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Google to Penalize SEO

GoogleNewsAt the SXSW show in Austin, TX Matt Cutts (the head of Google’s webspam team) revealed they’re making changes to their famed “GoogleBot” algorithms regarding SEO.  These changes are intended to “level the playing field” between sites that focus on excessive optimization to achieve strong Google results versus sites that hit Google naturally through strong, relevant content”.

I’d say that Google is at it again but aren’t they always at it?  Search engines and social media are always changing; they are always moving the cheese?

In light of the impending changes, we thought this would be worthwhile story to look into and we spent this week looking around, digging into articles and reading tons of comments about these changes.  We read the articles, watch the videos, and chatted with other industry professionals to get their take on this development.  We do these things to stay on top of what’s working, what’s not and what’s coming.

HubSpot’s (one of our affiliates) “Google’s Pending Algorithm Update to Penalize Over-optimized Content” article was one of the best we read this week.  But what does that really mean?

Corey Eridon (HubSpot) explained that if your content is driven by topics, you shouldn’t expect to be penalized when the new algorithm update rolls out, even if you do take the time to search engine optimize that content with keywords and relevant links.  The difference between a keyword-driven content strategy and a topic-driven content strategy is that a content strategy is driven by what readers want, not what search engines want, it’s the direction that Google has been actively working toward since last year’s Panda update. So if you’re selecting topics based on what your audience would find helpful, you’re doing content strategy right.  Which is supported Matt Cutts who said, “Make a compelling site. Make a site that’s useful. Make a site that’s interesting. Make a site that’s relevant to people’s interests.

From what we’ve read and heard, a lot of us probably won’t feel the Google SEO pinch unless we’ve participated in and focused on excessive keyword stuffing campaigns, excessive back link campaigns.  This is our opinion and we’ll share more as we learn more.

Business owners and Marketers could also take a cue from Bing’s Duane Forrester, who was on the same panel as Matt Cutts. Duane emphasized the importance of social sharing (which we advocate) as a signal others actually like your content. Last year we noticed search engines starting to index social media and incorporating social signals in their rankings. Forrester asked “Does the rest of the world think you have a great product?  If they do, they will amplify this. If you’re not engaged socially, you’re missing the boat because the conversation is happening socially about you and about your content. Those are really important signals for us. Whether you’re involved or not is your choice, but those signals still exist whether you’re in the conversation or not.”

We think time, effort and energy is best spent simply focusing on creating great content with readers in mind first, search engines in mind second.  Have a great product or service and be engaged socially.

In preparing this post, we were reminded of the book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson.  Business owners and marketers alike want not only to survive but stay competitive.  Which is hard to do when companies like Facebook and Google keep moving our “cheese.”  Spencer points out that the best defense for all of us is not to over-analyze things.  Expect and prepare mentally for change.  Instead of being derailed by changes that are out of your control, stay mentally alert and prepared to change.  Remember, profits are found in the solutions.

Sometimes things change and they’re never the same again.  That’s life! Life moves on and so should we.  Be more aware of the need to keep things simple, be flexible, and move quickly.

Change Happens
Anticipate Change
Monitor Change
Adapt to Change Quickly
Enjoy Change
Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy it again

As the Small Business Marketing Advocate team, our primary objective is to equip you with solid, fundamental, best practices that reliably move your business forward.  Call us at (951) 291-1774 or send us an email ( if you have any questions or comments about Entrepreneur and Small Business Marketing.  We like to hear from you.

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Charles & Linda Musselwhite owners of Musselwhite Marketing provide online and offline Marketing strategies and Tips from the mastermind groups, conferences and client applications they are involved with.  We’d love to hear from you too!

Charles & Linda Musselwhite
Musselwhite Marketing
(951) 291-1774

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