Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Hating Google is bad for your SEO

The SEO industry, such as it is, is a creature of fashion. Right now my perception is that it’s a fashionable time to be down on Google.

This is understandable. There are questions around the company’s tax policies. They killed Google Reader. They killed the Google Affiliate Network. They didn’t even try to sell any of those assets.

At the same time SEO is evolving. The number of people who refuse to accept the change to an earned media approach, with links and other signals secured through engagement (be that creative, outreach or a combination of the two) are dropping in number. That doesn’t mean the situation is resentment free. After all, who likes being dragged out of their comfort zone?

I believe a healthy scepticism is best.

Digital marketing professionals – those in and outside of SEO – need to critically analyse anything Google does. It’s right to ask questions like “What’s the motivation behind Enhanced Campaigns?”. SEOs need to avoid being fed lines by any search engine.

That said; hating Google is bad. In fact, hating Google is harmful to your SEO.

Take Google+. The platform was disliked by many SEOs from early on. Sure, some of those SEOs perhaps didn’t want or couldn’t handle yet another social layer. Other SEOs couldn’t see how Google was likely to use Google+ and so overlooked it. Some SEOs decided, as a matter of principle, not to engage with it. Some didn’t want Google to succeed in “social”.

I believe that was a mistake. The concept of authorship is now established and even if Google are coy, suggesting no advantage in SERPs, for now it’s hard to imagine there’s no signal to be found in the quality of the author. Those SEOs without Google+ experience are at a disadvantage to those SEOs with it. Brands without Google+ success are at a disadvantage to those who have found it.

In this scenario it’s clear to say that disliking Google so much as to avoid Google+ was a tactical mistake.

Equally, if you can’t imagine what Google might do to improve the quality of the search results (perhaps you can only imagine what Google will do to improve income) puts you at a disadvantage at future proofing your SEO strategies.

SEOs must be interested and excited by Google. They must maintain the passion to try out Google’s new initiatives and inventions. SEO must also keep their eyes open. Failure to do so; either by design or by chance, reduces their effectiveness as a digital marketing professional.

Image credit: Mean Old Goat by Eirewolf Creations at Etsy.
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