SEO is Changing… Are You?
Over the past year there has been a serious amount of change taking place behind the scenes in Google’s algorithm. You only need to look at the past few months to understand the massive shake ups going on: 50 changes in March, 52 in April, 39 in May, 86 in June and July.. the list goes on – and these are only ANNOUNCED changes.
Arguably the most notable of these updates have been the “cute and fuzzy” animal-named ones known as Panda and Penguin, both of which had a major impact on what is acceptable and best practice when it comes to optimizing your site for the web.
Panda was rolled out back in February of 2011, targeting low-quality onsite content. The update aims to prevent sites from attaining rankings by producing sub-par, keyword rich content that doesn’t benefit users.This change pushed sites with rich content and positive user experiences higher in organic rankings, while decimating low quality sites and content farms.
The Penguin update was rolled out this past April and had a large negative impact on sites using link building tactics that abused anchor text or sites with back link profiles primarily coming from low-quality sources. So what does this mean for your business today?
“Optimize for people, and the search-engines will follow”
Google ultimately rolled out these algorithm updates so that people can’t easily manipulate their algorithm in order to get top rankings. While for some it has become a tired cliche, the main message is to not rely on spammy/manipulative search engine tactics in the long term if you want to attain rankings.
But while that sounds simple enough, what does it REALLY mean?
Link Building & Brand Building: A Match Made In Heaven
To generate the kinds of links Google loves, focus your attention less on what is cheap and easy and more on what will resonate with your target audience: genuinely relevant, helpful content that answers the pain points of your market. While there is certainly still a huge technical component to SEO, it is quickly becoming an online extension of your existing marketing and PR efforts.
Be where your customers are. Have a voice and a personality in the online space.Build a reputation as a company that is active and involved online.
And most of all, instead of focusing on quantities of links, start by asking what you can create for your audience. Build things that people need – things they’ll find compelling and want to share. It’s a call to action for business owners to invest more time and attention to their online presence. Being standoffish won’t yield results.
Where do I start?
- A key starting point is to work with your SEO vendor to ensure your content is robust and to identify opportunities to build content that meets the needs of people looking for your services and product offerings.Make sure a visit to your website is a streamlined but informative experience.
- Another component is to ensure that your site is user friendly and SEO friendly from a technical standpoint so that it can be properly crawled and indexed.
- Assess the natural business partnerships and relationships that exist offline and work to turn them into meaningful connections online.
That’s Not All…. Sharing is Caring!
Your website isn’t the only place to consider when strengthening authority of your brand online. More and more, search engines place an importance on the conversations about your brand taking place outside of your website. These conversations are happening through social media channels, where brands are going to engage in discussions with their customers online. And it doesn’t stop at Google+, Facebook, or Twitter; blogs, reviews websites and aggregators are just a few of the sources people are citing when making purchase decisions.
Sharing your content isn’t limited to posting it on your own site or blog – look to ways you can meaningfully integrate social media platforms, blogs and websites with audiences similar to yours. Actively work to get the resources you’re building in front of an audience that will care that they exist.
Don’t get left behind..
The companies that will win in the online space long term are the ones who are willing to get their hands dirty, take risks and invest in producing content that resonates with their target audience.
It’s time to abandon the idea that SEO is technical wizardry or that ranking on the first page is a simple transaction. Earn those top rankings by being the best, most engaged brand in your space on the web!
If you aren’t sure where to begin and need help kickstarting a strategy or plan on how to tackle the ever-evolving SEO beast, reach out and we are more than happy to help you out!