Now is a confusing time for anyone who does business online. It seems that Google is always changing the way things are done, and we are constantly reading about how updates to the way it defines great search results mean there will be winners and losers all the time. In this post I'm going to tell you how you can be a winner no matter how or when Google decides to move the goal posts. Unfortunately there will always be winners and losers, but by following the basics you can minimise your chances of being one of those who loses out.
It's time to stop fixating about Google updates
The truth is that Google Panda and Penguin updates are now probably in real time (if they aren’t, they soon will be), rather than sporadic. Added to this is the fact that out here in the real world many of us are unaware what updates Google is doing at all, and many of the changes are done without us ever knowing.
Search online and you will see millions of results about how to protect your website from Panda and Penguin updates, with many companies selling Panda and Penguin safe SEO and Linkbuilding packages. The truth is you can't be safe unless you stick to a strategy that will always work.
And that's why there's no point in fixating about Google updates any more. They are probably happening all the time and even the biggest and best SEO companies out there are not detecting all the changes or working out why they are happening.
So it's time to chill out.
What many people miss is that the underlying messages from Google on what they are looking for in terms of a quality search result have been the same for years and will continue to be exactly the same, regardless of changes they make to weed out more and more of the rubbish.
Regardless of how Google changes its algorithm, you can maximise the longevity of your online business by focusing on these core things:
· Define your brand and build it
· Focus on quality
· Build trust constantly
· be highly relevant and original
Those are the four cornerstones that you should be building your brand upon, constantly.
You should also be thinking for the long term. There is no point in adopting shady link building practices for example, to try and push your website up the search engine results in the short term.
Now I don't care what anyone says, I'm pretty sure every business and every SEO company has built a less than perfect link at some stage. But the key point is to remember that Google is getting better at spotting unnatural link patterns, so anything you undertake in terms of building links should be focused on value and relevance if you simply don't want to take risks.
Build strong relationships for the long term
Conducting proper outreach campaigns to build relationships and links with relevant websites can do wonders in the long term. It's better to spend time and effort doing that than just throw money at general link building packages.
As well as linkbuilding outreach, you should be looking at social media presence as well. Although this may not directly affect the SERP's it will show that you are building a quality brand. On top of that, it will encourage people to link naturally to you, and will help to build citations, mentions of your business that Google can recognise.
Avoid at all costs the shady stuff and the shady people. It may seem like a quick win, whether it's Link building, content or social media engagement, but Google is getting better at spotting this stuff all the time and will continue to do so. On top of that people are getting better at spotting it as well, and once you lose trust with your customers then you will do more damage to your business than Google will probably ever manage.
Engage through a proper content marketing strategy
The other key way to try and impress Google is to build trust through having a proper content marketing strategy.
This will ensure that your content across all platforms is high quality and consistent. On top of that it will engage with your customers and help to build your brand.
If you outsource your content make sure it is good quality. Don't try and cut corners by ordering budget content that doesn't join together to form a seamless wall of branded value.
You should also make sure that your content is written for visitors and not search engines. Of course it should be on topic and you should be aware of the keywords involved, but trying to fit keywords in naturally. Worrying about ‘keyword density’ is the path to madness and eventual issues with Google's algorithm.
Future proofing your online business actually means doing nothing different...
... if you are doing these things already.
The simple truth is that you can avoid any issues with Google simply sticking to what I've outlined here. In summary:
1. Make sure that you focus on building a recognisable brand. Get mentions and citations as well as links.
2. Avoid shady link building practices. Invest time and money in a proper outreach strategy that can bring more reward for the long term.
3. Have a joined up content marketing strategy that gives high quality and consistent content across all platforms.
4. Write great content that is on topic and engages your visitors rather than focusing on keywords.
You can never be 100% sure that your online business will prosper in the Google search results. The only thing you can do to safely maximise your chances is to follow the golden rules that Google has been outlining for years.
That may sound a little unadventurous but when you've worked so hard to build your online presence, what's the point in risking it by taking on the minds that operate the biggest search engine in the world?