By choosing to use SEO as the main marketing technique, we give up a portion of our control to a third party. That third party is Google.
Cooperating with Google and adhering to their standards can bring high rewards, so the trade of control is usually worth it. Google receives a new website submission which will hopefully provide the answer to their user’s search queries and we internet marketers get targeted traffic from our submissions. Seems like a fair trade. However, it doesn’t always work out this well.
Within the past two years, Google has been releasing algorithm updates on a large scale. These updates specifically target different types of websites. The Mayday Update, for example, targeted “Google sniper” websites (sites with only a page or two of content built with the sole purpose of getting high rankings for as little effort as possible and selling products or collecting emails) which gamed Google's algorithm to fill up popular search results with spam websites. With the Mayday Update, many marketer’s full-time incomes were gone overnight.
Google followed this with the Panda Update earlier this year. Although this update was more subtle, the results were staggering. Massive sites that were previously viewed as authority websites lost huge portions of their traffic.
The story doesn’t end there. With each of these updates, Google has cleared the web of spam content and filler niche websites. These spam websites aren’t the only victims, though. Much like the food chain, when you disrupt one group of websites, you dramatically affect the entire internet. When Google updates their algorithm, it can drastically affect ALL websites on the internet – even white hat websites.
In today’s article, we’ll go over a few essential tips to help your website weather any future algorithm updates.
The first and most important factor to remember might seem quite obvious at first. Provide each visitor to your website with a great browsing experience.
Have you ever had this experience? You search Google looking for answers and the first site you visit is exactly what you’re looking for. This is the effect we need to duplicate with our own websites.
Although this factor is obvious, it’s too often neglected due to laziness or lack of time. It’s not easy to create a great user experience. You need to provide quality content and test it multiple times. Determine what the market wants out of your website and deliver that experience. If you can deliver the ideal experience to your visitors, your odds of avoiding damage in a future update is dramatically increased.
Content creation can be an extremely time-consuming process. Each new website created requires pages and pages of fresh content. If your goal is to run a large authority website, you’ll need hundreds of pages of content. For this reason, outsourcing content is extremely popular.
Outsourcing can be a double-edged sword. When you outsource content, you’re again putting control in the hands of someone else. If you have great writers working for you this isn’t a problem. If you have a lower budget, however, you may find that your written content suffers.
With the Panda Update, it has become clear that Google uses content as a massive factor when determining which websites are spam or fluff. It’s more important than ever to hire competent writers and create quality unique content.
The Mayday Update showed us exactly what Google thinks of “filler websites.” If your website is not an expert or authority in your niche, your chances of being affected in a future update might be high.
Expert and authority status is gained through content and consistency. If you can provide excellent content within one area of your niche, you will gain authority in that specific area. At this point, it’s time to expand into other parts of your niche. This process demands fresh content for each area you expand into. If all this content is spot on and well written, Google will begin viewing your website as an authority within your niche.
Although the Panda Update hit several known “authority websites,” these websites blatantly played against the unwritten law of quality content. As a result, they were penalized. It’s worth noting that even though these websites were obviously churning out subpar content, since they were authority websites, Google was extremely hesitant to pull the trigger (although they finally did).
If you run an authority website with quality content, you’re in an excellent spot for the longterm.
Last but not least, stick with white hat SEO. It can be tempting to spam links and manipulate Google’s algorithm, but this can be detrimental to your website’s success. SEO takes time, and the only way to speed up that process is to game the search engine.
As we’ve seen in the past, though, black and grey hat SEO can spell disaster to your website’s future. It’s always worth it to go 100% white hat. It might take more time, but you can be sure that your website’s future is much more stable than a website ranking due to shady and manipulative SEO techniques.
Although Google has the final word with your website, by creating excellent content and staying within white hat SEO, your website will have the best possible chance of succeeding regardless of Google updates.
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