Hummingbird. Penguin. Panda. No it's not a trip to your local zoo it's Google's updates, striking fear in the hearts of SEOs and website owners everywhere. Hummingbird wasn't an algorithm update, it was a fundamental change to how Google's search engine works. It brings the search engine out of the age of keyword centric searches and into the realm of semantic search. Semantic search is all about answering search queries in a real, conversational way. Staying on Google's good side may seem impossible. However, it's really not! Here are 3 tips to stay on Google's good side in the midst of ever changing SEO rules.
Create Quality Content
Creating quality content is step one. It's really non-negotiable at this point. The days of posting keyword filled fluff are long gone. Focus on creating original, real, useful, content that solves a problem, answers a question, or entertains! From solving your customers problems, to demonstrating your newest features or giving exclusive behind the scenes access give visitors reasons to keep coming back for more.
Always Keep Your Visitors In Mind
From the design of your site to the content on it, give your site's visitors the best experience you possibly can. This includes having a responsive or mobile site, ensuring browser compatibly, having a great user interface, and back up to the previous tip: quality content. Stuck on what your visitors need? Put yourself in your ideal visitor's shoes. Ask yourself, why do people come to your site? What do they expect when they get there? Do they want the latest industry news? Easy account access? Technical support? Or a how to article to help them with a problem? Or better yet, ask them yourself in a poll or questionnaire. Whatever it is, make sure your site offers the experience they are looking for.
Be An Authority
Whatever your niche or industry may be, be an authority in it. Quality content & user experience will help, but this is also where social media comes into play. An active roll on social media, interacting with others, sharing your expertise (and linking back to your ever helpful, quality content), and guest posts all will help build your reputation. Don't forget to set up Google Authorship! It's proof to Google that all that content is yours, and you're a real person or entity!
Those who try to game Google's system will almost always eventually get caught out. The safest course of action is to keep in mind Google's goals - give the search users the answers to their questions. This isn't so different from your goals, getting the people who need your service/product/information to your site! You can't control the search engines changes, however, you can control the experience your site offers. Provide a great experience, use SEO to enhance that experience and the search engines will favor you!