We only just had the Penguin 2.0 update at the end of May and then we have been hit by another update from our friends at Google in June. For sites that are in .com.au, it may be hard to see whether the Penguin 2.0 had an impact on their site or if it was the latter update considering the fact the updates do not always impact non .com domains straight away.
There was a great post on MozCon about the June 25th update and which queries and sites were affected. I suggest for those interested to know about exactly how their client may be affected by this last update, please read. I thought it was an interesting post, but it also made me start questioning the fact that we all know that there are over 200 updates from Google a year and they announce just a handful of them, so why does everyone always go crazy when these announcements are made? Does Google think we are just sitting around waiting for these updates to then change our SEO strategy?
The principles of what makes a good site appear high in the search results are the same:
1) Make your site for your user
This means create good content which goes hand in hand with links. The better quality the content is, the more interesting it is, the higher the chance you have in creating more links back to your site. Don’t build flashy websites with many navigation links as this can be very confusing for the user. Go back to basics and make sure the site is easy to navigate and read and has those great social sharing buttons so users can share the content if they like it.
2) Do not buy links
I admit the definition of a bought link has become more clear over the past few years and now advertorials and paid press releases are pretty much out of the question, unless you have no follow links. A few years ago, it was possible to change a client’s rankings for key terms just be linking on the anchor text within a press release or an advertorial. In the larger country domains like .com and .co.uk, this is no longer the case. As I have mentioned before, it is not link building, but relationship building. Work with great bloggers and influencers in your industry and work with them on creating content that their readers and yours will enjoy.
3) Integrate SEO with Social
There was a great post last week by on Search Engine Land by Trond Lyngbø about the importance of integrating SEO with social and PR. This integration should not be underestimated as we see the growth of Facebook Google + as well as Instagram and Pinterest. In SEO we often work with bloggers who are key influencers in their field. Social media can have a positive and negative effect (if not handled well) on your brand. As Trond said, people no longer trust everything they see or hear, they want to see the social proof. One of the best examples of this is TripAdvisor. Many people check out the reviews before they book, trusting the social media.
The three points above are nothing new, those in SEO have been stating this for a good few years which is SEO best practice. As we all know SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. I like to also think it stands for the Simple Easy Option. If people adhered to the above and did not try and trick Google into trying to rank higher then we would not be as worried about these updates. SEO is more than just rankings and this term should really be banned from all client’s vocabulary. We cannot control where keywords “rank” like we can for PPC. We need to focus on making a great site, creating engaging content and integrating with our social media strategy to ensure we have the highest visibility possible for a website.