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Just Say No to Google Algorithm Chasing

By Jill Whalen, 12/8/2003


So I guess the thing on everyone's mind is Google's major change in
algorithm. Many of you have written to ask me my thoughts on this and
what you need to do, etc., etc.

Here's the thing. I don't chase algorithms, and neither should you.
I know, I know, you all want to get the best rankings possible and
have an advantage over your competitors, the easiest and cheapest way
possible, but look what that did for you -- now your site is missing
and your traffic is gone.


How many times do I have to tell you that search engine optimization
is about making your site the best it can be for the long term? It's
not about quick fixes, and it's not about creating your site based on
some formula or the algorithm of the day.


I know you don't spam the engines and you have a great site.


But do you have THE best site in your niche? Or at least one of the
top 10 best sites? Do you, really? What makes yours better than the
other 7 million that sell what you're selling? Oh, yours is better
cuz you put keyword phrases in the Title tag and in the copy. I see.
Yes, that's what I always tell you to do, but if you read what I
write -- really read it -- you will see that I've always said that you
have to go beyond that.


The free ride is officially over.


From now on, you can't just create a site by the book, trade a few
links with friendly competitors and expect to be found in Google for
phrases that are relevant to millions of other sites. If you want to
beat those other sites, you're gonna have to work your butt off.
You're gonna have to live and breathe your Web site. You're gonna
have to start an email newsletter and become an expert in your field.
If not that, then you're gonna have to think of something else that
makes you credible in the eyes of your target audience.


It's all about credibility. And fake credibility (as in reciprocal
linking schemes) is finally a thing of the past. At least until the
scammers figure out a new way to scam.


Links are still important, but we're talking about REAL links. As in
the kind you get just because people like you and your company. What?
You say those aren't given out any more? Oh yes, they most certainly
are. I have hundreds of them pointing to my site, and so do tons of
other sites. The World Wide Web is still alive and well and linking
as much as ever. It's only those of us in the SEO world who think we
have to be cheap with our links cuz we know their value. It's all
about building relationships and learning about real marketing, real
public relations, and real advertising.


Search engine marketing has just grown up.


Things are definitely not all a bed of roses for some sectors. Real
estate agent sites have been crucified by this update, and the same is
true of many other commercial industries. Information sites that just
marginally touch on the topic at hand are showing up first in the
results. But this won't last; the general public won't put up with
that for long. Google still has some tweaking to do. A major shift
in how to rank sites can't be done in a few weeks. There's some
pretty comical stuff showing up for some search queries, and if I know
Google, they're working to fix that asap.


The good news is that all is not lost for you. Even real estate agent
sites are doing fine in the rankings for many keyword phrases, just
not for the big money phrases containing the words "real estate."
There are plenty of other related phrases where agents' sites still
show up. Phrases like "moving to city name" and "city name
relocation" still show plenty of agents' sites when those sites have a
lot of information on them. Real information as in "written off the
top of your head and not copied from somewhere else" information.


Sure, you may have been taken by surprise by this update, but the good
news is that many of those spammy sites we were previously complaining
about have started to disappear. Not sure why Google still can't seem
to get the redirected and/or cloaked sites to disappear for the search
query "email marketing consultant," however. They're still stumped
by
that one, apparently. Oh well. Maybe nobody actually searches on
that phrase but me anyway.


Jill Whalen is a leading search engine optimization consultant and speaker, and owner of High Rankings. The popular High Rankings Advisor newsletter has over 10,000 avid readers, and the High Rankings Forum recently welcomed its 2,500th member. 

 

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