You’d be forgiven for thinking that the SEO landscape has gone crazy.
What with names flying around such as penguin, panda, hummingbird and payday loan, one may think that Google has had a bit too much to drink.
Well at least someone that works for Google may have been slightly intoxicated because these are the names given to various Google algorithm updates over the past few years.
No. I can assure you alcohol was not involved (at least I don’t think so).
Google is constantly updating its algorithm to improve the quality of its search results. This means if you or I are searching for something using Google, Google wants to ensure that only the best quality answers and content is provided to us in the search results.
Think about it from Google’s perspective for a moment. If people stop using Google as their search engine of choice, Google doesn’t make any money. Pure and simple.
Google has a vested interest to ensure that only the best content exists on the Internet and that they’re the search engine dishing it up.
Many people get frustrated when they learn that Google has, yet again, come out with another update. Or they’re scared they will lose their rankings and all the beautiful link juice they’ve earned and that their sites will be affected.
Here’s the thing. As long as you do right by Google, Google will do right with you. If you comply with Google’s SEO guidelines, then you have nothing to worry about.
So what exactly is Google looking for? A better question to ask is what is Google NOT looking for?
Google will penalise websites that indulge in:
- Excessive link building with no regard for quality
- Deceptive doorway pages
- Lots of keyword stuffing
- Publishing lots of meaningless content just to get traffic from search engines
(source: Content Marketing Institute.)
If that’s all double-dutch to you, basically any website that produces really crappy content.
Google updates are good. It’s good for legitimate entrepreneurs and business owners that try to get good rankings without competing against those websites deliberately gaming the system. Think of all the updates as a detox – it cleans out the crap and toxins that exist on the interwebs.
The good news is as long as you produce fantastic quality content, you can survive any Google SEO update. In fact, I don’t even keep up to date with all the latest updates and changes because the fundamentals, which I teach in my SEO coaching program, will always remain. They have and will continue to stand the test of time.
Let’s look at three ways how you can survive any Google update and not be scared of them in future.
SEO Survival Tip #1: Your content has to serve a purpose
In fact, go and tweet that right now:
Your content has to serve a purpose.
….In other words, why should people listen to you?
It’s not enough to create content just to try and get a ranking. There’s nothing wrong with trying to improve your rankings, but creating content for rankings alone will not cut it.
Effective content provides true value. Every time you write a blog post, record a video or create a new web page, ask yourself what purpose is it serving? Who is this for? What value am I providing to my reader? Is it me-too focussed? Am I writing something that has already been written about 50,000 times before?
This is a key point. The other day I was reading an article in Search Engine Journal about some permanent SEO strategies that can be used from some of the top SEO experts from around the world.
Eric Enge from Stone Temple Consulting says it’s important to create a unique site experience that is focussed on providing a high quality user experience.
What does that mean exactly?
There’s so much content online that’s been written about on almost every topic. As Eric says, “..there is SO much competition for each search term, and so much competition for links and content marketing ideas and placements that the awesome site experience is now a critical differentiator.”
I see this time and time again in my one-to-one SEO clients and keyword reports. A lot of them are coaches that blog about the same thing as everyone else. How are you going to stand out and be different if you continue to write about the same stuff as everyone else in your niche?
Eric demonstrated this point with an excellent analogy about french toast.
After performing a search for “how to make french toast,” there are over 33,000 results. There’s no need for more than 5 articles on how to make French toast because it’s so easy.
As Eric says, “you can’t win by writing a new article on something that has already been covered many times before. So, the question you have to ask yourself today is – what are you going to do that stands out? What are you going to do that’s exceptional? Learning how to answer this question well may take practice.”
Excellent food for thought (excuse the pun).
SEO Survival Tip #2: Don’t have THIN content
Ok so ecommerce websites are usually guilty of this more than anyone else but anyone with a blog or website should also take notice.
If I had a blog about organic food then I could write a post about why people should eat organic food or the 10 different health benefits of eating organic food. This research tells me that people want to know about these topics. Not only that, the keyword planner tool is telling me what permutation people are searching for this information online. GOLD!
Give people (and Google) what they want. You can’t get anymore proof than that.
To find out if you have received a warning from Google….
The best way to see if you’ve received a warning or penalty from Google is to sign up to Google Webmaster Tools. Go into your site messages to see if you have received any warnings about the performance of your website.
The message is clear. Take a good hard look at the type of content you plan to publish online. Is it unique? Is it better? Has it already been said a thousand times before?
In the end, surviving any Google update comes down to this (courtesy of Bruce Clay):
“If you can’t do better than the results that are already there, why bother?” – Ammon Johns
Do you think your website can survive any Google update?
Let me know in the comments below.