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By Lauren C.
It was only a mere decade ago when shady SEO practices flourished. Because search engine optimization was a fairly new concept, and Google was not yet dominant as the number one search engine, SEO companies had fewer clear-cut rules to follow.
Stuffing keywords into websites and using duplicate content across the web were frequent tactics used by these SEO companies. Because there were less repercussions for using questionable means to achieve higher ranking status, black hat SEO tactics, or disapproved practices that increase a website’s ranking, ruled supreme.
According to Search Engine Land, Google won the battle over SEO companies who frequently used black hat tactics. It took over a decade to smooth out the wrinkles, and Google is still perfecting the art of taming SEO companies. So how did Google fight back against these negative SEO practices and their spamming of Google’s search bots?
Google Earns Respect
In order for Google to create strict algorithm rules and updates that SEO companies would need to abide by, it first had to establish itself as the number one search engine. Without this title, SEO companies and the tactics they used were less likely to care about following protocol.
By 1999, there was growing traffic on Google, with over 500,000 searches a day. This attracted venture capitalists and technology partners who brought in investors, which in turn made Google even more popular. With this growing popularity, Google had to set itself apart from other search engines by creating rules for organizing and displaying content to the public.
Nate Dame of Search Engine Land explains that, “Larry and Sergey (founders of Google) realized early on that they would never be able to destroy the SEO industry. They saw that as long as search engines send organic visitors to websites, brands and businesses will do whatever they can to get their sites noticed.” He affirms that the best way for Google to approach this was, “Instead of trying to take out SEOs, Google’s goal from the start has been to either convince or coerce SEOs into creating a modern internet Google’s way.” This approach is how SEO companies now work within Google’s rules, instead of trying to fight and manipulate them.
Google Uses Specific Methods to Tame SEO Companies
1. Those Google Updates
Google’s algorithm updates are frequent and unrelenting. Between Google Panda and Google Penguin, there’s so many different algorithm updates and names that it’s hard to keep track. Why are the algorithm changes so constant? Dame concludes that, “algorithm updates gave Google a powerful opportunity to shape the behaviors and attitudes of the digital marketing community. It used algorithm updates to repeatedly nudge the behavior of SEOs into line.” In other words, Google uses these frequent updates to inspire SEO companies to follow guidelines.
2. Google is a Closed Book
Google is very secretive about the reasons behind updates, or what their plans are for future changes. Google’s guidelines for creating high quality content are vague, along with their other resources for website owners. The lack of data, direction, or advice that Google is willing to give to SEO companies has forced SEO companies to become better content marketers to get their clients’ sites ranked higher.
SEO is not dead, it’s Just Evolving
Type in “SEO is dead” into Google search, and 13,900,000 search results appear. Critics are constantly stating that SEO is a dead practice, and that companies who provide SEO services should pack it in and call it a day. Nothing could be further from the truth. SEO and online marketing companies such as eGumball, Inc. are more vital than ever, as Google’s algorithms have become more complicated, vague, and obtuse.
Companies who have had to adapt to Google’s rigorous algorithm updates are experts in studying and understanding how Google ranks websites. Furthermore, SEO companies now employ mostly white hat, legitimate tactics such as content marketing, keyword optimization, and encouraging the use of unique, non-duplicated information. SEO companies work hand in hand with Google. After all, Google gave them no choice!
Do you believe SEO companies have had to change dramatically over the years? Why or why not? Let us know in your comments!