I’m going to let you in on a little SEO secret – Google doesn’t really care whether your website succeeds or not. Believe it or not (as hard as it is to hear) Google’s business is NOT to help your business do well online. Google’s business is the organization, storage, and reporting of information. Your website and SEO efforts actually help Google do their job of presenting the most relevant search results to their users. If your website gives Google a better product than your success is a side – effect of what they offer their customer base. At the end of the day, Google is looking to provide the best product possible – does your website meet the criteria?
The Google ranking algorithm has 200+ factors in it, some of which we can and some of which we can’t control. One of those influencing factors is inbound links. For a long time, the quantity of links was what mattered the most, so site owners would head to “the dark corners of the web” to build as many links as quickly and as cheaply as possible in an attempt to show value to the search engines. Here’s what Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting said about dark corner link building in a recent interview;
For a long time, building crappy links worked really well for people. An entire industry developed around link manipulation just to fool search engines. People launched crappy article directories, crappy regular directories, and crappy blogs just to sell links to people who wanted to improve their search rankings.
In addition, the culture has been that Google is the enemy, and doing anything to take advantage of them was fair game. I don’t believe in those things myself, and bought my last link in 2004, but, for those who believed that Google was evil, doing anything they wanted to improve their search rankings was OK.
As Eric pointed out, an entire industry was built around the idea that Google was the enemy and if they could mess with your site’s well – being than site owners had every right to exploit the loopholes in the algorithm for their own advantage. It’s the better mousetrap, smarter mouse mentality.
And as a site owner myself I can completely understand why a site owner would feel that way and be tempted to invest in the black hat techniques that are designed to manipulate the search engines and circumvent the algorithm in their favor. If Google isn’t going to spell out exactly what they want from us as site owners than why shouldn’t we take every opportunity we come across? If other sites are doing it (and profiting from it) why can’t I?
But here’s the thing – Google, although maybe not as helpful as you would like them to be, is not out to “get” you or your website. The search giant is not looking for ways to personally attack and penalize your website and in my experience site owners that claim to have been unfairly penalized by the Panda and Penguin updates and actually were 100% innocent are few and far between. I think a big problem, something else that Eric also pointed out in his interview, is that a lot of site owners simply aren’t away that some of the SEO tactics that are employing could potentially hurt their website in the long run. Yes, there are indeed spammers out there looking to manipulate the search algorithm but I would bet for the most part the majority of site owners, especially small business owners, are doing the best they can with the SEO knowledge they’ve picked up over time from a variety of sources. Sometimes the gaps in their knowledge led them astray and they take the wrong approach with their SEO.
The thing to remember is that most of the times, it’s not a human being that is evaluating your website; it’s an algorithm which is really nothing more than a math equation. An SEO professional might be able to look at your SEO program and say “Ok, I get what you were trying to do here and I know it’s not malicious but this actually should work this wayâ€¦” The algorithm can’t see your intent; it can only judge you by your actions, which leaves little room for interpretation. You built spammy links or you didn’t; you have duplicated content or you don’t.
For the most part it is a Google world and we all live in it. That means that if you want to succeed in the long term it’s better to play by the rules (as best as you can) that Google puts down. It can be frustrating, annoying and confusing but just remember that Google is not the enemy, even if they aren’t the best ally! Google just wants to produce the best possible product for their customers just like you or I want to.
About the Author
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Boston – based SEO solutions company Brick Marketing (http://www.brickmarketing.com). With over 13 years of SEO experience Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by hosting SEO workshops and trainings, writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 120,000 opt – in subscribers.
Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or email@example.com