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Is SEO Just Too Hard?

23 Oct 2012

SEO is getting harder and harder.

Google makes something around like 500+ algorithm changes per year.

If you work in the SEO industry - you have seen and/or felt the effects of these changes with a slew of updates felt by webmasters one way or another.

For many it has been a tough 2 years.

Some of the major updates rolled out by Google this year:

  1. Panda – crack down on low quality and duplicate content rolling out nearly monthly
  2. Venice – Google more aggressively showing localized results
  3. Penguin – crack down on low quality link building methods
  4. Emanuel – crack down on sites repeatedly accused of copyright infringements
  5. Knowledge Graph – Google to provide answers to certain queries within the search results in a step towards semantic search
  6. Top Heavy – crack down on sites with too many ads above the fold
  7. 7 Results – some results limited to 7 results instead of 10 for certain queries
  8. EMD – crack down on low quality exact match domains

In an attempt to appear more transparent – Google have sometimes provided details on these search quality updates in a somewhat sporadic manner as sometimes these are delayed by 2 months before they are published:

To make it even make the updates even more interesting - Google often roll out multiple updates simultaneously:

If your website is affected negatively by one of these updates, this makes it that much more difficult to diagnose what exactly is going on. I guess this is a deliberate move on Google’s behalf to make their algorithms that much more difficult to reverse engineer. That - or the kids at Google have a sick sense of humour and enjoy watching the SEO community squirm.

The sad thing about these updates is it is typically small businesses that suffer, as they don’t tend to have the time or resources to compete; and often easy targets for scammers. So what is one to do? With so many uncertainties how does one future proof against these inevitable changes? 

Do you just give up?

One ex Googler suggests – if you want to please Google with your SEO then forget about SEO.

Forget about Google for now. Staying in the SEO game requires a mind shift – next generation SEO is essentially now (and has been for a while now) good old fashioned marketing plus keeping search firmly in mind.

So the question to ask is not how hard is SEO - the question is what else can you do instead of focusing on Google/SEO?

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