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Search engine optimization meaning, what is the magic behind SEO, and what SEO means today for web designs? The focus of this blog surrounds these questions. Google had to change and adapt to maintain its large spot as the number one search provider on the world-wide-web. And to do that, it had to play hardball on those website owners who were playing it and penalize sites that were cheating to get to the top spot.
How did Google get around its objective? It did this by looking for obviously ‘spammy’ strategies and de-indexing the responsible sites or downgrading them. Therefore, sites with keywords in their URL no longer enjoyed the same advantage.
Also, websites with vast numbers of inbound links from low-quality websites were de-indexed. Websites caught buying links were de-indexed. It tastes that stuffed keywords are severely punished. Sites that have lots of backlinks with the same anchor text were also treated as highly suspect.
Meanwhile, Google started to show preference toward longer sites, linked out to other quality resources (which previously would have hurt your SEO), and more. These changes came in the form of algorithm updates that had recognizable animal names and got a lot of press from the internet marketing community.
These were ‘penguin,’ which was designed to reduce the effectiveness of unnatural backlinks, and ‘panda,’ which was designed to favor sites that looked high quality. Google doesn’t want a website owner to be able to climb its SERPs artificially. Instead, Google wants websites to climb the ranks only when genuinely valuable and popular with the audience.
The Internet powerhouse Google wants to see natural, organic links that you haven’t paid for, and it wants to see reliable, relevant, and exciting content. The old techniques once used to spam Google became known as ‘black hat SEO,’ and the industry entered a dark period. Also, the website’s content, which doesn’t fall into Google’s webmaster guidelines, is all hit with Manual Spam Action.
It isn’t at all typical to get a manual spam action. Google, for some reason, took notice of your website, and an actual person reviewed the site and determined that you’ve done something against Google’s guidelines.
Here is what’s written in Google’s Webmaster Tool. “Google issues a manual action against a site when a human reviewer at Google has determined that pages on the site are not compliant with Google’s webmaster quality guidelines. Most manual actions address attempts to manipulate our search index. Most issues reported here will result in pages or sites being ranked lower or omitted from search results without any visual indication to the user.”
“If your site is affected by a manual action, we will notify you in the Manual Actions report and the Search Console message center.”
It’s hard to overstate just what an impact these algorithm changes had on the SEO industry at the time – and on countless other industries as well. These changes ended up completely de-indexing massive websites overnight. Sites that had followed conventional wisdom to get to the top spot on popular SERPs were now completely de-indexed, cutting off the vast majority of their traffic and sales.
Therefore, this led many to proclaim that SEO was dead. It was no longer possible to game the system because you would be penalized for buying links or stuffing keywords. And even if someone could break Google’s new algorithm and work out a new way to game the system, it would only be a matter of time until Google changed its algorithms again.
The industry was in trouble, and SEO became a dirty word, and many people felt that SEO and black hat SEO were synonymous. And more and more people began to turn to social media marketing, with the likes of Facebook and Twitter massively on the rise.
Not at all – it was just going through a metamorphosis. SEO is not the technique we use to get our sites to the top of Google, and SEO is merely the objective of getting to the top of Google. Any method you use to try and get more attention from Google could be considered SEO.
So, if Google wants us to create a ‘high-quality website,’ then ‘creating a high-quality website’ becomes SEO.
The hard part is just unraveling what Google’s idea of a high-quality website should look like to us!
For example, keyword research is still useful, but we now know that Google doesn’t want us to overstuff our website with those search terms. Instead, the recommendation hovers at around 1-2% keyword density. If you write a long article and include the search term a few times, that should be enough as long as it’s also in your code a little or in your file name.
It’s also worth noting that Google looks for keywords in specific places in your content and gives those extra value. Google will consider it a healthy sign if you use your keywords in the first paragraph of your content.
Google also looks for synonyms though and related language, which we’ll discuss more in this article. And it no longer cares how many links you can get – it bothers far more about how high quality those links are. If your links are from lots of highly trusted websites, then you’ll find it does great things for your ranking. Google is also now looking at things like bounce rates – how long someone spends on your website. And it looks at how your site renders on mobile and how quickly it loads.
You can now get penalized for typos and mistakes. And Google is now looking at social sharing signs. If you have lots of ‘+1s’ from Google+, for example, then this can have a large positive impact. In short, Google is looking for signs of quality, relevance, and great design. Google does not care about you as a content creator. You are not Google’s customer! Google’s customer is the end-user who searches for a keyphrase because they want to get relevant information or find the answer to a question.
Therefore, if you forget the specifics and instead make your aim to deliver high-quality content consistently targeted toward one specific matter or subject, you will then see your aligned goals aligned with Google’s own. Doing things right, Google will then want to share your content with its users. And it says that each update and change that Google makes should benefit you as a creator. Again this is what good SEO is about today! Forget trying to ‘trick’ Google; and instead, think about your users and think about working with Google!