In the few years I’ve been an agency-level inbound marketer I’ve seen dozens of clients both succeed and fail in digital marketing. You might wonder why some fail miserably and others flourish. Of course there are many reasons, but I’ve heard a lot of businesses blame the moving target of an ever-changing algorithm. While it’s true that search engines will always be evolving in attempt to improve our online experience, there is one key element that will never change.
Think long-term and ignore fads
Each year Google updates its algorithm more than 500 times. Equally, most SEO’s and webmasters put themselves into some level of panic every one of those times. That or they’ll use the latest update as a sales gimmick to take advantage of you. Don’t fall for it. In fact, there are 1000′s of internet marketing and search engine optimization techniques you should probably avoid.
Try and refrain from hitting the panic button over each new algorithm change, penalty or hot new SEO tool. But, don’t stick your head in the sand either, always be aware of what’s happening.
*Courtesy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; DreamWorks/Apatow Productions (2004)
Finding the common thread
Search engines like Google are designed to provide the world with relevant information and answer our questions – any question.
Truth is, kids today have access to more information than ever before. They’re carrying every dictionary, encyclopedia, and how-to video in their pocket. The catch is, good information is often mingled with misinformation and plain junk. A good search engine helps users cipher through the junk and find relevant answers to our questions. This is Google’s goal. Take a look at this year’s algorithm updates; see a pattern?
2012 Google updates (and its only March):
- Jan 30-pack (30 search quality updates including image search and landing page quality detection)
- Search+ Your World (radical shifts in personalized search)
- Panda 3.2 (additional penalizing for poor content)
- Ads Above the Fold (devalues sites with ad-space above the fold)
- Feb 17-pack (17 search quality updates, related to speed, freshness, spell-checking, content quality in search index)
- Venice (local search update)
- Feb 40-pack (40 search quality updates including image, freshness and content quality)
- Panda 3.3 (upgrade to Panda, putting even more emphasis on quality content)
The common thread here? An emphasis on relevant and quality content.
Understanding the secret to search
I stopped worrying about Google’s algorithm changes or latest rounds of penalties because I understand where Google wants to be. Therefore, I understand what I need to do to remain in their highest graces. Write quality content that answers real questions.
Search engines have been cracking down on poorly written, irrelevant content this past year – with a vengeance. They’re making a strong push to clean up the web, and are rewarding those who are already providing good information.
Matt Cutts, head of Google spam team says, they’re “leveling the playing field.” Websites that have been over-optimized or contain poorly written copy will be penalized in order to reward those who have consistently offered well-written, timely and unique content.
The message is very clear: spend the majority of your digital business development efforts writing good content that answers your audience’s questions. To take this a step further, you can provide even more content by engaging your customers via social media channels.
If you can answer yes to these five simple questions, your business has great potential to succeed online:
- Do you have an attractive website?
- Is your website easy to navigate?
- Is each page on your site specific to only one or two topics?
- Is your copy grammatically correct, completely original and at least 250 words per page?
- Do you have a blog hosted on your domain that you update at least twice a month?
If you answered “Yes!” to all of the above, you are well ahead of the competition.
Content is now God
You’ve heard the cliché content is king? Well, in today’s world of search, content is God!
The most effective SEO strategy you can implement for online success comes down to writing. This can be extremely daunting for most businesses. I suggest working with an agency or finding an employee who just loves to write about your business in their spare time. The future of your online success is counting on it.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorite resources for producing content that search engines will love:
- QuickSprout, The Marketer’s Guide to Blogging
- Mashable, Content Creation
- SEOmoz, Content Strategies
- Kaiser the Sage, Tips for Guest Blogging (and other great resources)
- YoungPrePro, Ultimate Guide to Guest Blogging
Good luck and thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts in the comments box below, I’d love to hear from you.
See ya next time – don’t forget to write. (Poor attempt at writer’s humor)
By: Matt MaloneTweet