We live in the Google Economy.
Just over a year ago, eighty-six percent of people said search engines were an intrinsic aspect of the buying process. From books and restaurants to private jets, consumers consistently begin their searches on Google.
And with the wealth of information available, it’s natural that most people will stop searching after the first page (four years ago, the percentage of searches that didn’t go past the first page was at 68%). This is why SEO is indispensable; the fight to be listed on the first page of search results is vital to a business’s survival. So vital in fact, that many are resorting to black hat tactics in an attempt to deceive Google’s SEO algorithms.
Google, for their part, knows that many businesses are trying to manipulate their system. And that’s why the latest update to their search algorithm on April 24th is such a big deal. Known to the world as Google’s Penguin Update, its focus is to weed out sites that are over-optimized and replace them with high-quality sites. Websites stuffed to capacity with keywords, chock full of spun content and riddled with non-relevant links are those who will suffer the most from this update.
Google has long said that it wants to promote high-quality sites. They want to nurture an environment that benefits and simplifies the search process for its users. Increasing the rate of updates from every couple of months to every few weeks with each update targeting about 5% of searches, Google strives to prevent the growth of an inorganic SPAM-based listing of results. While this may not sound like much, it quickly adds up to be affecting trillions of searches, literally.
Since its release a week and half ago, we’ve noticed a few things about the Penguin Update that you should be aware of. First, some sites that are being penalized are those that were piggybacking onto poor quality links. Second, the sites that will be affected are those with rankings built up by SPAM link building; these sites were showing a higher ranking due in part to questionable links that Google will no longer be considering valid. Third, as of yet there has been no indication that Penguin will have a rolling update; however, we believe there will be as evidenced through their call for wrongly affected sites.
Balancing the incorporation of SEO on your site while still making sure you won’t be penalized in the long run isn’t easy, but there are a few sure-fire methods to accomplish this feat.
1) Have a Well-Designed Site: While you may want as many pages on your site as possible to grow the size of your online footprint, it’s more important to have high-quality content on fewer pages. Hire a talented website design team and don’t outsource your blogging to Vietnam.
2) Before hiring an SEO firm, check their references: They should have detailed information about their clients and their work; pay attention. They should be incorporating white hat techniques and not engaging in black hat or gray hat tactics. If they aren’t willing to tell you what their methods are, it’s a good idea not to trust them. And if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
3) Incorporate blogging and social media into your online marketing strategies: You can’t rely on SEO alone to drive clients to your business anymore. Everyday it is becoming increasingly crucial to not only have a social media presence, but also to be creating new, original content and sharing it. If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. But there are high-quality turnkey solutions available.
Having your business ranked on the first page of Google searches is no longer a luxury. In order for your business to continue to thrive in the online marketplace, it needs to have a sturdy and reputable SEO platform built around a quality website. Even with Google bringing in about $3 billion dollars a month in pay-per-click advertising, the majority of consumers continue to value the organic listings over the paid search results.
If you have questions about implementing a sure-fire SEO strategy with a quality content-driven website, contact us today and we’ll provide you with a free consultation.