Google Algorithm Sends Some SEO Firms Scrambling
Recent Google updates designed to deliver more-qualified search results have rocked the world of many search engine optimization companies. Those who report being hardest hit are the SEO firms that have relied upon link-building in their menu of services in recent years. Many have enjoyed a great deal of success selling these services to clients over the past few years. The most recent Google algorithm update, “Penguin”, has hit some firms who have relied upon link-building very hard. Some are blatent black-hat SEO practices, some have innocently pushed the envelope of best practices in search and hit hard by algorithm changes.
SEO firm Thinkit today announced that they will launch social media services under their company umbrella in response to recent Google algorithm updates; “It’s no secret that Google takes a dim view of certain types of services that LinkWorth offers, but Thinkit Social will be 100% ‘white hat…”. As this firm, and many others scramble to “fix” methods used on client websites, or adopt more favorable SEO methods, it has become more important than ever that those hiring SEO firms or consultants understand exactly what they are getting.
Thinkit is not alone. Google recently banned an Agency for their link-buying scheme.
White Hat SEO Reigns
As Google punishes black-hat SEO methods including various link-building schemes, White Hat SEO continues to be encouraged. As discussed in our last post about the Google Penguin Update, Google is favoring quality websites.
What is a quality website in Google’s Eyes?
In a recent Google Webmaster blog post, Google encourages a marketing-driven “White Hat SEO” as a means to reach target audiences in search.
Unfortunately, this has forced many who have built their business around aggressive link-building and Black Hat SEO practices to re-evaluate their business model. Not because they suddenly want to play by the rules, But rather because they can’t achieve results with some of the methods they have used to achieve results for clients and generate revenue for themselves.
5 Key Questions to Ask Your SEO in a Post-Penguin Search Environment
- Do you practice White Hat SEO? White hat is encouraged by Google. However it is easy for an SEO firm to say they are white hat, even if they are black hat. So, be sure to do your homework. As for referennces from recent clients. Or, if they are unable to provide references, check to see how well their website competes in search engine results in target markets.
- Do you execute your own work or out-source it? Some domestic and off-shore companies have capitalized on the link-building schemes that have become so popular among Black Hat SEO firms…and Google knows it. This is why Google has targeted link-farms and other manipulated link relationships in recent algorithm changes. So, if possible seek services from a firm you can trust to do their own work.
- What percentage of your SEO methods rely upon a marketing approach on-page optimization, content generation, social media and/or link-building? White Hat SEO is built around strategic planning, implementation and management of digital assets optimized to reach target audiences with relevant. quality content and linking relationships that Google approves of. Those who understand this do it well. Those who have lived on the “other side” of search will always struggle with White Hat SEO methods…so save time and money with a focus on best practices that Google approves of.
- Is SEO focused just on “keywords”? If an SEO firm sells you 6, 12, 50 or some set number of “keywords’, chances are very good that the site will not fulfill its potential for a couple of reaseons. First of all, humans can interpret the very same concept in multiple ways, making focus on a few keywords myopic at best. Long Tail SEO with a marketing focus enables you to reach your customers in every phase of their decision-making process, optimizing content to qualify for thousands of keyword combinations, greatly enhancing the performance of the website in search engine result pages.
- How do you select keywords? If your SEO company asks you to provide the keywords they will optimize your website for, stop the process. It is imperative that SEO be approached with appropriate keyword research, but then applied through a marketing strategy that will optimize your digital assets to reach your target audiences. BTW, we invite clients to provide keywords and then provide keywords properly cultivated through research and targeting…and the two NEVER match! Most companies do not know which keywords to use to reach new customers via search, it’s a simple fact.
Search outperforms PPC and paid advertising online hands down. SEO requires a strategic approach and implementation at every level, so be sure to choose your SEO specialists wisely.
Post-Penguin SEO Plan of Action
Not sure how “White Hat” your website is? Wondering if your website might qualify as a “Quality” website in Google’s eyes?
Request an SEO Site Analysis by a respected White Hat SEO expert.
Karner Blue Marketing, LLC – White Hat SEO since 2001.
We have always leveraged a marketing approach to Long Tail SEO. We began including social media marketing services in response to Google’s favor of social interaction in search since 2009. We have never had to rely upon link-building schemes to enable our clients to achieve and maintain top search engine position amidst years of search engine algorithm updates. Contact us to learn more.