Google animals run wild
Then along came Panda. Why does Google choose the names of fauna for their updates? Here apparently is the answer:
Believe it or not, Google named the 2011 quality update “Panda”, not after the endangered animal, but after one of the engineers responsible for the algorithmic breakthrough – Navneet Panda. It’s unclear how they came up with the name for the over-optimization update of 2012, but it seems they just decided to stick with the animals starting with the letter “P”, and so the Penguin was born…. er, hatched.
This Google algorithm update in February 2011 banished low quality sites from the Google realm. Penguin, released in April 2012, then went to town on sites that boosted their rankings with the use of dubious linking methods (content farms and the like). They also targeted keyword stuffing – which is exactly what you imagine i.e inelegantly cramming keywords into your posts – and duplicate content (using the same or similar content in your site again and again).
This is why SEO providers which offer “affordable SEO” supplying backlinks and developing comments should now be avoided more than ever. Be careful of anyone who does not have legitimate industry experience and keep an eye on their geographical location – I think it is best to deal with a domestic provider, although many Indian (as an example) companies do great work. As a rule, you will get what you pay for.
Quick change algorithms
The good boffins down Hubspot estimate that Google changes it’s algorithms 550 times a year (!!!). I don’t know how this is possible, because it suggests some very dedicated algorithmic-centric (obsessed) people at Google are tweaking their backsides off ten times a day seven days a week. This should at the least make it clear that you have no control over the situation. As the Buddhists have known for eons, sometimes it’s best to accept the relentlessness of change and let it all go – in other words, resistance is futile.
It does serve to again prove the point that good online writing, especially reader-oriented articles that are genuinely helpful, have a very long shelf life and represent a far better place to invest your energies. And honestly, if you concentrate on rankings, which are subject to fluctuations for reasons beyond your control, it really will drive you crazy! But worse, it detracts from the main game, and for professionals that is enhanced client relationships. For smaller and mature professionals, it is only content marketing that both helps your clients and helps your rankings.
Why should you care?
Look, if you are a regular reader it’s more than likely you are a mature professional, the principal in a small professional firm, or both. So the question you are entitled to ask is, “should I care about any of this stuff?” The easy answer is no. If you are a professional with a small firm (that’s most professionals in Australia) then you already know what your clients want – good information and good service. For you, good content is good SEO. So stay right away from the SEO hucksters who promise the world but will more likely see you penalized by Google.
Which means that there is essentially good news for smaller professional firms in all of this. You already know what drives business your way – it’s word of mouth. And the drivers or word of mouth are well known – the extra effort that enhances client relationships; the means to broadcast a reputation based on earned trust; giving clients an holistic experience, including added value information or appropriate referrals to other professionals; plain English information that makes the decision-making process much easier and promotes trust; exceeding client expectations.
In Part Four I’ll look at the good news in all of this for mature professionals and smaller professional firms.
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