There has been a lot of talk about Google's algorithm changes recently, and it seems most of it has leaned toward the negative. Nobody likes change (especially me with my OCD tendencies), but I think algorithm changes are a positive.
The job of the search engines: There is one main job for search engines, and that is to provide the most relevant content possible for their users. Despite Google's 14 years of advancing its search algorithms, search queries remain anything but perfect. You can still search for shoes and get blenders, and although it will never be perfect, advancements in technology are increasing the odds of your search queries getting more accurate. The more accurate a search engine is versus the competition, the more market share it will attract.
How do you deal with changes? You worry less about what they are changing and worry more about “why” they are changing, and that is to increase search success.
Here are five things you can focus on to help your SEO results improve now and in the future.
1. Don't spam: Search engines have never liked spammers, and neither should you. You are better off not using meta tags than to have them cluttered with keywords. If you use meta tags, keep the keywords under eight and don't list words that aren't even in your content. Also, be careful how many times you are sticking keywords into your content. Search engines are looking for articles with the most relevant content to the search query, not, “Oh, this article has six keywords versus this other that has seven, so it must not be as relevant.”
2. Strategize first, write second: I am a big fan of researching keywords BEFORE any content is written, not after. That way your content has a better chance of being more natural than when keywords are just thrown in there at the end. The better the content, the more likely it will be shared on social media, which also helps your search results. Today, I knew I was going to try to target Google algorithm changes before I wrote even a single word.
3. Social: A great way for search engines to help determine content relevancy and quality is by the amount of sharing divided by the amount of traffic. So it might be cool if an article is tweeted 100 times, but if it takes 10,000 views to get there, a search engine might look at that as a negative over an article getting tweeted 100 times with just 1,000 views. Make sure the title of the article is relevant to the content. If the content is good and helpful, people will tweet it. People LOVE to share — it makes them feel helpful and smart.
TIPS to improve sharing: People like to click on social media buttons that have numbers more than the old ones that do not, and social media buttons should be at the end of the article in addition to the top. If they read the content, they are at the bottom and you are making them scroll back up to share it. Lastly, don't be a social media button hoarder. You don't need every social media button out there. Clutter hurts sharing.
4. New content: Content becomes less relevant the older it gets in many cases, so search engines are starting to and will be placing more weight on when the content is published. This is why blogs are so great. You can keep writing articles and creating new content even about the same topics and keywords. Plus, search engines know that people would usually rather read an article out that month, compared to an article out five years ago.
5. Be committed to relevancy: If you are going to target a keyword or phrase, make sure that your content is representing it. I am a firm believer that the title, the URL, and the content should be relevant to the keywords you are targeting, not only for search engine rankings, but for making the traffic useful. Search engine traffic is meaningless if no one is buying anything, contributing to revenue in one way or the other.
At the very least, if you stick with these core principles, your SEO can improve when new algorithms are rolled out versus going the opposite way, whether it is Google or any other search engine that is changing its algorithms.