Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of content marketers quite like Google algorithm updates. Ever since Panda changed the game back in February 2011, marketers have lived in perpetual fear that the next algorithm update will be the one to kill all their traffic and send their site into obscurity. However, while it's easy to fall into this way of thinking, these updates don't have to be so scary. Here are three essential tips that marketers can use to get through these updates with minimal traffic impact.
1. Get Out of Bad Habits
The biggest things that affect website traffic after Google algorithm updates are what could be considered "spammy" techniques that have historically given sites with poor content an advantage over sites with high-quality content. Because these updates target broad practices such as keyword stuffing and link manipulation, some legitimate sites get lumped in with the poor-quality ones. Perform a self-audit of your current SEO strategies and try to scale down on bad habits regarding linkage and keyword usage that could flag your site during an algorithm update.
2. Promote Your Site Using Social Channels
Search Engine Journal advises marketers that a 100 percent SEO-based strategy is a poor idea, and suggests that marketers use social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to drive traffic to their sites in addition to their search engine marketing efforts. The benefits of branching out into social marketing are twofold: Social sharing provides a channel for your audience to find content without relying on a search engine, and it can improve SEO rankings as Google works to import social statistics into its algorithm.
3. Keep the Focus on Your Audience
Though sometimes it can seem like Google is your enemy, the goals of the content marketer and the search engine are actually the same: to serve meaningful content to interested audiences. If you are creating content that has your readers in mind, Google algorithm updates won't affect you as much because you are providing content that users want to read. Though some may see temporary fluctuations in traffic as a cause for concern, ultimately, if the audience you are targeting continues to be the focus of the content you are creating, traffic will eventually stabilize — even if algorithm updates cause a hiccup or two in the short term.
Don't let your first instinct be panic when a new Google algorithm update surfaces. By staying away from bad habits, using social channels and keeping the focus on your audience, you can stay stress-free and keep your traffic levels consistent, no matter what changes Google unveils in the future.