Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Three Popular Misconceptions: Demystifying the Practice of SEO

The SEO blogs are alive with the sound of algorithm updates. Panda! Penguin! And the news is making the SEO world giddy. As WebProNews reported last Friday, "If the latest comments from Google about a pending Penguin update are to be believed, webmasters will find the update just delightful."

Delightful, indeed. The tone of the WebProNews article is exemplary of the sarcasm with which many SEO specialists greet the news of a new algorithm update. In reality, Google's updates often present headaches for even the most knowledgeable and successful specialists. And yet, the article also reveals a fact about SEO that most novices take for granted: that website optimization, by nature, is a collaborative effort.

One key SEO misconceptions is that the practice is a fight against the search engines. Nonsense!

With each algorithm update, Google creates new guidelines for SEO specialists--or, in Google's parlance, "webmasters." Some might complain about the hassle of adapting to these ever-changing guidelines, but any webmaster worth his or her salt understands that Google's purpose is to improve the browsing experience.

Please read: "Google & SEO: Dynamic Partners."

The best SEO specialists work together with the search engines to create clean websites with searchable content that is relevant, error-free, and truly informative. From Google's point of view, this is precisely how the Internet improves. This is why the search giant tries to be transparent about the nature of its algorithm updates.

A major element of the Penguin algorithm, for example, is its focus on bad links. In the past, some websites have been damaged by the way Google has defined bad links. And yet, as Search Engine Land reported from SMX East, a major search marketing expo, Google is doing its best to allow these sites to recover:

"Google could have done a Penguin update more frequently, but they want to push out an update that makes both webmasters and users happy. So they are working hard on making both happy.

[Google] also said that if you disavow bad links now or as of about two weeks ago, it will likely be too late for this next Penguin refresh. But [Google] added that the Penguin refreshes will be more frequent because of the new algorithm in place."

Our obligatory panda picture [Source]

It is a popular misconception, even in the SEO world, that the algorithm updates are a form of punishment. This is patently false. The updates are a form of tutelage: Google teaching webmasters how to improve the Internet. As we wrote before:

"With each update, Google explains precisely why the new algorithm is necessary, what will happen if you don’t follow the rules, and how to update your website to meet the new SEO standards. Yes, Google reveals this information. You might not know where to find it, but it certainly exists. A well-trained SEO professional will always stay up-to-date with all the major SEO techniques and updates."

Please read: "Bad Links? Bad News!"

Another popular misconception about SEO is that the practice is somehow esoteric. Mystified by jargon, most website owners find the world of SEO inexplicable, or worse, impractical.

Nothing could be farther from the truth! In reality, SEO deals with precisely defined guidelines set by Google itself. The key for a website owner is to 1) learn the practice for him or herself, or 2) find an SEO specialist who can explain the seeming complexities of the practice in simple terms.

At the Organic SEO Blog, we pride ourselves on the simplicity of our style. We hope to democratize the practice of SEO by explaining its elements in clear and precise terms. When we use jargon, we strive to explain its meaning. If you ever have questions about our posts, please leave a comment. Or better yet, call our resident SEO specialist, Alex Stepman: 215-900-9398.

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