Wow. Time flies, doesn’t it? Seems like just last week I was setting my 2012 resolutions (completed, btw!).

And it seems like just last month that Penguin came through and devastated websites everywhere.

That brings us to the topic of this great article, written on the iconic date of 12/12/12. It’s that time again, folks. What happened in 2012, why did it happen, and what can we learn from everything… three questions we’ll be aiming to answer today!

What Happened

Well, this is a no-brainer: penguin happened.

In March, Google released the Penguin Update – by far their biggest update since the infamous Panda update of 2011. And funnily enough, Penguin was released at just about the same time Panda was in 2011.

I think Google just wants to make sure my birthday month is always remembered as the day SEO died. Again.

Thanks, G!

At first, we were curious as to what penguin actually was. Was it some version of Panda? Was it a completely separate update? Why were specific sites targeted? What was the purpose?! Oh the humanity!

As time went on, answers became clearer. Penguin was about links. Specifically, low-quality links designed to game Google’s algorithm. In other words, the entire foundation of SEO!

This was a rough update for many. Because where Panda was more of a directional change, Penguin was a punishing update. Panda changed the way Google was ranking sites. As a result, a lot of sites were negatively effected.

But Penguin was specifically released to punish people building tons of links to their websites, and using those links to inflate their rankings.

Penguin wasn’t the only substantial update in 2012. No, Panda has continually been refreshed along the way, leading to some sites dropping off of Google and other sites rising in the rankings.

And we also had the exact-match domain update. An update that went under the radar slightly, but is a big deal when we look at the big picture of SEO.

Why these updates happened

It’s been clear for a while now that Google has a relatively negative view on SEO in general. Some argue that SEO is necessary for Google’s business, which may be true. For a few reasons, it’s unlikely that SEO will ever completely die.

However, these recent updates made Google’s position clear: if you’re trying to game the algorithm, good luck! 

The world of SEO is in turmoil right now. I know of an SEO company that recently shifted its services from SEO to guest posting only. Why? Because guest posting is one of the last remaining reliable SEO strategies. And that’s because guest posting isn’t only about the link.

NOTE: if you’re guest posting just for links, this could have just as negative an effect as building links.

Suffice to say, NO ONE truly knows what works and what doesn’t work right now. Sure, there are some sites that are doing basic SEO and ranking well because of it. But there are also sites that are doing basic SEO and getting penalized like crazy. 

So what do we do, panic?

No, we take at Google’s Golden Rule: Google is a business.

They make money off of advertisements. Now, what do advertisements require to work effectively? Eyeballs! And where does Google get those eyeballs? Through the services, it offers, mainly searches!

Why do people use Google over other search engines? Because they get better results with Google!

Therefore, the key to Google’s business is quality on their search platform. If they slip up in this area, Bing and Yahoo will immediately jump at the opportunity. No mercy!

So we can confidently propose that Google’s updates are designed to increase the quality of the search results. 

And this brings us back full circle. That is, Good SEO = Not Needing to do SEO.

The best way to get your site ranking well is to make an unbelievably amazing website. Why? Because that’s the type of site people want to see. And if they see it on Google, then they like using Google, because it gets them the sites they want to see! Therefore, Google will directly benefit from ranking your site on page #1!

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