Published on December 16th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards0
2012: The Year That Changed The SEO Game
By Amy @BubbleJobs
After the unexpected Google Panda update upset in 2011, you could forgive anyone working in SEO for thinking they’d weathered the storm and the worst was over at the start of 2012 – after all, the Panda update shook things up well and truly, Google couldn’t really have anything else up their sleeves could they?!
Well, as we all know they had plenty up their sleeves that no one could really have ever predicted. OK, so we all knew the whole “the more the merrier” links ethos wouldn’t last for that much longer but to go as far as de-indexing sites, killing rankings and just generally destroying years of “hard” work – Ouch!
From the Penguin and EMD updates to the introduction of factors like AuthorRank, +1 and branded anchor text, it’s fair to say that over the last 12 months, the SEO game has well and truly changed – and, no matter how much you protest, it’s never going back.
But really, when we look back, are any of the changes that bad? OK, so if you’ve been riding high in the rankings over the last three years or so on the back of directory links, blog comments, article marketing with keyword anchor text links and a pretty hefty exact match domain, you’ve probably not welcomed the changes with open arms but did you ever really think the good times could last when you were doing pretty much everything Google had advised you not to?!
Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh here. In the past I’ve worked for agencies that have used less than white-hat techniques to boost rankings and drive traffic to sites within certain niches because, at the time, it worked – and I’m certain we weren’t alone. The thing is, while it was all good at the time, we always knew, whether we wanted to admit it or not, it could never truly last. Why? Because we were effectively breaking the rules because it was easier and quicker to get results than if we’d followed them.
Thanks to the new EMD, Panda and Penguin updates, it’s now pretty impossible to cheat the system like you could do in the good old days when the low hanging fruits of hundreds of spun articles, directory links and blog comments were the fastest way to amazing rankings – but why should that be a bad thing? In my opinion the new updates have changed the game for the better.
In theory, Penguin and Co are making it possible for high quality content from established authors and high quality, relevant sites that actually have something good to offer to prosper. Of course, whether that actually works remains to be seen, and I’m sure there will always be SEOs out there that try and cut every corner possible but at least now everyone’s got a fighting chance.
And really what SEO doesn’t love a good challenge?! Because really, challenges, trial and error and experiments is what SEO has always been about. Rather than dragging up painful Google Analytics charts following each update, anyone working in SEO should now be rubbing their hands together, welcoming the challenge and looking forward to the next update – OK, maybe that’s a bit optimistic but 2013 and beyond is the time for SEOs to step up and prove themselves. Over the next 12 months or so, the new updates should sort the wheat from the chaff, the talented from the… well, not so talented and the pros from the amateurs.
So you see; if you’re as good at SEO as you think you are, what could you possibly have to worry about in 2013?!