Do you cringe at every rumor of a Google SEO ranking update? Are you worried that your website will suddenly fall from page one of Google? The good news is you’re not alone. Confirm this yourself and witness the burst of comments spawned from each Google ranking update. For example, take a look at a recent SEO ranking update announced (via Twitter) by Matt Cutts. Jump over to the YouTube page and you’ll see even more comments. These are website owners, like you, who want to know how safe their page one Google ranking is.
What’s the bad news? I’m not sure you’re ready for the blunt reality, but by thinking like that: you are on the wrong side of SEO.
Anxiously awaiting each SEO ranking update means you are playing defense like SEO is a game. SEO is not a competitive sport for betting on the odds; SEO is a business with principles to learn and refine. Sorry folks, but real search engine optimization is growing into a professional business. Google’s SEO ranking rules aren’t drastically changing, they are simply locking down Google’s business expectations for quality.
Google “Worthy” Quality
Let’s pretend that you are suddenly missing the part of your brain responsible for your definition of quality. Now that you are fully lobotomized, your SEO training can begin. Before you get offended, keep in mind (no pun intended) that you need to completely remove your personal definition of quality and replace it with Google’s quality guidelines.
Before we begin, or before you dodge the SEO lobotomy and click away, here are:
3 Evergreen SEO Resources to Bookmark Now
Official Google history and outlines for understanding how their search engine works.
Official Google SEO guidelines, including their search engine optimization starter guide.
Unofficial, but cited, timeline of Google’s algorithm changes from 2000 to current.
What does Google consider to be quality content?
There you go thinking like a person again. The Google computer algorithms don’t “consider” quality – they systematically survey, classify and categorize internet data. Your website is no exception. Just because you post original content, doesn’t mean your pages are seen as unique in the robotic eyes of a Googlebot.
Quality extends beyond simply being original; it also relies heavily on comparison. You can create a page of original content that Google will quickly decline as just more of the same. This is because of a Google initiative nicknamed QDF for “query deserves freshness.” This concept of quality has been around since at least 2007, and this New York Times article discusses the origin of QDF.
“He (Amit Singhal, Google) then unveiled his team’s solution: a mathematical model that tries to determine when users want new information and when they don’t.”
Basically, Google wants every user query to display unique results relevant to user intent. If content on your page is too similar to other pages (including external and internal pages), your page doesn’t pass the freshness test. Your page needs unique content that also stands out from other search results. Basically, don’t mimic your page-one neighbors too closely.
Are you worthy of a user query?
Remember, organic search traffic is Google’s traffic, not yours. Organic traffic means that users visit Google first, search for what they want, and then Google recommends results to them. If Google offers bad results, the user judges Google, not you. Sure, you may get a boost in traffic, but it’s not traffic relevant to your landing page (or even your business at all).
You can research keywords and think you find easy targets, but are they targets worth aiming for? Think about how Googlebot may classify your website if you rank on page one for a misleading string of keywords. Google judges your site by how accurately your content matches your visitors. Page one brings you traffic, but if traffic bounces quickly away, Google sees that something is wrong. Is the user wrong for how they search, or is your position on page one wrong for the user?
For the long run, you should only attempt to be on page one for a keyword if your content serves searchers of that specific query. If you don’t know why you rank there already, don’t fret when it’s taken away. SEO is a business after all. Google is in the business of improving (or systematically perfecting) user search results. The professional business of Search Engine Optimization is accurately presenting relevant quality content to Google.
Don’t take the bad news so hard.
SEO takes time to learn, but you have good teachers available to you. Seattle SEO Consultant understands the business of SEO and how to meet Google quality guidelines. You can get a free 30 minute consultation now and talk with us about getting to page one and staying there.