It seems like every few months there’s someone or other who is trying to tell the world that organic SEO “as we all know it” is going down the crapper. Fortunately, like the people who stand around with signs telling us the world is going to end, they’re always wrong.
This time, everyone’s up in arms because the latest Google update has killed their site. “I’ve followed all of the rules,” they say, “so why am I getting pummeled?”
Any experienced SEO guru will tell you — you can follow the rules as best you can, but sometimes, the rules change in the middle of the game. This ain’t Risk, folks, it’s real life, and Google owns the market. That means that when Google says jump, you say “how many times, for how long, in which direction?”
In this case, most of you that have lost rank in the past few months have lost it because, once again, Google changed the rules on you. With the lastest update of their algorithm, they have added a whole new set of rules that you have to follow if you want your site to rank well. The rules can be summed up in the words “user-friendly”.
User-friendly means that your pages don’t have a lot of visual clutter between the visitor and the content. If you’ve got a huge flash banner that takes up 2/3rds of the space above the fold, plus a navbar on one side and some widgets on the other, you’re not user friendly.
User-friendly also means that your site (as a whole, meaning every individual page on it that the SE’s spiders crawl) needs to be entirely set up in the same manner. Any page that defies these rules will drag down the rest of the site with it. Uniformity is the name of the game.
Finally, user-friendly means that the content on your page is fat. No more 150-200 word articles; if you don’t at least triple that, you’re not going to get credit for being anything worth reading in Google’s eyes.
Yes, the world of website SEO has changed — but that doesn’t mean SEO is dead, just that we have to dance the way Google wants us to.