According to Moz, Google changes its algorithm 500-600 times per year.
Essentially, this means the landscape of the most popular search engine changes daily. And if you don’t live and breathe SEO, it can drive you nuts.
That’s why I’ve compiled a handy little list of search engine friendly tactics you can implement from here on out without worry. From now until the end of time – or the end of the Internet (God, please no!) – use these tactics to stay on top of your competition.
#1: Write for People. Not Google. Once upon a time, web writers wrote for Google in hopes of ranking higher, paying more attention to keywords than people. And their websites did rank higher – until they didn’t rank at all. Write with the intention of making an impression on people – not search engines – and you’ll never have to worry about the next Panda rollout.
#2: Build Rapport. Not Links. An outside link directed at your website counts for nothing if no one clicks on it; and the only time people click on links is when they form a relationship with the content. Once a relationship is formed, links in various types of off-site content (guest blog posts, Google+ posts, Facebook posts, etc.) become appealing. With rapport, links act as gateways to opportunity – not manipulative keyword-laden anchor text designed to traffic “link juice.”
#3: Give. Don’t Get. Take it from Bob Burg, author of The Go-Giver – a man who has acquired wealth and success through giving rather than getting. While Burg is not an SEO specialist, I think he would agree that giving information via online content and opportunities via social media contests are more effective than saying “please like this” and “please retweet that.” This falls in line with the first law in The Go-Giver, the Law of Value that states “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.” Offer value and you’ll receive more “likes,” “tweets,” and “traffic” than you would otherwise. And in effect, the worth of your website will soar.
#4: Code Like a Minimalist. For search engines, the simpler the code, the better. This doesn’t mean your website should be bare text. Not in the slightest. People respond to attractive design and are more likely to stay on a pretty page than a bland one. What having simple code does mean, however, is having a page that only has what it needs to function properly. So, for instance, after doing some development work on an existing page, make sure you “sweep up” any code left behind from the previous design. It will make your page load faster and make your page as appealing to search bots as it is to eyes of your visitors.
#5: Use Google Authorship Everywhere. You would attach your name to an article published in print, right? So why aren’t you taking credit for content published online? If you write and publish content online, attach a face to pages that come up in Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs). One web content publisher reported a 35% increase in traffic after experimenting with his Google+ profile image – the image that appears next to your link in Google SERPs after authorship is added. Thirty-five percent. That’s monumental.
Now, as I reflect on this list after reading it just like you have, I realize some things:
- I realize search engines – specifically, Google – is more human than ever.
- I realize webmasters with hearts void of “rank seduction” are the masters behind websites listed on page one of SERPs.
- And finally, I realize manipulators will perish and people-focused people will prevail.
It all sound so human, right?
Which is why I can’t come up with a cheesier and more honest way to end this post than to say, “Go human, or go home.”
Moz, creator of popular SEO tools like Open Site Explorer (tracks links pointing to websites) and MozBar (ranks websites’ authority), does more than create amazing tools that make the lives of website owners and online marketers easy. Moz also hosts an amazing resource that helps you understand every important Google update and algorithm change made since the year 2000.
If you already know Moz, you may already be familiar with the resource I’m about to spill. But if you don’t know Moz, or just use it for its awesome (partially-free) SEO tools, you’re going to love me for sharing this with you:
With the Change History tool, Moz provides a history of Google updates and algorithm changes from 2000 to present, offering brief descriptions and one or two links to highly informative articles on the subject. These articles are by trusted sources like the Google Press Blog, Search Engine Land and Moz contributors themselves.
Read through this entire list and I guarantee you you’ll become more Google savvy than 90% of people who own and operate websites. Do a little each night or breeze through it all in one sitting. Trust me, the investment of time is worth it if you’re serious about getting found on Google and understanding the search engine landscape better.
And rest assured, this isn’t a boring list. Google, as a company that’s passionate about delivering the best search results, has quite a number of updates that will amuse you and, at the same time, make you feel good about relying on it so heavily.
One update I came across that made me especially proud to be a Google freak was the “Payday Loan” Update. This update targeted the Internet’s “spammiest” queries – those related to payday loans and pornography. According to an article by Search Engine Land, “this update impacted roughly 0.3% of the U.S. queries, but went as high as 4% for Turkish queries where Web spam is typically higher.”
And with an average of 5-plus billion searches per day, that 0.3% accounts for about 150 million daily searches.
Right now, you may be asking “Rob, why didn’t you just share this Change History via Twitter, Facebook and Google+? The link to the Moz page would have sufficed.”
Well, for one, I love talking to you; and two, I also wanted to share this handy Google Search Timeline with you.
In my opinion, if you’re interested in learning the most you can about Google in as little time as possible, this chart and the Moz Change History are the only things you need to study.
Learn more about Google and, in turn, rule the web more effectively. Remember, Google is how you get found. So it’s worth investigating how you get found (repeated phrase intended).