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Godzilla Speaks! Google Has Changed the Rules Again and You’d Better Listen

May 25, 2012 · 11 comments

in Search Engine Marketing, SEO

Let’s face it, Google is a monster. It is a beast that controls 80% of search engine activity. It’s not the 800 pound gorilla, it’s Godzilla. When it talks…

GODZILLA DID WHAT?

Godzilla and GoogleOnce again Google has changed the playing field and this time it’s a little scary.

· In March, Google de-indexed some very high-profile blog networks including the now infamous BuildMyRank blog network. Subsequently, up to a million websites received “unnatural link warnings.”

· In late April, we were introduced to the new Google webspam algorithm (Penguin Update), which appears to be a hard line offensive intended to root out spammy tactics such as keyword stuffing, link spam, and spun content.

· Matt Cutts rocked our world explaining the changes as, “We try to make the GoogleBot smarter, we try to make our relevance more adaptive…and then we also start to look at the people who sort of abuse it, whether they throw too many keywords on the page, or they exchange way too many links, or whatever they are doing to sort of go beyond what a normal person would expect in a particular area.”

“Too many keywords?” “Exchange way too many links?” Yikes, that’s what SEO has always been about. We understand when Google jumps on spammy sites, machine-generated/altered and extremely low quality content–that’s just rooting out the cheaters–but “too many keywords?”

That’s the world we live in. Just like any other adverse market condition, small businesses have to adapt. Google owns the game and we have to play by Google’s rules. So where do we go from here?

DIVERSIFY!

For small businesses to optimize their search engine marketing, they must take a diversified approach. The old expression “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies here. If your SEM efforts have been overly focused on link-building, it’s time to rethink and reposition your plan. Begin with a new focus on these four strategies:

1. Generate buzz

Get involved with associations, write guest blogs, participate in forums with industry experts, nurture and publish customer reviews. Work toward building a market “presence;” create a buzz about yourself and what you do.

2. Think “Education”

Google wants web content that is end-user focused. That means that it is educational or in some way enhances the end-user’s experience. Every business has something valuable to share with potential customers. Consider: Plumbers can make a DIY how-to video; accountants can describe a recent change to the tax code that might save readers money; dentists can discuss new technologies. Offer knowledge; that has great value in the Google universe.

3. Develop content that builds links naturally

Natural links developed from thoughtful, high quality, educational information. Add a touch of humor, provocation and controversy to draw more attention to your content.

4. Add new online marketing tactics such as social media and email marketing

Some small businesses shun social media (irrelevant!) and email marketing (old school!). Social media is a legitimate marketing outlet as proven by the constant repetition in the media and print: “Join us on Facebook.” Customers look to social media for validation, special offers, directions, references and reviews. That social media can provide quality backlinks is important too. And how anyone can dismiss email marketing when just about everyone carries a smartphone 24/7 and checks email incessantly…

These tactics are not so much new as nuanced. Shift your emphasis slightly from marketing to educating and diversification will come naturally. And, you will find your small business on the right side of SEO—and Google.

THE BEAST IS STILL ANGRY

Google updates and algorithm changes will keep coming. No doubt about it. While Google often changes the rules of SEO, it has remained consistent in its objective: that the search experience of its customers is accurate, effective and pleasant and that every Google search returns quality content and links. Focusing on high-quality content is what made Google number one and Google is sticking with the formula.

The world of SEM is alive. It is constantly changing and evolving and the marketing strategies of small businesses must too. Google is a big, big ship so when there is a small adjustment to the rudder you’d better be ready to move—fast. A smart, nimble, diversified and aggressive SEM strategy will put you in the best position to navigate through whatever Google throws at us next.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chadrack May 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Hi Dr. Stetzer,

I cannot agree with more! This is real good advice for small business marketers. Unfortunately many have been led to believe that using networks to build links is the way to go. I’m one who agrees with Google all the way. We have seen too many bad dealings out there. The internet is for information if you are ready to provide that then don’t start a website. Consumers wants to be educated, do it well and you will be the winner.

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Adam May 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Right.. This is where things were over the last few years. But as with any big Google algo change, your overall SEO thinking needs to be updated too. It’s time to think a little bigger and get more creative. Many are using Social Media for this – which is a perfect fit when you are trying to update your SEO strategies.

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walter daniels May 26, 2012 at 1:15 am

The truth is that I’ve been waiting for this to happen. SEO is *not* stuff the page full of every “keyword” that might be as little as 10% relevant. SEO, done right, uses the “keyword(s)” that fit your business.
If someone has to say. “Huh?” It means that you’re keyword stuffing. IOW that means if you use a keyword or words, they had better fit what you do. Either generate more content, using legitimate words, or stop doing it.
There is only one way to generate honest back links. It’s called making real comments, and posting on other people’s sites. It’s time for the dishonest to “kwitcher bellyachin” and start doing it right. If you can’t won’t, good bye, so long, it _hasn’t been good to know you. That may sound harsh, but it’s meant to.
For too D*** long, dishonesty has been the hall mark of people doing business in “Internet Marketing (IM),” or “Marketing on the Internet.”
No one being hurt, is doing it the right (honest) way. There is no “magic bullet.” It takes slow, slogging work, just like it does in every other endeavor. The only honest, “overnight successes,” got there by working their b—s off, doing it the right way. After a long time in the dark, they “get found.” It’s the only way that really works.
If you think I’m wrong, tell me how, and show me. IOW, prove it.

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Adam May 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I agree… People need to think a little more about educating and less about marketing. Ironically, as soon as you do that – you’ll find that your SEO is moving faster than when you were focused on marketing messages… Ironic, but true.

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Andy Xhignesse May 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Hi Adam and thanks for the great post, I too agree and, based on the comments so far it would seem like we’re all singing from the same song sheet. Unfortunately I hear far too often from companies who have been ‘wooed’ to the dark side and have ended up suffering in the long term. What initially seemed to be a panacea turned into a nightmare…often with considerable expense attached.

At IME we counsel clients that there needs to be an integrated inbound approach and certainly SEO is a key part of the overall program, but as you have suggested in your post that an SEO strategy that involves a variety of components, we believe that internet marketing involves a similar variety, but perhaps more importantly, an integrated approach that allows all of the core elements to communicate with each other. In this way the data captured has meaning in the context of overall business growth, allowing the end user to effectively evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

Again, I really appreciate the piece you’ve put together here, I hope that many are listening!
Andy Xhignesse recently posted..12 Compelling Reasons Your Company Needs An Inbound Marketing PlanMy Profile

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Dave May 31, 2012 at 10:56 pm

It does make sense that this is the way Google wants to go. Honestly, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as relevancy is Google’s bread and butter when it comes to advertising. The sites that are contributing to the usefulness of the web are going to shine with the new updates.

Produce quality content = Produce quality SEO results

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airbrushaction June 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

blocking buildmyrank was insane .. I mean it is quite a good way of building backlinks where you have to submit quality content and it gets approved by the human readers .. So i dont think banning that is quite wise.. what ya think?
airbrushaction recently posted..Save Big! Trick or Treat from Airbrush ActionMy Profile

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