Simple Strategies For Surviving A Google Dance
Google is dancing again! A full tilt all out boogie, a long drawn out rumble somewhere near cursor heaven. My own keywords are going up, down and out the door. Take your pick. Just want the bloody thing to stop. My nerves are shot... three years of hard work may just go down the drain and there's no end in sight!
Fellow webmasters will recognize my slight desperation, my total sense of unease when Google dances. It all has to do with pre-conditioning, psych majors will know this, I am well conditioned to react. I have been burnt horribly by Google dances in the past so my panic is almost palatable. Forget Pavlov's dog, when Google dances, webmasters like me salivates.
And Google is really dancing this time, Jagger has nothing on this baby. Nobody dances like Google, even puts Seinfeld's Elaine to shame. And if you're new to the webmaster's favorite folly, a Google dance happens with Google adjusts its ranking algorithm, causing a ripple effect and adjustments in the rankings of keywords. Sites move up or down. Previous major Google dances have been called Florida, Austin, Bourbon...
When Google dances, webmasters sweat bullets. And it's not all in their heads. It's not psychosomatic. Horror stories abound, about honest hard working webmasters (not a black hat to be seen) suddenly waking up to find their site or sites gone from Google. Thousands of daily visitors/customers to their site vanish in an algorithmic fog overnight. Swift. Brutal. Painful.
Gone, top ranking keywords nowhere to be seen. Gone, visitors, visitors, visitors. Gone, sales, sales, sales...
More times than not, the sites come back or regain their positions (rankings for popular keywords -- for the totally uninitiated, keywords or keyword phrases are what people type into search engines to find what they're looking for), keywords are the conerstones of the whole Internet. Without them, the Internet as we know it, would not work.
Mastering Google means mastering your site's keywords or phrases. Get a top ten SERPs ranking for your keywords and changes are very good you will have a successful site. Webmasters work for years getting their site's keywords up into the top keyword ranking spots. Countless fortunes have been made by those who have mastered the game. Countless fortunes have tumbled when Google dances.
Of course, the sensible thing to do is for all webmasters to unite and bring Google down a peg or two. At least in our own minds, if not in the real world. Don't place so much importance on Google. Yes, it's very important, but snap out of it. The more webmasters whine and moan about Google's erratic dances, algorithm and rankings - the more power we are giving Google.
Why is Google still so important to webmasters? MSN and Yahoo are gaining ground but Google is still the top dog and here's why: As far as the search engine market goes, whether it's wearing a halo or a cursor, Google is still the only game in town. According to Alexa, a company that tracks web traffic, the top three sites on the Web are 1-Yahoo, 2-MSN, and 3-Google. However, when you compare where people go on these sites: search.yahoo.com accounts for only 9% of Yahoo's traffic and search.msn.com only 7% of MSN's total traffic; whereas most of Google's traffic is search traffic. This is a big distinction.
Once burnt, twice shy. Years ago, the Florida Update totally wiped my site from the Google Radar. Hence my total apprehension when one of these dances comes along. I wanted my site to survive the next Google dance so I put some simple strategies into place that would hopefully help me weather this and future Google dances. Strategies that you might also find helpful to fight your own private battle with Google.
Here's what I did and what you can also do:
Find A Good SEO Expert
Find a good SEO expert and have him or her in your corner. I found Brad Callen. One of a very few people who truly understands Google and knows how it works. I learned much of what makes Google really tick from Brad. I advise you to find or hire a SEO expert like Brad to help you out with your site or sites. Just the fact of having a SEO expert in your corner makes handling Google a little bit easier.
Link Only To Safe Sites
One of the simplest ways to keep on the good side of Google is to make sure all links on your site link only to sites that have a PR4 or over. Don't link to bad neighborhoods, avoid linkfarms like the avian flu.
One Keyword To A Page
The major mistake most webmasters make - they don't focus on one keyword phrase per page. Try to keep your pages separate, write on one or two closely related keyword phrases for each webpage and you will see a big improvement from Google. Don't keyword spam but sprinkle your keyword phrase and variations of it throughout your copy.
RSS To The Rescue
Creating an RSS feed and Blog for your site's major keywords is as simply as starting a free blog with Blogger.com (owned by Google), it can be done in a few minutes.
I favor using Blogger because it now has the Google Blog search bar at the top. Blog search will bring in a lot of traffic and your content is instantly indexed in Google. What more can you ask for. Whatever you do, don't underestimate RSS, it's going to play a major role in the Internet of the near future. Especially when Microsoft comes out with its Longhorn browser which will be RSS empowered.
Embrace Article Marketing
If you can string two sentences together start writing articles on the major keywords or topics of your site. Place your links in the resource box of your articles and submit them to online article directories like ezinearticles.com or buzzle.com. Write helpful 'how-to' articles and other webmasters will place your articles on their sites and you will get an ambundance of one-way links back to your site. Google loves these kinds of links and since the sites picking up your articles will all be related to your site's topic, these will be relevant links.
Customer/Visitor Focused Content
Besides high PR links to your sites, Google also loves content. Write unique content that's related to your site's topic and write a lot of it. It's the main reason anyone bothers to come to your site in the first place, so make sure you have good original content. Add high quality articles from sources you respect and your visitors will have another reason to visit your site.
Keep saying to yourself: content is king, content is king. Make sure you put that belief into practice and Google will reward you nicely. Well, maybe. Nine times out of ten.
Actually, this time my site jumped to PR5 and my Google backlinks went up. Also some of my keywords are up but most have stayed the same. Overall, my traffic from Google remains the same which is very worrisome, if I moved up to PR5 -- my traffic should theoretically rise also. I saw a dramatic rise in traffic when my site went to PR4.
Such are the little puzzling mine-fields, whether intentionally or not (I can't believe anyone could be this sadistic!) Google throws every webmaster's way. Over time, if you let it get to you, it will drive you stark raving bonkers. Especially, if you are seriously building an income, lifestyle and well-being around the Internet and by default Google.
For every webmaster, Google is a never ending endurance race of strategies, positioning and planning. Keeping one step ahead of this search engine while keeping your eyes peeled for the men in white, is a never ending struggle. One every webmaster must fight and win on their own terms. Follow the simple steps above, and you will be better prepared for the next Google dance.