As a search engine, Google has become increasingly sophisticated over the years. Back in the day, it was pretty easy to fool Google into thinking your site deserved to have a high ranking, and SEO developed as a technique for marketers to make sure that their sites came up as high as possible. Of course, not all sites that achieved high rankings deserved it – often the quality of a site had little to do with whether or not it ranked highly in search results.
These days, that’s all changing. With each consecutive Google algorithm update, SEO experts sigh in frustration as their previously tested techniques become outdated and old tricks no longer work. Although this can mean a more labor-intensive job for SEO specialists, the changes are actually good for everyone. Better search means that more people are finding what they’re looking for, and higher quality sites are ranking better based on legitimate criteria.
One of the biggest changes in SEO strategy is now it actually pays to think from the perspective of your audience, rather than the perspective of search engines. In order to avoid Google penalties, the best thing you can do is make sure that your content is strong and relevant, and that you’re building links organically. Social media can help a lot with this – creating strong social pages where people can share your content with their own networks is paramount when it comes to building ranking.
There are some tried-and-tested SEO ranking techniques that still hold true, of course, but they have little to do with “tricking” Google and more to do with providing useful information. Image tags, for example, should have relevant alt text – not just for accessibility, but to tell search engines what kind of images you have. Anchor text for links should, likewise, be informational.
Keywords are still important to ranking, but you now have to be extremely careful about overusing them. In other words, write naturally and in a way that is helpful for your audience – don’t write with the chief goal of fooling Google. Likewise, be careful about duplicate content throughout your site. Don’t reuse content; create fresh content instead if necessary.
Although Google does change its algorithms from time to time, these are positive changes that lead to a better experience for users. In other words, if you focus your own efforts on the goal of giving the best content possible, you’ll be rewarded accordingly with high rankings, and that’s good news for everyone.
How has your SEO strategy changed since the recent Google updates?