There has been much talk about Google’s recent penguin and panda updates but how quickly do we forget that there is also another search engine right around the corner, Bing. Bing recently wrote about how it is important to really diversify your search engine marketing approach in order to stay ahead of the algorithm curve. Search technology is a fast paced evolving monster and if you are not capable of evolving with it you could get left behind.
The Bing webmaster blog had this to say:
You cannot control when a search engine makes an update, or what that update will impact. That much is obvious. But what many websites fail to take action on is forecasting change, preventative work and exercises in the obvious.
This is an extremely important sentence to understand because nobody has control over algorithm updates. The best defense for this situation is a solid offense. That solid offense comes from being diverse in your web marketing approach. It doesn’t happen by pouncing on loopholes are gaming the system, it happens by proactively marketing and branding your website online using proper channels that give your brand a solid voice and personality.
Algorithms change. Rankings change. Competition happens. The fact is, you need to be prepared. So, when your single biggest source of traffic sudden loses steam, what do you do? If your plan was to make sure your content ranked well across all the major engines, then your plan of action would already be in effect, protecting you from the loss in one area.
Being prepared means being diverse. If one water faucet turns off make sure you have 7 other running so your flow doesn’t cease to exist.
The Google algorithm tends to be this enigma or mystery to many people trying to market their businesses online. For the most part most of the algorithm runs by itself but that does not mean some humans don’t stick their hands into the pot here and there to tighten the bolts.
We all knew this one was coming sooner or later, we have been talking about it for a while and the chatter has been increasing quite a bit. If you focus your SEO efforts around gaming the system your website could sink like the titanic (no offense to anyone on the titanic). Search engine optimization is an effort that works very well when done tastefully and by following Google SEO guidelines.
The problem is that many website owners and “marketers” over the years have really beaten certain techniques into the ground only creating more of a mess really. Google is aiming to fix that mess by adjusting their algorithm to reward those which decide to market their business the right way. On Tuesday Google announced that the quality algorithm change would be taking effect very soon. Some websites will be sinking.
“Google has said before that search engine optimization, or SEO, can be positive and constructive—and we’re not the only ones. Effective search engine optimization can make a site more crawlable and make individual pages more accessible and easier to find.”
Folks, it is important to realize that Google does like SEO activities when they are done correctly. When you proceed with clean smart SEO efforts you help Google catalog their information that much better. It is when you attempt to pursue shoddy practices that Google beams their red tractor beam at you. There is a difference between good SEO and bad SEO.
“White hat” search engine optimizers often improve the usability of a site, help create great content, or make sites faster, which is good for both users and search engines. Good search engine optimization can also mean good marketing: thinking about creative ways to make a site more compelling, which can help with search engines as well as social media. The net result of making a great site is often greater awareness of that site on the web, which can translate into more people linking to or visiting a site.
If you employ white hat SEO techniques Google will smile. Don’t mess with the technology they have spent an exuberant amount of resource trying to perfect and you will eventually be rewarded. Google likes it when you put on your marketing & branding hat and simply play by the rules. That doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your digital voice just don’t splash the pot.
“In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.”
What this means is that if you have been gaming the system for most of your websites life cycle or even your clients things are about to come to an end. Those who have spent time doing good hard marketing and branding and always putting the focus on the user experience will soon be rewarded. Does this mean that every nicely designed website is going to shoot to the top of the search engines? Most likely not but it will be the starting point and foundation to future success online. Abide by the rules, put the user first and think about what you are doing on your website and everything should be just dandy.
This is a prime example of why you should never sit around and rely solely on website rankings to grow your business, recently posted on the Google blog a story about a “bad” website online that was growing in power and rankings as each negative piece of editorial about the business found its way into the search results from angry customers.
The story first made waves on the The New York Times website about an online business which sold high end bifocals and glasses. The owner of the business had an online strategy that actually stemmed around being extremely rude to customers in the hopes of pulling in new links and blog posts sending even more traffic to the website. It actually worked quite well (short term) because the website was ranking very well due to all the negative exposure and links being generated naturally, Google wasn’t going to stand by this for very long.
“We were horrified to read about Ms. Rodriguez’s dreadful experience. Even though our initial analysis pointed to this being an edge case and not a widespread problem in our search results, we immediately convened a team that looked carefully at the issue. That team developed an initial algorithmic solution, implemented it, and the solution is already live. I am here to tell you that being bad is, and hopefully will always be, bad for business in Google’s search results.”
This is a great example of looking for a loop hole with SEO, finding it and having short winded results ultimately leading to complete and utter failure from a search engine ranking standpoint. Online businesses should be taking a marketing approach that allows their website and brand to build well into the future and not just for a short period of time. Google is really all about having the most positive and impactful user experience and their actions are justified. This means finding businesses that should be found in order to help the community better achieve their shopping or research goals.
“We can’t say for sure that no one will ever find a loophole in our ranking algorithms in the future. We know that people will keep trying: attempts to game Google’s ranking, like the ones mentioned in the article, go on 24 hours a day, every single day. That’s why we cannot reveal the details of our solution—the underlying signals, data sources, and how we combined them to improve our rankings—beyond what we’ve already said. We can say with reasonable confidence that being bad to customers is bad for business on Google. And we will continue to work hard towards a better search.”
Very rarely does Google make an algorithm tweak from an isolated incident but it is nice to see Google take action against this website. This type of behavior from an online business can really hurt Google’s reputation online from a usability standpoint.