My colleagues and I have been talking about what changes Google has been making in SEO and how you should address these changes in general. Today I want to target a specific market – start-up and growing local businesses that are having small business SEO services done on their websites. How should you react to the changes Google has been making, and what should you do to ensure your growing business maintains its growth online?
Keeping Track of the Changes
The answer to the first question depends on what kind of SEO you’ve been doing. If you haven’t updated your SEO methodology from years ago, chances are you’re doing things that are already against Google’s updated guidelines. This is especially the case if you are using borderline techniques that are now considered low-quality SEO.
Google’s updated definitions are defined by three main adjectives: excessive, large-scale, and low-quality. Avoid these three and provide the quality and relevance that Google needs, and you’re on your way to strong SEO.
- Updated Link Scheme Definitions. Google has expanded their link scheme definitions to include guest blogs, large-scale article marketing, link exchanges, and low-quality directory submissions and bookmark sites.
- Link Buying and Content Automation. Google hasn’t changed their position about these two activities – these will still get your website penalized. They have, however, updated their definition to include improperly-marked advertorials as a link buying scheme.
- Press Releases and Anchor Texts. After the controversy with press releases being published solely for link building purposes, Google has included this in the list of link scheme definitions. Instead of linking dofollow links to exact match anchor texts, you need to link to long-tail anchor texts and nofollow all links to avoid getting a penalty.
Security in Quality
The problem we see many small businesses having with these new guidelines is with Google’s vagueness about everything. Despite their expansion of definitions, they still leave it to you to decide what is not excessive and what is lacking in terms of your SEO campaign. Google protects its formula so well that they are able to clearly explain what it is they don’t want to see without divulging further details. That said, you are left with questions that can be answered by one word: quality.
- Link Building is NOT dead, but… You need to update your strategy to reflect the changes Google has made in their definitions and algorithms. You can check out my previous discussion about updating old link building strategies or read Itamar’s recent blog on “earning” quality links instead of simply “building” them.
- Quality is your ticket to success. At the heart of Google’s updates is the focus on improving quality. You may not know the exact formula Google uses for successful ranking on the SERPs, but focusing on the quality of content you publish and links you acquire provides a very strong base for your online marketing campaign. You can check our blog on the future of Google Search to learn more about where search is headed and what areas in your campaign you need to improve.
SEO has not fundamentally changed, but for small businesses, quality is key to making it through the next batch of updates Google has in store. We’d be happy to help you develop and implement an effective small business SEO strategy. Contact us today to get started.