How To Weather Google Algorithm Changes
If you spend much time reading the various webmaster forums, you're no doubt well aware of the grief that many webmasters experience after seeing a Google algorithm change send their web pages sinking like a stone in the search results. But there are always other webmasters who do well with the changes, and many whose rankings are pretty much unaffected.
What allows some websites to weather frequent algo changes and even prosper while others are banished to the nether regions of the SERPS or banned altogether? In a word, moderation.
Search Engine Optimization is a lucrative business, and many SEOs routinely "push the limits" of what's allowed by the search engines in an attempt to maximize a client site's rankings and draw more business. The problem with this approach is Google is constantly moving the goal post. If you play the game too aggressively you'll find your site being penalized when Google changes the algorithm.
So what can you do to safely optimize your site for the search engines? There are several things to remember:
1 - Make your SEO efforts an asset to Google, not a nemesis. Use ethical optimization practices that help ensure that your pages rank well and pass the "relevance" test. Google loathes spammers because they skew the search results making them less relevant for the searchers, and less relevant results drive searchers to other search engines. Understandably, Google doesn't like that a bit! Bottom line: Make your pages search engine friendly, but don't spam. That way when your page makes it into the top 10 it will really deserve to be there.
2 - Corollary to #1: Provide content that is truly relevant to the search queries that the page ranks well for. In fact, strive to make your page the most relevant (and most useful) page on the Internet for those search terms. Google loves lots of high quality content that is actually useful to your visitors, and their ranking algorithm will reward you handsomely for it, often with little or no SEO techniques in use at all. Lots of quality content draws lots of quality inbound links to your pages, which in turn helps boost their rankings even more!
3 - Use moderation in everything you do in regards to SEO. If you don't edge right up to the line, you'll be a lot less likely to cross it when Google moves it on you. This applies to linking, keyword density, header tags...all of the typical SEO techniques that are in use by webmasters today.
The webmasters who are happy after each and every Google update make their SEO efforts actually benefit the Google index. Their pages are full of relevant, useful content and they refrain from using "gray area" SEO techniques. Remember, today's "gray area" techniques are often tomorrow's "black hat" techniques.
Rick Rouse is the owner of RLROUSE Directory & Informational Resources (http://www.rlrouse.com), your one-stop source for information on a wide variety of topics.
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