SEO When Panda Met Pengiun

September and October have been eyebrow raising months for the SEO community and the blogs are going nuts.  As you know a bunch of algorithm updates have occurred that may affect many sites and search queries.  They make it seem like the SEO-Apocalypse is upon us. But should you be nervous when these updates come out? I think not.

…Panda update that impacts 2.4% of English search queries and is still rolling out

Holy shitballs that sounds scary.  Will my site be impacted negatively?  Should I hire an SEO consultant tomorrow to prevent the impending doom?  All signs point to no, (unless you want to hire me of course).

All websites are designed for the end user.  The end user should be able to find everything easily and access your content easily.  Google has made it abundantly clear that SEO is about merging the end user experience with a machine readable experience.  Google tries it’s best to mimic the end user experience in algorithms.  Chances are that if your end user is having a lovely time on your site then Google also agrees.

Of course we are talking general terms here.  It goes without saying that you should also make sure meta descriptions are present, you are using the proper HTML markup, etc etc.  Just about all SEO related changes you can make for a website is to help Google understand what the user experience is all about.  If you have lots of incoming links from quality sites, then guess what, the end user experience must be great at your site.  If you tend to write articles about hot topics and include keyword friendly titles then chances are you will get more traffic. (Hint: This article’s title is both amusing and SEO friendly)

So why all the doom and gloom from SEO blogs?  Fear of the SEO-Apocalypse brings pageviews, so blogs about SEO will write about them in nauseating detail.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to be in the know when an algorithm update hits and you should be aware as well.  But as it turns out, there are a lot of websites out there doing shady shit.  Those websites will lose their traffic and then complain on SEO blogs as if they are innocent victims.    If you are buying links (It’s not hard to understand that this is a paid article), exchanging links with crappy sites, light on content and heavy on ads, or trying to game Google then your site will be hit by these updates.  There are a lot of terrible sites out there and Google will (hopefully) eventually weed them all out.

That is why we should look forward to a major Google update because chances are that it will help you rank higher.  If you run a respectable site and follow the rules and concentrate on the end user experience then you have nothing to worry about.  Occasionally a respected site is hit negatively by an SEO update and those are usually rectified. Nobody’s perfect.

Now, are there gray areas in terms of an algorithm update?  Of course.  Does Google just so happen to release updates that seem to favor their own properties and lead to more revenue?  Probably.  Does Google violate it’s own best practices by cramming 5 ads above the fold for many searches?  You bet.

But the truth is that none of that should matter to you.  Stick to the user experience.  Stick to producing good content.  Stick to making sure Google is able to properly crawl and present content in search results and you will be fine.