SEO campaigns need to be routinely reevaluated, and for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is because of the updates that are occasionally announced to the Google search algorithm. But you shouldn’t take this to mean more than it does. That algorithm almost never changes in a ways that fundamentally undermines existing SEO campaigns. If anything, it provides an influx of new data that web services companies can use to improve them.
In other words, changes to the Google algorithm are typically just minor updates and refinements. More far-reaching changes are rolled out from time to time, but even then they are unlikely to leave a good SEO company scrambling to learn a new set of rules. In fact, as we’ve said on this blog before, the essential rules for SEO campaigns are pretty simple these days, and pretty un-changing: Improve the quality of site content and users experience, and you’ll improve the outcomes from your SEO campaigns.
When Google updates its algorithm, the goal is not to leave web designers and marketing professionals with a different set of tricks for artificially inflating their search rankings. The goal is to help the search engine to better determine which pages actually deserve to be at the top of the results for a given search. If one of your pages falls down the search engine results page after an update, you shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Google is punishing you. You’re better off thinking that the algorithm is informing you of flaws that it didn’t notice before, and giving you an opportunity to bolster your SEO campaigns.
Some readers might balk at this idea and counter that there’s no such thing as flaws in SEO campaigns if they aren’t reflected in a page’s ranking. On this view, the success or failure of a site’s search engine optimization is solely determined by whatever the algorithm says. But this is a shortsighted view, and somewhat ironically, it gives the algorithm way more credit than it deserves.
Rising to the top of a Google results page is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Achieving that goal does not actually mean your website is successful. Maybe an SEO company can manipulate your site to the top for a little while, but if your ranking doesn’t reflect a genuinely positive user experience, it will ultimately start to fall regardless of whether Google’s algorithm changes or stays the same.
Ideally, as the algorithm is updated, it will do a better job of connecting users with the exact information they want to receive, in the exact format they prefer. There’s always a chance that this will decrease a page’s overall impressions, but that isn’t particularly important as long as the click-through-rate remains high in comparison to those impressions.
Good SEO campaigns understand the distinction between these outcomes, and the authors of those campaigns don’t fight against changes to the algorithm. They embrace every new data point as an opportunity to better understand what they are doing wrong, and what they are doing right.