The Winds of SEO Change

I’d known for some time the the right way to do SEO was changing. When I say the right way, I mean the way that is going to be the most effective at achieving better search engine rankings, the way that Google ‘wants’ it done. Actually, that’s not strictly accurate as Google would have us believe that they don’t want us doing any kind of SEO at all. The websites that get to the top of the search engine rankings will simply be the ones the have the freshest and best, relevant content –  a sort of survival of the digital fittest.

But whether Google and the other search engines like it or not, you’d have to be a pretty naive individual to believe that businesses and website owners are happy to simply let the secretive algorithms decide whether their site/business thrives or dies – most businesses acknowledge that some kind of SEO is necessary, and if they want it to be effective, it needs to be the right kind of SEO.

What’s the right kind? Well, it’s the SEO that replicates the kind of results Google et al might expect to see if optimisers didn’t interfere, and the popularity of websites was simply left up to the web and it’s users to decide. That means things like deep-linking, link diversity, and anchor text diversity, instead of hundreds and thousands of backlinks, all for the same keyword, all pointing to a site’s homepage – which is anything but natural looking.

As well as ‘natural-looking’ SEO, there is also the need to provide the search engines with quality content, regularly updated. Google has only gotten smarter at determining what is relevant and interesting content and the kind of information that it should be showing Internet users. Gone are the days where spammy sites with auto-generated content ruled the rankings. No matter how good the SEO is, if the content on the page isn’t up to scratch, then a site’s rankings are only going one way.

Our quality approach has combined these two fundamental features of good SEO – natural-looking optimisation and great quality content, and has seen success for ourselves and our clients. But the internet (and more specifically Google) stand still for no man, and it seems that only in the last couple of days the world’s biggest search engine has provided another example of how quickly things can change.

Just yesterday, shortly after Matt Cutts announced that Google was actively targeting private blog networks, the search engine de-indexed virtually all the blogs in the Build My Rank network – which had been one of the most popular and effective backlinking services on the net. For those who don’t know much about BMR or other backlinking services, they are essentially a huge private network of blogs that you pay for the privilege of posting your content to and linking back to your site – increasing the number and diversity of backlinks and hopefully a site’s search engine rankings.

You could argue that these are effectively paid links, and Google has always frowned on this type of SEO so this could be expected, but the speed with which this  happened, and the extent to which Google was able to ‘turn off’ one of the net’s most popular backlinking services, is what’s really raised a few eyebrows. It also begs the question, who’s next? If Google has declared war on private blog networks and over-optimised sites, there could be thousand, if not millions of sites whose rankings could fall literally overnight.

Of course, the effect these changes will have on each site depends on the SEO practices and techniques the individual webmasters have been using. Put all your eggs in one basket and just use one or two backlinking services and you could be heading for a fall. Take a more ‘quality’ approach and provide good quality, relevant information, on well-built sites that use only natural-looking optimisation techniques – like we do – and you should have any thing to worry about; in fact, with the motivation for everything Google does being to provide better content, you’re likely to benefit.

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