If search engines did not exist, how would you update and market your website?
Would you develop a site that was engaging and portrayed your business’s uniqueness? Would you link to resources that provided value to your visitors? Would you request other websites to link to you when it was reasonable to do so?
Would you overuse a keyword phrase, guest post like mad, going to sleeping worrying about rankings, strive to find every available trick, start microsites linking to your main website, and buy expired domains with third-party domain authority signals?
The difference between the tactics in 2nd and 3rd paragraph and is the inherent desperation in the 3rd.
The 2nd paragraph shows a strategy that has clearly created equity by building a website that focuses on a business’s natural goal: building trust to capture a visitor’s business or attention. In short, if all other business operations are about building and maintaining equity. If a search engine didn’t exist, would still you strive to build equity for your website?
After reading Search Engine Land’s most recent blog post about the March 12th Google Core update I remind myself of the importance of creating websites with SEO campaigns that focus on longevity rather than quick gains. That blog post shows example after example of SEOs describing their gains and losses as if they were frantic day-traders. I recognize that many of these people are running businesses that are their livelihoods, but their efforts and time are wasted and their livelihoods are at risk because an application they have absolutely no control over changed overnight.
That’s a terrible way to run a business.
Make Decisions That Help You Sleep At Night
I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, and I’ve come to learn that the decisions I make the help me sleep at night are the the best decisions. Prior to many of the modern algorithm updates during the 2010s, I spent plenty of time gathering endless links, writing drivel, and cramming keywords wherever I could because that was known to work.
With the release of Panda and then Penguin, I began to recognize that work I had performed was antithesis to the spirit of the internet. Once I recognized that an entire industry of link directories and article directories was nothing but an incestuous house of cards once algorithms were updated, I began to see the need to build ever-lasting website.
I began to learn more about these algorithms, particularly with my 2015 blog post “A Trip Through the Google Zoo“, and I began to get a better sense of Google’s intentions. To build a user-friendly, trustable search engine.
Too often have I worked with businesses who have relied on outdated techniques, spam, and awful link building practices to name a few. The lack of transparency and even SEO companies admitting they cannot guarantee rankings has made the industry look foolish to the point even lobbying organizations are starting to look into cracking-down on snake-oil SEO companies. And I’m happy about it!
Maintaining Realistic Expectations
You don’t have to be #1 to be #1. Meaning: being first for a keyword, all it’s variances, across all devices, regions, and demographics is impossible.
If you can’t make sense of a new SEO trick others are touting, it’s probably not a “trick,” it’s a risk.
Even If You Do the Right Thing You Can Still Get Hit
That’s true about anything. Finances, love, driving. Risk is risk no matter how many preventative measures you take.
However, I suspect that the sinking feeling you may have seeing your rankings fall when you do the right thing is more honorable than the feeling you’ll have knowing you flew too close to the sun.
If you’ve built a website that focused on the user, you didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, keep going. If an algorithm update devastates your rankings, an algorithm update can also boost them too if you focus on user value and growth. I’m not always that optimistic, but I strongly believe that after being in the SEO business for over a decade.
Ultimately, SEO is about finding untapped value of searches for your industry, developing content that drives value to your unique business, and expressing that value before, during, and after the website experience.
Therefore, at all times, regardless of the algorithm
- Develop a long-term SEO plan
- Maintain realistic expectations
- Stay the course
- Continue to build website equity
- Worry about algorithm updates
- Believe all SEO hype
- Sacrifice your values or ethics