I have just read a thread on an SEO blog where the contributors were bemoaning the fact that their websites had lost some significant google position for their search terms, tying it back to some changes that had been made to the pagerank algorithm a month or so back.
This is tough, really tough, for many website owners, but what they seemed to be disregarding is the fact that search engines are there to deliver the most relevant results for the people doing the searching and not for the companies with products and services to sell. This means changing algorithms from time to time to try to improve this relevance, and to take account of the ever growing quantity and varying quality of material published. This naturally upsets those whose websites lose position, but pleases others whose sites leap ahead.
Considering the growth in website publishing over the past couple of years, it must surely be incredibly difficult for the search engines to judge the best and most appropriate content to return to searchers. After all, nearly all of us publish to the web each and every day now – and that rate is increasing exponentially from all directions; and it’s happening around the clock due to mobile accessibility and scheduled publishing too. Search engines will lose their dominant positions unless they change – so we cannot blame them.
But where does this leave the poor website owner who changes his site based on recommendations he reads on expert blogs or by talking to SEO guru’s, only to find that by the time the changes have been made and have settled down the whole process appears to change again?
Looking at these various expert forums on the subject of search traffic (and how to get loads of it) my mind goes back to my early schooldays on the football field. You remember? Someone kicks the ball to the other side of the pitch and the entire 22 players chase it down. Then it gets kicked to the other side of the pitch and everyone chases after it again. These days, the most successful teams are the ones that adopt the best and most consistent long-term strategy, getting their players to work in specific positions, playing a strong game for 90 minutes and not getting sidetracked by the odd goal scored against them. Working like this week in week out they will lose the odd game, but they are more likely to win the title.
Applying this analogy to your website you should be (and should always have been)…
- publishing the most appropriate content for type of visitor that you want to attract
- making it absolutely clear on the site what you offer them, how it will benefit them, and how they can get it
- adopting best practice with regard to ‘good seo’ – correctly using page title and heading tags, attributes for images, making your urls search engine friendly, having a keyword relevant domain name, getting good quality backlinks, correctly judging keyword densities etc.
- avoiding poor practice such as keyword stuffing, hard-to-index pages etc
- letting others know you have published (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.)
Search engines are on your side in this – they will only survive and thrive if they can consistently deliver the search results that customers find useful (based on the terms they are searching for). Chasing each and every sniff of updated algorithm is unlikely to be of value,as many changes will be, at best, misunderstood, and at worst, completely invalid, and will detract you from your business of building the most appropriate website for the people you want to engage with.
So stop chasing that ball and get on with winning the league!