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Before I start this blog I am well aware that I am not concentrating on specific SEO tactics in this entry. The purpose is not to teach you how to do SEO or convince you of my ability. It is simply my take on all the SEO talk I have been reading lately.
I have been in the SEO industry for nearly six years and am getting tired of all the white noise associated with Google’s algorithmic changes. The reason I say that is because Google’s ideals have not really changed much over the past decade. After reading that last sentence you might think I’m crazy or might stop reading but bear with me. Although Penguin and Panda updates have been plentiful over the past few years, I argue that Google’s truth is identical to what it has always been, “Tell me what you are and prove it to me”. I use that last quote on nearly every sales call I go on regarding SEO. What it means is that essentially Google cares only about two things when determining organic rank. What has changed is the criteria Google uses to determine those two things.
It used to be that your site could tell Google what you are simply by stuffing keywords into your site’s meta data and content or you might have simply owned a URL that matched a search phrase. Yes, this does not work anymore but at the time it was Google’s limitation when looking for proof of what your site was all about. If you had the right URL or the right amount of keywords you essentially had more proof and more facts to state. I like to think of it as Google’s infancy stage. In infancy we take things for face value and blindly trust what we are told. So did Google.
With the introduction of social media, video, blogs, mobile search and all that comes with those things Google still only cares about the same things when it comes to organic dominance. It wants you to tell what you are all about and to prove that you are more relevant than the next guy. Think of Google as growing up. Early on, it was presented with information and didn’t question it. It read your site, saw some links and gave you a thumbs up. As time went on and Google grew up it became more and more interested in the proof of your facts. No longer did Google simply read your page, find some backlinks and think “hey, this must deserve our best organic ranking” but instead was interested in the quality of your sources, the engagement of your visitors and the overall experience people have when they come to your site. Google’s truth however didn’t change and hasn’t changed.
This is what frustrates me when people spend so much energy on Google’s last update. The updates are just like graduating that next grade and changing the way a person thinks and evolves. Sites that truly explain what they do and have proof of that fact have nothing to worry about. It’s only those sites that have cheated their way through the years or that have been stagnant while the rest of the world has been Tweeting, Yelping and interacting online that lose out. Those facts that were once blindly accepted simply aren’t anymore. You need to convince Google of your sources, site your references and write a good site that people like engaging with.
Trust me, I wish I could make a nice looking site, buy some links and watch the money roll in but that’s not the way it is. Google is growing up but its ideals have been the same all along.