Unfortunately there is no real “secret” to avoiding being wiped off the face of the search results when another cute and fuzzy animal update rolls off the assembly line; instead, we can only offer a few simple pieces of advice. If you’re tired of waiting in fear for the other shoe to drop, stop and break free of the cycle of reaction! Google updates do not have to hold absolute power over the success of your website any longer! Yes, they will still have an immense impact on your site’s rankings, but unless you’re gaming the system you should not be living in fear of what the next update or refresh will mean for your business.
Check out this post for some good old-fashioned proactive advice: A Six-Step Survival Guide for Search Engine Updates – by AJ Kumar
Our advice in a nutshell?
Stop being reactive and try being proactive for a change! And if you’ve already be moving towards independence and being proactive, good for you! Help us spread the word and share this post / this information with your friends.
How can you be proactive you ask?
Read on friends, and discover the “secrets” to breaking this vicious cycle of reaction…
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Seems simple huh? The ever vaunted “Golden Rule” applies to the World Wide Web just as much as it does to our daily interactions with people in the flesh. This is a wonderful piece of advice that can save you a lot of heartache and wasted resources! When you visit a website, do you want to land on a useless and over-optimized doorway page? Heck no! You want to go where the real information is, or where you can buy the product you were searching for. When you surf an article directory or a blog to find out more about a specific topic, do you want to have spammy spun garbage shoved in your face? Doubtful. Are you tired of scrolling through page after page of the same exact thing after searching for something using Google? Pages and pages of duplicate content…. sounds exciting! Not really…
Our point is that these things are not doing anyone any favors in the long run, and yet they are tactics used to boost the rankings of a large number of websites in the short term. Maybe not your websites, but maybe the sites of someone you know. Not all SEO professionals rely on those methods but the fact is that so many of them do, and they have ridden them hard. Google did not take kindly to this trampling and tossed a wrench or two into the works with a few of their more recent major updates; Panda and Penguin anyone?
How can this help you?
If your website is focused on providing the best possible user experience, you’re probably already doing a lot of things right. High-quality content, a professional-looking website with all of the right information in the right places, and a carefully tailored SEO campaign are all steps in the right direction. Treating the people who visit your site as you would want to be treated is going to go a long way towards positive consumer engagement! Who would you rather do business with, a website with the less-than-stellar characteristics we’ve mentioned above… or a website more like yours?
Don’t be a jerk / Spam is bad*
* The only kind of Spam we should have around is that strange and fascinating substance in a can!
When it comes to online activities, nobody likes a spammer. You know them well; they are the people filling up the comment areas of blogs everywhere with garbled paragraphs that give you a headache to decipher if you even bother to try. They post the same article with a few variations (often courtesy of an auto-spin button on their spinning software) on a dozen different blogs and article directory sites. And what is their goal? Links. Just links. And the sad part is that the value of links is seriously being questioned, so making a mad dash for the finish by creating as many links as you can might not be the brightest idea after all.
It’s really quite selfish of them, pushing for the maximum benefit for themselves with little to no thought for everyone else who has to wade through the mess they create. Spammers are jerks, plain and simple. Don’t be a jerk ladies and gentlemen! Don’t spam, and don’t post what might as well be duplicate content all over the internet. It’s rude, and it’s litter on the side of the information superhighway.
What’s in it for you?
If you are cutting back on the spam and duplicate content that can be associated with your website, you’re reducing your chances of being caught in the backlash from the next update Google puts out there. By being proactive, you are setting your site above those who are not making these choices and moving towards better offerings for their visitors.
Video: Web2Expo – Matt Cutts – What Google Knows About Spam
Feeling proactive already? It’s a bit older, but there are some really solid strategies here: 6 Changes Every SEO Should Make BEFORE the Over-Optimization Penalty Hits – Whiteboard Friday – by randfish @ SEOmoz
Just be nice!
Essentially, our point is that if you truly want to gain independence from Google’s updates, you have to think like an intelligent, compassionate human being. Your best defense is a good offense! Follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, watch the videos, and read the blogs on update recovery…there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. They actually have some good advice from time to time, though if you’ve taken the above advice to heart, you can see where all of these tips are headed.
Just think what the internet would be like if the focus truly shifted towards providing a better user experience? Not just paying lip service to Google and trying to placate their algorithm with superficial changes while continuing to game the system under the table. Seems kind of utopian doesn’t it? A perfect place where there was no spam, and links were freely given to sites with relevant and valuable connections to the originating content. A place where users could search Google and find what they were looking for quickly and easily. What a world that would be!
What’s your take on this post? Are we on to something, or barking up the wrong tree? Let us know!