Thoughts on Google’s Algorithm Changes

by Gary on December 9, 2011

in Organic SEO

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I’ve been mulling over the staggering figures from my last post, and have come to realise that the figures merely strengthen my belief as to how we should approach SEO.

For the past several years I have emphasised time and again the importance of not having a short-sighted approach to SEO. I have written about the importance of relevant content, the need to integrate your organic SEO efforts with paid search marketing techniques (which back then was mostly Pay-per-click campaigns), and more recently, the necessity of understanding and addressing the needs your users. Yet, despite the countless arguments for more user-oriented approaches to website design I still encounter many people who dabble in SEO with the intent of gaming search engines.

I believe that these people just don’t get it. Just like people who fall for get-rich-quick schemes, the people who persist in relying solely on what I call “reactive SEO” often do not realise that if there was an easy formula for getting to the top of Google’s search results, then there wouldn’t even be a need for the services of SEOs. Instead, blinded by smooth-talking “SEOs” that promise instant results, they choose to waste their money focusing on strategies that produce little (or no) results, or worse, even do them more harm. And just like the man chasing the carrot up there, they’re getting nowhere really fast even if does not seem like that to them.

Now I am not saying that SEO strategies are all bunk; after all I too am part of the industry, right? What I am saying though is that we need to approach SEO with a more holistic approach, looking beyond the basic factors that we know are part of search engine algorithms right now. We need to stop chasing the carrot and focus on the real goal!

Now this is where mulling over the past post comes in. As we learned from the infographic on Google, the Big G rolls out about 500 algorithm changes each year. Not only that, but there are also “50-200 versions of their core algorithm out in the wild” at any given time! If you look beyond the wow factor, you will realise that this means only one thing – that there’s no use trying to figure out ALL the factors of Google’s search algorithm, much less figure out the degree of their effects. True, it is useful to know the most significant factors, but there is just no realistic way you will ever be able to catch up with such a dynamic algorithm. Instead, what you should focus on when doing SEO is making sure that the strategies you employ are in line with the search engine’s main thrust. With such an approach, you can be sure that no matter how many algorithmic changes Google rolls out in the future, you can more or less be sure that you are covering the basics and need not worry much about being hit with negative consequences. On the other hand, taking advantage of the loopholes of Google’s algorithm today might indeed serve you well for now, but it also means that having to backtrack and implement more costly changes once their algorithm improves to the point where your short-sighted tactics no longer work.

How about you? What’s your approach to SEO?


Image via Malin Fitness

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