April 4, 2013

Why Not Just Do What Google Says?

Published: 4 April 2013 

Sometimes it seems like the way to go,doesn't it? When you put all the work in building a whole heap of backlinks of various types only to find there is that one client that goes against everything you know about SEO and keeps outranking your site. Worse still are the often randomly selected manual penalties. I recently read a story about a gentlemen who despite doing nothing black hat or even overtly wrong, through an unfortunate misunderstanding of the rules, suffered a devastating manual penalty and had to jump through flaming hoops to have it removed. The time spent doing this while the site suffered without its ranking would have caused countless damage to the business and in the current business climate some businesses simply cannot afford to operate. A manual penalty can literally destroy businesses. In the case of the aforementioned fellow, guest blogging aside, he decided to go about establishing SEO practices in line with Google standards to recover his ranking. In combination with removing the factors that caused the ranking loss this led to the removing of the penalty.

The Death of SEO, No

It seems as though the more Google refines the algorithms and reaches pinnacle Google, the more that SEOs are basically digital marketing agents. Right now the hot things are content marketing, inbound marketing, advanced content, video and other things expected of your run of the mill marketing agencies. So why not just do what Google says?

The concern that a lot of SEOs will have, especially those that haven't reviewed exactly what Google have to say on the subject, is that it nullifies the need for us, which is entirely inaccurate. "The Death of SEO" is a phrase that has reached hysteric levels of hyperbole. The complete destruction of SEO is never going to happen. That would be the case if getting your site into line by Google standards was as simple as making one and having a coffee, but it isn't. There is still plenty to do technically onsite and the years of studying, testing and measuring that companies like us have done gives us an advantage when it comes to designing link-worthy content and optimising it for search engines. SEOs with a marketing streak make fantastic digital marketers but digital marketers rarely make good SEOs without the knowledge. You can create the best content but if you haven't done the research to know that it will gain traction online, or optimised it so that your site gets attributed good PageRank for it, then you might as well be doing nothing.

Okay So What Does Google Say?

Google actually promotes the use of SEOs on their website. They suggest that webmasters employ SEOs to conduct the following things:

  • Review of your site content or structure
  • Technical advice on website development: for example, hosting, redirects, error pages, use of JavaScript
  • Content development
  • Management of online business development campaigns
  • Keyword research
  • SEO training
  • Expertise in specific markets and geographies.

These things basically are what we do already. It's a case of redefining what your "content development" practices are and you are sitting right in the lap of Google. By focusing on creative content campaigns, inbound marketing etc. instead of your run of the mill link building tactics you will avoid any nasty side effects and at the end of the day this is the sort of thing that will really make a long lasting change to your rankings. The sort of change that will make the site you are working on an immovable object soaring at the top of the Google SERPs.

Yes SEO is evolving, and it will continue to, but just like how mechanics evolve when cars do, so to will SEOs. This is the difference between black hat and white hat. Black hat will go by the wayside in time. Black hat SEO will die. But white hat SEO practices will continue to be refined and these are ways that not even Google has a problem with. Sure right now building anchor text heavy backlinks still works, for a short while before you're slapped down to page 25.

So why not just do what Google says?

Ben Maden

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