Google’s algorithm changes have kept online marketers on their toes. We chased links, and then we ran from them. We stuffed any and all keywords, and then we turned out nose up if they weren’t of the long-tail variety. We created content, and then Matt Cutts yelled at us.
What worked and what didn’t was a constantly moving, ever changing, target. And, if you were too heavily invested in any one tactic, a change by Google could throw an entire website into a tailspin down the rankings.
But by the end of 2013, things changed.
Complexity Made Simple
Now that the dust has settled from Google’s last update, the picture appearing seems familiar, almost simple. In all of the complexities of Google’s algorithm they seem to have settled on a familiar tune: it’s about marketing.
Google’s focus all along has been to reward good sites, and penalize spammers. It’s just taken them a while to figure out how to do that. Now, it seems, they’ve figured it out.
Instead of ranking with links, keywords, or any other tactic that could be artificially inflated, Google is now rewarding good websites because they’re good.
To prove you’re “good,” you simply need to go back to the basics of marketing.
Have the Goods
With traditional marketing, good brands, with quality features sell more. The same now holds true online. Good sites, with quality content, will get better ranking. Build your site with quality content, offering real value, to real people (not search engines) and you’ll be rewarded by Google.
With traditional marketing, popular brands, that people like, get talked about. The same now hold true online. Popular sites, with strong social interaction, will get better ranking. Link your site to your social platforms and then get active.
Keep in mind that simply sharing your posts, and your landing pages, does not make your website appear popular. Social media is meant to be social. Engage with your followers and fans. Ask questions, answer questions. Share other people’s valuable content.
The more “social” you appear the better. Google will view inactive social platforms tied to your site as an indicator that your site isn’t so popular. And don’t forget to include Google+ in your social media strategy.
With traditional marketing, brands with celebrity endorsements grow fasters. The same now holds true online. Websites sites that are interacting with the cool kids online, will climb the ranks faster.
Interacting with the cool kids can take a couple forms. First, and most obvious is inbound links. Inbound links from a high-ranking website (aka a cool kid) will give your site credibility. But Google is looking at more than just inbound links now. Google also gives you credit if your site is talked about on social media by the cool kids. This means a tweet, a Facebook share a Twitter retweet, from someone with strong social clout will positively affect your status.
Old is New
In each of these trends, and many others, it all comes back to good old marketing. Good products, with good marketing, get good sales. Good sites, with good content, get good ranking.
As it should be.