Have you ever had that eerie feeling that something bad was going to happen?
That feeling of impending doom?
That may have been the Google sword hanging over your head ready to decapitate all of your hard work, overnight.
I am sure you have noticed there are gazillions of articles on the web on how to get your website ranked higher on Google.
That is understandable, you need traffic to drive sales and build a list. And, Google is the dominant force in search engines and can make or break your web existence.
So, what about those businesses that have built their business so that it’s completely dependent Google search traffic?
The core of Google is its search engine. If the search results are not yielding the results that its users expect, Google loses market share (yes it’s possible).
If Google loses market share the bottom line suffers and Google gets mad and they have a Penguin or a Panda.
What Is the Problem?
You risk everything if you are completely dependent on Google for your traffic, even if you do everything right.
Relying on one source of traffic is a dangerous game, one change and you could lose everything at the drop of the sword.
With that being said, the problem isn’t so much how high you rank on Google, but how you get there.
Why it happened?
Google made a series of updates to its search algorithms with the purpose of eliminating spammy sites that were trying to game the system.
In February 2011, Google introduced the Panda Update. The purpose of this update was to eliminate poor content from low-quality sites that made their way into Google’s top search results.
This update mainly affected sites that produced content with no value or sites that are using duplicate or near duplicate content. Many of the larger content syndication sites were hit pretty badly with the Panda Update.
In April 2012, Google introduced the Penguin Update. In an effort to discourage “BlackHat” SEO, this update affected the way webmasters were linking from other sites to their own “money sites” among other things.
Both updates continue to be tweaked regularly and you can bet there are more “animals” coming.
How to Avoid being Penalized
You have probably heard this a billion times but; provide valuable content that gives your readers a reason to come back and ultimately become a subscriber.
Ok, now that you have heard it one billion and one times, there are some things that you can do.
Don’t wait for another Google update to take action and take measures now to ensure that your blog is as resistant to Google updates as possible
Set aside some time to create as many alternate paths to your blog as possible.
Google isn’t the bad guy here; you just need to rethink your content and traffic strategies.
There is no need to ignore Google, but you do need to have a balance. As they say in the investing world, diversify.
What can you do?
Some businesses have stopped chasing organic search results and now rely on Pay Per Click (PPC). It may cost more but it is easier and less headache.
The following list is things you can do to make your site more appealing to Google.
- Follow Google Webmaster Guidelines closely
- Provide valuable content (one billion and two)
- Well organized site with easy navigation
- Make your site load as fast as possible
- Keep you site honest, never try to deceive Google
- Use keywords sparingly and make the relevant
- Optimize images
- Google seems to like longer articles (1000 words instead of 500)
- Update your site regularly
- The age of your domain can affect your rank
What not to do
- Don’t buy links
- Never buy likes and follows
- Stay far away from auto-generated content or article spinners
- Never lower yourself to spammy methods
- You should disavow bad links
- You should keep keyword numbers in check
Other viable traffic options
- Guest Blogging (difficult but rewarding)
- Social Media (free but time consuming)
- Great Content (think viral)
- Back links for Authority sites
- Google AdWords (can be costly but effective)
- Facebook Ads (can be costly but effective)
- Twitter Ads (can be costly but effective)
- Once you start getting traffic, build your list (that is something Google can’t take away)
I don’t know how to stress this enough, stay far, far away from BlackHat strategies. I am still amazed at how popular the forums and blogs are that promote BlackHat tactics.
If you are still practicing BlackHat SEO tactics, your life on Google is numbered. It is time to find a new strategy and leave the dark side.
Keep it real and reap the rewards of your hard and honest work. Remember, this web thing is a marathon, not a sprint.