Does Each Google Update Mean You Have to Change Your SEO Strategy

When I was speaking as the after dinner speaker at the Dudley and District Business Club one of the questions at the end was about SEO and I thought I’d take a few minutes to add some more depth to that discussion.

Penguin Update

Isn’t SEO a waste of time because you put all that work in, only to have to start again every time Google makes a change to their algorithm?
Panel Question DDBC – If it was yours let me know and I’ll update the post.

To really understand why most businesses shouldn’t concern themselves with this question we have to consider two types of update Google undertakes and tackle the answer as it relates to those specifically.

Updates Designed to Catch SPAM and ‘Black Hat’ SEO

Google’s objective is usually stated by their PR machine as organising the world’s information, and returning the best page to their users, preferably a brand. Safe, corporate, SEO should always have consisted of the following:

  • Writing content about your services that fully explains them to your users and search engines.
  • Producing authority content that builds trust and a larger audience for your business.
  • Ensuring your site is technically solid and easy for search engines to index and for your users to navigate.
  • Not trying to trick your users or Google with hidden content, excessive advertising making your real content hard to find, or misleading page titles and content.
  • Building a real brand that enables news sites, authority blogs and other local businesses to link to and refer to your site demonstrating that it’s a true authority in your niche.

Google’s most well known updates are Panda and Penguin. Panda targeted sites with mass produced, low quality, generic content. Penguin targeted sites with excessively artificial backlink profiles – meaning they had ‘placed’ large numbers of their own links in things such as fake directories.

If you think about what your strategy would have been if you were following the safe, corporate style, bullet list above, you wouldn’t have to make any changes at all to your SEO strategy to accommodate these Google updates. Perhaps Panda might lead to some of your competitors improving their site content in the long run so you have to keep raising your game slightly – but that’s just part of competing with your competitors and striving to give your audience the best possible content.

Updates To Encourage Better Experiences For Users

Google has taken more of a forceful stance on things that they believe are important to users. Some examples of these changes to their guidelines include (but are not limited to):

  • Encouraging fast loading sites.
  • Mobilegeddon update that pushes businesses to have mobile friendly sites.
  • Changes to how Google understands web copy to return more relevant results.
  • Discouraging sites from having heavy above the fold advertising.
  • Encouraging businesses to switch to HTTPS (secure) sites.

These updates have caught some businesses by surprise. Some switched to HTTPS, but did so without taking proper advice, and actually lost traffic, for example. The mobile update imposed a deadline on businesses who had previously been enjoying mobile traffic, despite having outdated sites, and those who didn’t respond would have lost traffic in almost all cases. Lost traffic usually translates into lost sales – particularly in the mobile segment where customers are often looking to call or visit your business right away.

Overall though, you can see that the motivation of these updates is to deliver a better experience to users. Having a fast, secure site, that loads well on all different types of device and gives your visitors the information about your business without overwhelming them with advertising should be your objective regardless of Google, and whether you’ve invested much thought into a broader SEO strategy.

Think Brand and Users if You Don’t Want to Worry

If you want to adopt a ‘safer in the long run’ SEO strategy to maximise your business traffic and sales from your online channels in the long run, all you need to think about is aligning your strategy with building a strong brand and making a good experience for your users. Run an event locally and get news coverage instead of adding your site to low quality blogs and directories. Write great content, and connect with your audience instead of worrying about keyword stuffing.

Don’t let fear of change put you off SEO and giving your site visitors the best possible experience – it’s safer than you think and Google is still one of the most powerful business discovery engines for users that has ever existed.

Image source:
{{Information |Description={{en|1=Emperor Penguin in Adelie Land, Antarctica}} {{fr|1=Manchot empereur en Antarctique}} |Source=travail personnel (own work) |Author=[ Samuel Blanc] |Date=24/11/2005 |Permission= |other_versions= }} {
via Wikimedia Commons

Spread The Word:

Author: Steve Brownlie

Steve loves helping businesses grow and receive the press exposure they deserve. He does that every day as the lead consultant at palladous. He can be reached on Twitter.

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *