        We would love to meet up sometime! Seems as though you guys made it to Thailand right around the same time we did.

        • Jill

          hahaha yeah I can imagine that would be a little difficult.

          Let’s do it! We have a visa run this weekend and then off to the islands next week but back the week of the 8th. Maybe a drink at the Cocktail Van? Know where that is?

          Shoot us a message at screwtheninetofive(at)gmail.com and we’ll hook it up!

  • http://www.themillionairessproject.com Play Buffett

    Hey, Josh, many thanks for the helpful tips! Question for you somewhat related to #2–but first … The “Background”: I started my first website in Jan not having a clue about SEO, permalink structure, etc. Over the next 6 months, I posted maybe 10 times. But along the way, as I started to notice stuff like some bloggers showing month & day, some only showing post title, etc., I would occasionally dig into the dashboard and change the permalink structure to test out “new looks.” I would also change post titles and related post title URLs a few times, “republishing” the post each time. (… Hello, can anyone say DUMB?!)

    Then, about a month ago, I finally got serious about the site and started reading stuff on SEO, including your Art of Authority. I also signed up for Webmaster Tools.

    Surprise! I soon discovered–much to my horror–that GWT was throwing up 404 Crawl Errors on 100+ URLs. After looking round for solutions, I finally opted to try submitting “Remove URL” requests for each freaking one. Google claims they’ll take them down for at least 90 days. But just a couple of weeks later GWT tells me many of them are now expired, and are again showing in search.

    So now, of course, I am officially completely flummoxed about what to do to fix this little SEO disaster I unwittingly created for myself. Any advice you might be able to provide would be Tremendously Appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Play

    • http://screwtheninetofive.com Josh

      Hey Play,

      For starters, if that is your real first name I am sincerely jealous of you and it’s now been added to our list of potential names to call our future daughter. That is, if things work out that way ;-)

      Alright I have a plan for you.

      1) List out all the 404 URL’s and assign them to related pages on your own site. So let’s say one 404ed URL was http://www.themillionairessproject.com/improving-quality-score and you had a page on your site that appeared at the following URL – http://www.themillionairessproject.com/how-to-improve-quality-score, you would obviously assign it to that one.

      Just use an excel spreadsheet to track everything.

      2. Install a plugin called “redirection”. You can find it by running a search in the plugins directory inside your WordPress Dashboard.

      3. Go to Tools >> Redirection

      4. Now it’s just a simple process of redirecting all the broken links to the pages you assigned them to. It might take a while, but once it’s done, it’s done. Leave the settings for “Match” and “Action” as the default options.

      Google recognizes that sites do change their URL structure around from time to time. Therefore, assigning 301 redirects is apart of their policy and they allow it.

      Hope that helped!

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