Excuse the cliche, but the only thing constant is change. And this is apparent in the way Google keeps redefining the rules of ranking on search results. Keeping to the old-school way of doing SEO means you keep committing SEO mistakes you should have outgrown long ago. Prepare for the unexpected—unless you want to be hidden in the depths of unexplored search engine results pages.Luckily, fixing your SEO problems is just a matter of catching up and being informed.
1st Rule of SEO: Look for Chatter
SEO is global. With businesses relying on it to further their reach and get site traffic, many people are looking for clues on what Google is up to. Just recently, the SEO community has been abuzz with chatter: apparently, Google has released not one, but two updates. That’s the unofficial report, and Google has brushed it aside as just “normal fluctuations”. But if you’ve been in the industry long enough, you’ll know Google has a bit of a reputation for saying an update is nothing until they are ready to own up to it.
It seems wise on their part, considering that update rollouts may take months, but it would also seem wiser on your end to be aware of the supposed chatter. It’s always better to prepare for a change rather than dismiss it.
2nd Rule of SEO: Verify Said Chatter
The world of SEO is not about hearsay. Any company can lose their top ranking and blame their SEO company for not keeping abreast with Google’s latest changes. Little do they know that not redirecting or monitoring 404 or 410 errors could be the culprit. Or that Google has finally had enough of their low-quality content.
Google’s core updates don’t affect just one site. There should be some reshuffling, and that means online talking. To verify if your site has indeed been affected, check reputable sites for their observations—by now, you should have a few of those bookmarked. Don’t just verify locally. Look at what’s happening everywhere else, especially if you have plans to go global. This also gives you an idea of the rollout’s progress.
— Mila (@MilaTanasi) September 23, 2016
It’s also worth noting that Google sometimes rolls out updates in desktop search and mobile search separately. Remember that those two offer different results, and when you’re targeting the wrong keywords, that’s another common SEO mistake causing you to fail at one or the other.
Here’s a tip for mobile search: KISS. Keep It Short and Simple. You’re dealing with searchers who are on the move. They can’t be bothered with typing long queries. They may resort to Voice Search, and they think Answer Boxes are their best friends. If you haven’t been optimizing your content for better information extraction by Google, do so now.
3rd Rule of SEO: Keep Tabs on Google
Google is just one of the search engines people use, but it’s the ringleader. And when Google works on something, it will integrate that into its core search algorithm soon after. It can also go the other way around.
Remember when Google changed its Local Pack? What about Google’s travel planner? The tech giant has just announced the Google Trips app, with recommendations for restaurants, places, and activities falling under categories such as “Top Spots” and “Outdoors”. Watch as SEOs start finding ways to rank in those categories and remember: you have been warned.
4th Rule of SEO: Keep Your Strategy Clean
In a recent Local Pack results algorithm and ranking update, the spam algorithm has apparently been refreshed. The update also supposedly resulted in some trade sites being suspended. If you’re still trying to make spammy content work for you, stop. Consider this your final warning.
Google has long expressed their dislike for low-quality content and bad links that violate their quality guidelines, and your site will only be suspended if you continue with your current tactics. It’s high time you focus on quality and keep your marketing strategy clean. Eliminate black-hat strategies from your vocabulary, disavow all the bad links that are costing you your reputation—and never look back.
There is no better way to approach SEO than to think like its biggest player: Google. And Google is a company that values user experience over everything else. Its latest project, Trips, even works offline. That, together with the updated Maps and Street View, will be a traveller’s dream. Yes, it seems challenging juggling that while keeping up with Voice Search, but if you keep your goal in sight, you should learn to streamline your strategies.
It seems that when Google became Alphabet, it had one thing in mind: an interconnection of apps that give the ultimate user experience. Google even encourages users to foster human relations, as evidenced by Google Duo.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]There is no better way to approach SEO than to think like its biggest player: Google.[/perfectpullquote]
It’s not too hard to crack Google’s next move. All you have to do is forget about the zeros in your corporate bank account and think about how your brand will improve user experience. Overhaul your sites if you must, but focus on providing value to your users rather than on getting their money. That puts you one step closer to Google-proofing your website and eliminating your SEO mistakes.
Google strives “to do more, and to do important and meaningful things” with the resources they have. Mirror their moves and do more for your users, too.