Do You Stress Each Time Google Unleashes Algorithm Updates?

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on September 6, 2012 in SEO for Bloggers
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My inbox has been flooded with newsletters that I subscribe to from SEO, marketing, and Web development sites. And lately all they seem to be talking about is Google. Panda. Penguin. Whatever update they're rolling out or mucking around with at the moment, it's always the same cry. "The Internet as we know it is ending! Duck, cover and prepare yourself for plummeting rankings and slashed income! Aaaaaah!"

Seriously. That's what it feels like nearly every time I check my email. Enough already.

I've learned over the years not to let Google algorithm updates get my panties in a twist. I don't care if they suddenly don't like a certain kind of linking. I don't care if they pull a magic number out of their ass and say this is how long your content should be if you want to rank better. I don't care if they suddenly say I'm updating blogs too much or not enough. I don't even care that they're hellbent on screwing around with search relevancy in favor of current and more "social" content.

So what? The only thing that matters to me is my business. And I'll continue to do what I feel is right based on the needs of my readers and target markets. That's my job. And do you know what? Sticking to my guns about putting readers first and letting Google deal with Google's own sh*t has worked out well over the years. Sure, I have fluctuations up and down in rankings. But for the most part my sites rank very well for primary keywords in my niches. The only exception was a business blog which was hit hard when they lashed out against private ads (and I wouldn't change my business model because they couldn't handle faults in their algorithm).

So no. I don't stress each time Google unleashes an algorithm update. And because I haven't pandered to search engines from Day One, I don't have to stress and wonder if some seedy SEO tactics are suddenly going to get me penalized. And even if my sites do drop in the rankings, I know it's not the end of the world. I've been a responsible business person in that I haven't been stupid enough to rely solely or primarily on Google for traffic. Anyone who builds a business relying too heavily on a third party frankly deserves whatever they get.

What about you? Are worried about all the latest Penguin update chatter? Or will it just be business as usual for you, your blogs, and your business? What's your philosophy on catering to search engines? Do you anally follow all of their "rules" for the Web, or do you take a more independent stance and do whatever you think is right for your specific sites and readers? If you lost most of your Google traffic tomorrow, would it put it out of business? I sure hope not. The way I see it is this -- there are far better things to get my blood pressure up over than Google. You?

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.

She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.


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8 Comments

  1. John Soares September 6, 2012 Reply

    Jennifer, I do pay attention to good SEO practices, but I don’t worry about Google’s every grunt and twitch.

    While I don’t think writers should stress or obsess about Google and search rankings, I think more of them should pay more attention to SEO. I’ve gotten good clients who have found my main freelance writing site through Google searches.

    • Jennifer Mattern September 6, 2012 Reply

      Same here. I think the main aspect of SEO writers should focus on is keyword research — see what people are actually searching for when they’re looking for services or sites like yours. Work them in, tastefully. But then focus on giving readers more of what they want. It’s one thing to use SEO tools to find out what that is. It’s something else entirely when SEO becomes a site’s one and only lifeline. You should be getting traffic from more important sources — like repeat visitors and word of mouth (including social media). Search traffic is great, and it’s targeted. But it can’t be a primary focus unless you’re willing to rise and fall with the hormonal tides of a corporation that doesn’t really know your audience. That’s how I feel at least.

  2. Cathy Miller September 6, 2012 Reply

    I’ve seen all the headlines, but have not read one, single post or article about the latest Google algorithm. Like you and John, I pay attention to keywords and SEO, but not to the point of obsessing if it still fits in with the latest twist.

  3. Kimberly September 7, 2012 Reply

    Nope, no stressing here. SEO “experts” have been trying to crack that algorithm code forever. As you said in your response to John, focusing on targeted keyword research is on aspect of SEO that remains consistent – it’s the backbone of good SEO. My primary focus is making sure the writing speaks to the intended audience and contains useful information.

  4. Amandah September 7, 2012 Reply

    I too pay attention to SEO and keywords. More importantly, I focus on providing high quality content (sometimes entertaining) that’s actually useful to people and will keep them coming back for more. I’m all about adding value and asking, “How may I help?”

    • Jennifer Mattern September 7, 2012 Reply

      That’s exactly what solid long-term SEO efforts should involve. Great way to put it. :)

  5. Rebecca Garland September 9, 2012 Reply

    I love the updates! Webmasters need what I sell more than ever, and I’m more than willing to provide it. :) Cheap content and services have their place, but with these latest updates that place is getting a wee bit smaller at least, bringing more clients to my door.

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