Penguin… Panda… Peregrine… Pekingese…
Okay, I made up the last two, but who can keep up these days, anyway? If you can count on Google for one thing, it’s keeping SEO specialists busy by constantly changing their ranking algorithm. For those providing SEO services, Google’s capriciousness can cause headaches and sleepless nights.
“In the SEO arms race, shortcuts have a shorter shelf-life than ever before.”
~Seth Godin ~2007
Google has gone out of their way to make SEO less effective.
Panda focused on “optimization” that was in fact mostly keyword stuffing that resulted in poor content. Penguin made incoming links from poor quality websites useless, which made SEO “ninja” tactics using this method obsolete.
This is a trend for Google, not a passing fad, and that’s actually a good thing.
You can expect this trend to continue. If you’ve been paying for clever SEO shortcuts, their effectiveness is going to be severely limited. In my opinion, that’s how it should be. As a natural (if indirect) consequence of Google’s recent changes, basic marketing principles, like earning trust and organically accumulating authority, more important. This is great news for those of you who have been focusing on solid, time-tested services because you won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time Google changes the rules (and it will).
Businesses (and marketers) may now get back to basics.
So, how do you Google proof your SEO and avoid update hassles?
- Provide well-crafted content that is valuable to your audience.
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate and user-friendly.
- Concentrate on building your brand long term; it won’t happen overnight.
- Monitor. Manage. Be proactive. Don’t leave your reputation to chance.
- Create a culture of service that focuses on developing solid relationships with your clients and colleagues.
- Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t expect overnight miracles.
- Don’t forget to regularly analyze your results and adjust your campaigns accordingly.
- Don’t try to “game the system.” You may win in the short term, but lose in the long run.
Initially, SEO as an industry was about sneaky gamesmanship that involved finding and exploiting loopholes in Google’s algorithms. Tactics that worked one day didn’t work the next; it was like trying to hit a moving target. This created a market for “black hat” SEO companies and made it easier for them to take advantage of desperate business owners. The practice of improving a website’s visibility has changed over time. Now it’s less and less about employing furtive shortcuts and more and more about engaging in old fashioned, quality marketing. It’s about time.