It’s a common occurrence.
I’ll be speaking with a client who’s deeply concerned about their site’s organic standing, and they’ll bring up Google’s track record. Their fear? That Google will update their algorithm again, causing chaos to websites everywhere.
Perhaps these clients have read the horror stories of websites completely disappearing after a Google update, such as the 2012 Penguin update that attacked spammy sites. Or—worse still—perhaps Google manually penalized their website for poor SEO practices (aka “black hat SEO”), as they did in 2011 with J.C. Penney’s website, causing it to drop from Page 1 to Page 10 for many valuable terms.
As scary as some of these examples may be, I don’t believe Google updates should concern you…if you’ve been following best practices, as outlined by the search engines.
What Doesn't Work?
Trying to game the system.
Google and the other search engines want high-quality results. It’s as simple as that. And to that end, they’ve laid out the main items you should pay attention to for optimizing a website. But if any one thing from this list becomes the SEO “strategy,” that short-sighted approach is bound to backfire. If the “strategy” is to stuff the keyword tag or build thousands of links, then it’s not a strategy—it’s just a tactic being exploited.
What Does Work?
We deal largely in “on-site optimization,” which refers to all of the SEO best practices that can be executed on the client’s website, rather than those that exist external to the site, such as links or citations. These best practices are put forth by Google, which means a lot of the guesswork is taken out of the equation.
Here are some of the primary elements that Google recommends optimizing:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Image names
- URL structure
I realize that some readers may be more familiar with these elements than others, but trust me, this is a pretty straightforward list. However, I have yet to work with a client who had all of these bases covered. And that’s okay. That’s why we’re here. Working with us frees you from having to understand the nuances of each element.
I rarely concern myself with how Google’s updates will affect our clients, because we work off of tried and true methods for optimizing websites. If your site has been optimized using the best practice elements above, you should be safe and sound. If you’re worried that you, or a previous provider, have done something that could be detrimental to your rankings, we’d be happy to chat with you about your concerns.