In the old days, before Google penalties, a website could use a variety of keywords to drive traffic to a website, and the keywords didn’t have to match the website’s copy. For example, a company selling car parts could use the keywords, “sex,” “drugs,” and “rock and roll,” and as long as those words were in the meta tags or hidden somewhere else on the website, they were fair game. This of course annoyed owners of websites that were legitimately based on those keywords, and rightly so. To add insult to injury, many of the sites that took this approach offered questionable content and products.
Google to the rescue
Continual improvements keep making the Web better and better
It was exciting; each time you logged onto the World Wide Web there was a new website to explore, a new game to play and a new product that was guaranteed to make your life better. For those who were creating the new material, it was a rollercoaster of figuring out what worked and what didn’t in regards to website creation, web marketing and determining what web surfers wanted to see. Then Google decided enough was enough and put an algorithm in place that would level the playing field. A company trying to make a fast buck off other business owners’ work would no longer have the ability to pluck proven keywords from a legitimate website for its own use. The algorithm also penalized sites that created content with no value past the keywords.
For companies that played by the rules all along, this was a welcome relief. Information-rich content that contained appropriate keywords appeared high in Google searches again, while poorly written, keyword-stuffed and content-spun content plummeted. This is one example of how Google penalties are making the web a better place. If content isn’t relevant, well-written and germane to the website, Google dumps it into the unknown corners of the web. For a company that wants to make money and build a reputable brand, those corners are not a desirable place to be.There have been several tweaks to the algorithm, with each change resulting in some companies flourishing and others floundering. One of the latest Google algorithm changes drastically decreased the level of spam-like content related to payday loans. Previously, a search for an innocuous term such as “loan” could result in payday loan ads. The tweak removed the spammy payday ads.
It is true that some legitimate companies, websites and content providers experience repercussions when Google makes algorithm changes. Most of those companies are able regroup and bounce back. This was particularly true with companies that provided content for other clients. Once the company managed to convince the client that the changes would comply with Google SEO guidelines and keep the content in the search rankings, things began to balance out. It is only the companies that are determined to beat the system that truly suffer when Google penalties take place after an algorithm change.
Google is in the driver’s seat, constantly updating the algorithms to provide better results to searchers, and ultimately deciding what content is seen or buried. Smart companies that play by the rules and create rich content with relevant keywords will remain relatively unaffected. For those who opt to not follow best practices, they’ll continue to receive penalties and see their content and sites buried at the bottom of the SERPs.