Gone are the days of abusive marketing. Google wants you to think less like a marketer, and more like a customer.
I'll be the first to admit, I personally used just about every method imaginable to manipulate search engine results.
If you've come accustomed to using black-hat SEO methods, it's time to change. The good news: Your customers (and google) will love you.
Have your cake and share it, too.
I'd love to say "just build a website or SEO campaign designed to give your customer(s) the best possible experience", but then I'd sound just like Google.
Here's the truth, though: They're right, and that statement should pretty much sum up your new approach, with one exception. Continue to seek domination. Common-sense? Maybe, but finding the right balance isn't always a piece of cake.
When I undertook building this website, I started using my old methods, with a few new twists. I found that on week 4, the site was already on page 1, and ranking at the top for several relevant search terms. Naturally, I thought to myself, "Let's make it even stronger, bigger, and better", but after doing so, I watched the ranks drop like crazy.
This happened because I was over-optimizing. I became so obsessed with the rankings, that I lost sight of the bigger picture. I forgot that Google doesn't appreciate that kind of approach any more.
After that disaster, I decided to forward another domain I own to the new site, and something curious happened. The new domain, shy of keywords and SEO-related jibber-jabber, overtook the original "optimized" one.
It is almost as if Google has implemented a new, mind-reading algorithm that allows them to detect the very moment someone intends to manipulate their search results. I was using almost every tool known to man, and everything said I was golden, when in fact I wasn't even close. I didn't know it yet, but I had just created my own personal Titanic of a website. This site was sinking, and sinking fast.
I decided to do an experiment, which some of you probably saw on Facebook. I decided to create a new website, for our SEO services, under the code-name Silvershark. The website would use a keyword-based web address, title, and description, but the main goal was to create an experience that the end-user would find engaging, and easy to use. I would only spend 4 hours on the site, and I wouldn't over-optimize. The content had some bold and italic tags, but wasn't over the top, and the alt tags weren't even optimized for SEO.
4 weeks later, the results were in, and they were great. Several relevant search terms took you straight to us on page 1, in either the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th slot (our other website beat it for the better positions). This was excellent, considering we were competing with other SEO companies in the area, and it was done in under 4 hours.
Since then, I've optimized it a tad, but I've learned the fine line between optimizing a page for your customer, and optimizing it to get search results. More and more, I'm seeing that companies who aren't even trying to get rank, get it. The new Google is going to drive marketers mad, because as they seek to beat the competition through optimization (SEO), they start to walk the razor-thin line between success and an absolute disaster.
Some more tips and information:
Some key elements that still help your SEO:
- Good, unique, and readable (keyword-oriented) content.
- Domain age (continues to play a huge role)
- Social profiles and bookmarking (even more powerful after the updates)
- Title, and description tags (still relevant, but watched closely for spamming)
- Keyword-rich web addresses (use with caution, adds to the spam effect)
A great new way to get better CTR (click-through-ratio):
- Microdata (gives your customers more information before they click)
Some things that don't work well anymore:
- Excessive use of keywords in title, description & , anchor text, alt text, and other tags
- Creating a plethora of backlinks not relevant to your services or products
- Spamming blogs with your web address
- Linking your websites together to create a "pyramid effect"
- Using spammy or unreadable content designed to help with search categorization
- Thinking like a marketer
Thanks for reading! Please share and comment below :)
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