That's why Moz encourages people to adopt Google+ in addition to other social networks, Shepard says: "If you haven't already done so, set up a Google Place page for your local business or a Google+ page for your company, and start building your Google+ community."
4. Speed Matters, So Make Sure Your Site Loads Quickly
Google wants to deliver quality results to users. One definition for quality, among many, is a website or page that loads quickly, Shepard notes. This means sluggish Web pages are likely to rank lower than faster ones.
Moz's 2013 search engine ranking survey found a correlation between response time and ranking. "It's not a huge correlation, but it's there," says Shepard, who defines "response time" as the time it takes your website to deliver the first bit of information to the browser-not the time it takes for the entire Web page to load.
Faster website response time can lead to a better user experience, which can lead to increased social sharing and lower bounce rates, Shepard says. Bottom line: It pays to make sure your entire site loads efficiently.
5. Fixing Technical Issues Is Even More Important
Jill Whalen, SEO consultant at High Rankings, says technical issues affecting a website's SEO have always existed-and smart SEO consultants have always made fixing them a high priority. However, after Google's Panda and Penguin updates in the last year and a half, Whalen says fixing technical issues has become "more important than ever."
These issues, she says, run the gamut from bad content management system setups that create duplicate content to a site-wide navigation that's basically invisible to search engines. "Whatever your specific technical issues, now's the time to fix them. If they're not already hurting your site's SEO performance, they likely will be after a new Panda or Penguin update."
6. Focus Less on Keyword Optimization
While this may run counter to traditional SEO practice, Whalen says there are dangers to relying on keyword optimization today.
When you optimize a site or content for specific keywords you want to rank for, she cautions, it's easy to focus "too much on those specific words and end up putting them in too many places on your pages and within the website as a whole." But this isn't as helpful to search engines as it used to be. "In most cases, this will actually lower your rankings and traffic for those specific keyword phrases," Whalen says.
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