Whenever Google announces a new algorithm update or change in guidelines, there are two typical reactions from site owners. Fear or fiddle sticks.
A quick look at threads in Webmasterworld and Cre8asiteforums illustrate the Google Game. The game is a combination of Simon Says and Red Light, Green Light. When Google says, “Don’t buy links”, there’s a massive scramble of panicked site owners trying to hide months of costly investments in buying high PR links. When Matt Cutts announces a new algorithm enhancement to take advantage of, everyone takes a step forward. If that algorithm change is intended to clean up old SEO tactics that no longer work, everyone takes a step backwards.
Monkey in the Middle is another popular Google Game. Have you received an email request to remove links from your blog or web site? This game never ends. No matter what type of Internet Marketing technique is applied to web sites, sooner or later Google will start hitting you with kick balls of new rules and reasons to tag you for doing whatever it is you are doing to perform better in their search engine.
Google Says Put Your Hands on Your Head
The trick to the Simon Says game is to call out demands quickly and always precede them with “Simon Says”. The moment “Simon Says” is not said is when a portion of players will still carry out the demand, even though they didn’t have to. This is why web site owners are so fed up with Google. The search engine changes its rules frequently. Unless you stay on top of these updates or pay someone to do it for you, there’s a good chance you are applying old practices that no longer work or can get your web site into trouble.
Whisper Down the Lane is a childhood game that thrives in the web site design and marketing industries. For example, a long time ago someone suggested that search engines use links to tell them a story about a web page. A link to a site meant a referral. A link was a generous tip to a good writer. The first links were innocent connections between friends or admirers referring sites they found helpful to their own.
It didn’t take long for friendly linking to become a way to outwit search engines. Links became math scores with metrics tied to them, as well as money. Linking grew into a global marketing strategy that took on a life of its own. Suddenly there were no ethics or ground rules for linking. Today there are two key approaches to getting good link nourishment for web sites. One is to establish credible relationships with leading web sites. The other is to “Disavow” all links and pretend nothing ever happened.
When I was young I had a next door neighbor who taught Sunday and Bible school and was my Brownie Leader. Her name was June and I loved one particular game she played with us, called Bear Hunt. It started off with “We’re going on a bear hunt…” and for the next 20 minutes or so she would lead us on great journey where we crawled through fields, swam in rivers, went over and under bridges, and as we met and tackled each obstacle in our path, we were instructed to make noises and act out each one. We’d “swish swish”, move our arms like we were swimming, stomp on the bridge and scream like crazy when we found the bear and it started to chase us. June would lead us on a frenzied rush to escape the bear by repeating everything we just did, only backwards. By the time we were safely “home”, we were all giggling and breathless.
The Bear Hunt game took time. A really good hunt took patience to go through each step. We were told to stop and look around before taking the next step. This is the ultimate key to playing the Google Game. It takes patience to rank high in search engine results and a plan to remain there that includes stopping to look around and checking data. Every search engine marketing company has had the screaming client who reached the top, only to fall and back track in a frantic race to go back and see what went wrong.
How to Win the Google Game
No matter what game we play, the objective is to win. Have you ever played a game where someone keeps insisting on new rules? This is what every web site owner puts up with when they want their web site to perform well in search engines.
Have you ever played a game or sport where you didn’t like your coach? Something about them made you cautious. Many times we’re stuck with a bad coach or teacher. To win the Google Game, you must pick the right coach and do whatever it takes to get one that has the correct game plan for your web site. You want to hire a company that has your best interests in mind, will never take any risks that might hurt your reputation and relationship with search engines and most important, an established leader with the ability to bring in any techniques that will meet your web site goals.
This is where you must stop and think about your next move. What is the leading clue for high rank that Google looks for in a web site above all else? Is it PR score? No. Is it inbound links? No. Is it article submissions to directories? Blog comments with links to your site? The number of directories the site is listed in? No to all of these. What Google is looking for are web sites that people like to use.
Web site owners can improve their site rank in search engine results by creating high-quality sites that their visitors will want to use and share. There is no other technique stronger or more accurate than this and to be frank, this has always been the key marketing driving force. Expert marketers know this and combine usability, persuasive design, information architecture, organic SEO, quality linking, expert content writing, and smartly targeted social networking strategies all into one giant ultimate winning process. Some of them have to do the Bear Hunt going backwards to get a fresh start on a new hunt for success.
Do you want to play the Google Game? Choose your team with care. To win this game your web site design has to pass usability standards, be designed for strong conversions and make an impact on your visitors so they will refer it and return again. Most web sites are not ready to play with Google.
A usability and conversions web site review by Internet Marketing Ninjasis a critical piece of the entire marketing services packages. Start here if you want to win.