Search engine optimization has evolved over the years and as a result marketers spend an extensive amount of time watching Google closely, just waiting for its next move. Google constantly shifts its algorithms in an attempt to reward its searchers with the best user experience. Businesses, however, are dancing around trying to give Google what it wants hoping their website won’t be a casualty of the next update.
How do you beat Google at its own game?
You don’t. You can never beat Google, but you can figure out how to work within it. No one can give you a secret formula on what to do to beat the rankings game. Beyond the linking, forum posting and directory submission attempts, every webmaster would love to know Google’s every move before it happens.
We may just get our wish. Google is starting to hear webmasters’ complaints and becoming more transparent. Matt Cutts, Google software engineer on the Search Quality team, during the latest Pubcon conference, discussed some of Google’s future endeavors. He mentioned that Google’s future intent is to be more transparent with people, such as publishing algorithm updates and the changes on which it is working even before they transpire.
In a recent blog post, Google listed several recent updates: Ten Recent Algorithm Changes
Matt Cutts also discussed how SEO has changed from more mechanical in times past to now “appealing to human nature”.
SEO is more about providing users with the best search experience rather than simply inputting metadata and keywords.
Regardless of what Cutts says, I believe Google is attempting to remove the bias from SEO. Google cares more about what others think of your website more than your own “biased” personal opinion. Its algorithm ranks heavily on quality links and how users rate your content. Social media has also entered the space as well. Cutts said last year that social network signals from Facebook and Twitter would become a factor in its algorithms.
How do you ensure your website will last the test of time?
There really isn’t any way to ensure lasting success, but there are some things you can do to “up” your chances:
1. All of your eggs in one basket – Consider other strategies beyond just SEO. Banner advertising, social media, email lists—spread your marketing out to many different income streams so if one of those streams dries up (you lose your rankings), it won’t take your business down for the long haul.
2. “User” centered marketing – If you look closely at the trends, you will notice that Google’s main concern is the user. Each algorithm update is designed to enhance the internet searcher’s experience. Ten years ago, webmasters were stuffing their pages with keywords and adding excessive links. It didn’t take too long for Google to catch on and penalize these sites. These websites were not “user” centered and Google found a way to take them down.
Stay focused on what your web visitors desire and what they want to experience on your website. Create valuable content that begs to be shared. Incorporate videos that offer helpful information and solve a problem for your target audience. These strategies are right in line with the landscape Google is trying to create.
If you really want to win the SEO game, get on Google’s side and follow its lead. Like the old adage says, “If you can’t beat em’, join em’.”