In its efforts to improve user experience, Google is constantly tweaking and fine-tuning its algorithm. Usually, the refinements are subtle and the impact is minimal.
But last month, Google made adjustments to their algorithm that affected an estimated 12% of U.S. search results. And things are still shaking out.
Although the change was made to push down content farms and scraper sites in the SERPs, many legitimate sites also lost traffic and page rank. So if search traffic is critical to your business, you may need to rethink your search engine optimization strategy.
A cautionary keyword tale.
Identifying high-traffic keywords and then working them into your website content is the foundation of SEO.
But black-hat search teams went too far by creating worthless content around anything that would drive traffic. Even Huffington Post – recently purchased by AOL for $315 million – notoriously posted an article titled, “What Time Does the Super Bowl Start?”
Google hasn’t gone as far as search engine upstart Blekko – which banned more than 1.1 million domains earlier this month – but Google Chrome allows users to veto results from sites like Demand Media’s eHow so they don’t appear in their future searches.
Think of it as a do-not-call list for the Web.
Keywords should still be an essential part of your search strategy. But if creating content for your site means knocking out a post in 20 minutes, you might as well stop wasting your time.
Moving forward, your content will need to be high quality – and original. What’s more, you need to think of content as more than just words. Multimedia pages with unique audio, video, and images will outrank a simple, text-only article every time.
The new Google algorithm also uncovers suspicious backlinking. Just ask J.C. Penney which used backlinks to rank No. 1 for everything from “bedding” to “skinny jeans.” Once Google found out, J.C. Penney’s rankings went into a freefall that will likely take them months to recover from. They deny any knowledge of the ploy, but the damage is done.
It’s been said for years, but it’s more true now than ever – the best way to get high-quality backlinks to your site is to create great content that others will want to link to.
So there you have it. Two search strategies, one solution: brilliant, insightful content that you won’t find anywhere else.