After several high profile algorithm changes introduced by search engines particularly Google, it is safe to say by now that they hate optimization of websites. If you still think this is not the case then you could be a newbie in the internet or probably you are one of those who believe that algorithm changes should be a natural occurrence even though it can destroy many online businesses. May Google bless you in that case.
Being a website owner and a freelance writer for many other websites for a few years now, I’ve seen firsthand how algorithm changes destroyed the rankings of many websites. I actually made money for each algorithm update but I pity website owners who have to go back to the drawing board and revise their site content in order to comply with the update demands. Some of them just gave up their sites and went back to being an employee while those with budget decided to stay put and build new websites.
One thing that I observed each time search engine giants decide on a big algorithm update is that it was always focused on penalizing websites that conducted search engine optimization (SEO). They make lots of updates alright but since the ones relating to SEO affect lots of sites, then updates that fall in this category are considered as huge. They call it going after sites that have over-optimization techniques but then again, even non-optimized sites were punished as shown by many complaints aired in many webmaster forums. The sad reality is, many of those affected were small online businesses run by people who just want to earn a small living from the internet.
SEO as I understand it
SEO covers a lot of ground and there is actually no exact explanation that can be said to define what it is in very simple terms. Every webmaster develops his own strategy and some of them even formed a company to specialize in this line. The more you explain SEO, the more it gets confusing. Only when you have practiced it that everything will fall into place one by one and only then you will be able to comprehend what it is all about.
If I would explain it in simple terms, I would say there are as many moves and strategies in chess as there are in SEO. It is that complicated that is why the business of companies engaged in SEO was blooming until search engines started washing it like a tidal wave. Yes, search engines are laundering SEO to fit their interests.
How is a website considered as engaged in unwanted SEO techniques?
This is another question that baffles many webmasters. I am not an expert in SEO as no one can really claim this accolade. But even with the explanation coming from Google in particular, it is difficult for many website owners and webmasters to determine what exactly the right website optimization is. It is not like Google is saying you have to have this much number of words and keywords in every article, this number of backlinks, this kind of on-page/off page optimization, or this number of pages in every website so your site can be considered as adhering to their guidelines.
It is not clear then how to answer the question above so every time there is an algorithm update, websites are still affected and not only a few but by the lot. Funny, but even my principal who’s online business is about SEO got whacked and his website content could not be found in searches. If this can happen to a supposedly expert in SEO, what more to those who do not have expertise in this field?
What is the effect of SEO to Search engines?
Back during the “Happy days” when SEO experts lorded it over search engines, many small online businesses were able to compete even with big business websites. All they had to do then was to optimize the website for search engines and they can readily be seen in search results. Search engines then did not bother to interfere and it was much like a free for all which is what business competition should be like whether online or offline. Every Tom, Dick and Harry had the chance to make money from the internet and it was up only to the internet users to choose which among the many choices they have should be entertained.
From my point of view, internet users should be treated as responsible adults and therefore can decide on their own which is best for them when using the internet. Users can readily tell what website is credible or not and they don’t really need search engines to influence their decision making. But a significant portion of this freedom disappeared when search engine giants manipulated search results. Yes, they are the ones actually manipulating search results now.
They accuse webmasters of manipulating search results when in fact it was part of the game. Even in an offline business, entrepreneurs compete and they do it any which way possible as long as it s not illegal. By my last reading, optimization of websites for search results is not yet a criminal act so what gives? There is no real and derogatory effect on the search engines if a website is optimized for search results unless the search engines want to manipulate the results to their advantage. Now this should have become obvious by now even to you.
What benefits can search engines get by killing SEO?
Some say Google in particular hates SEO and I would not dare contradict because all signs are leading in that direction. But how can it benefit them if it would result in marginalizing many small online businesses? It benefits them a lot actually because the move has business underpinnings. Starting with the levelling of the SEO field when over-optimized sites were penalized courtesy of a series of algorithm updates to favouring large websites in search results via in-depth articles update, it should be clear that in the case of Google, they are setting the stage for something other than the “don’t be evil” slogan that they have sounded before.
By crushing most SEO efforts of websites, the search results can then be manipulated to show favoured websites of a search engine. This is already happening as the first thing you can see are the ads being promoted by the search engines. If this is not a business move then I don’t know what is. By forcing out of the search websites that are “Over-optimizing” in the eyes of search engines, they can now focus on promoting their business more efficiently. It should not be surprising since business is business and the big players blow to smithereens the small players that do not help in the cause or worse even competing in the share of the market.
What is the future of SEO?
SEO in the next two to three years will come in a very different form. It is my firm believe that soon, no website can rank for links whether inbound or outbound, keywords, and other optimization methods that we know now. Producing original content will still be part of the new SEO, professionally made and appealing websites, and other natural on-page optimization will still be important in the near future.
But the one thing that can make you land on the first page of search results will only be possible if you can make your website as big as the other sites that are already favored by search engines. If your site is not capable of getting as big as the others, your remedy then would be to advertise with the search engine so as to land on the first page and be among the ads there. In both situations you will have to spend a lot of money. In the future, if you have no time and money to spare in creating business oriented websites then better stay away from the internet.
Search engines are moving towards commercialization and you can liken them to broadcast stations such as TV, print or radio. You will need to advertise with them if you want your business to reach as many potential customers as possible. Later on it will no longer be a level playing field. Big businesses will lord it over the internet just like how they are doing it offline. As for SEO as we know it now, consider it dead and a thing of the past by then.