“Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Source: Google's Mission Statement
Were you surprised by Google's recent Panda/Farmer update?
You wouldn't have, had your philosophy and approach to SEO been informed and guided by the reason search engines exist in the first place, which happens to match Google’s mission statement “… to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
The Panda update is just an example of the Goog's web spam team doing their job, and making sure that it's done well. Providing useful results to search queries is a tough and evolving challenge. There is a mind-blowing amount of high-quality, useful information on the web, but there is an equally staggering amount of useless content, and filtering that useless content out of SERPs is key to Google's business model.
SEO experts with a primary goal of gaming or manipulating search engines to rank undeserving pages (information) in search engines had it coming. They have an uphill battle ahead of them as the Google web spam team’s ability to filter out useless information continues to evolve.
On the other hand, I would submit that a good primary goal for the "search engine friendly" SEO expert is to assist and provide technical expertise in making useful, deserving content (information) more accessible to search engines and users.
Great SEO Benefits Search Engines and Websites
That information may come from individuals, businesses, or organizations, and typically (not always) requires the assistance of SEO professionals because that information, more often than not, meets the following criteria:
- The information is on a website built with errors, restricting search engine’s ability to properly index and make that content available to users.
- The website containing valuable information is hiding somewhere on the web (or maybe it’s brand new) with no links, references, or means for search engines to become aware of that content.
- The information may be high in quality and usefulness, but hasn’t received a proportionate amount of attention on the web via social media and references, and special attention needs to be given to pushing that information to the right crowds who can then embrace, use, and reference (link to) it.
The key to future-proofing yourself against search engine enhancements & evolution
With Google’s mission statement in mind, you won’t be surprised - and you shouldn't be affected - by any changes Google may look to make in the future.
Helping a company that sells tires in Chicago to achieve better rankings for a keyword like “snow tires in Chicago” by improving the way their website is built, making content more relevant to key search terms, and encouraging more online engagement is neither manipulative, nor spam. You will never get penalized or become negatively affected by future search engine updates.
Why? Simply put, it's because your goals match the goal of (the important) search engines, of making deserving, useful content “accessible and useful” to users.
Adapting to Social Media Influence
One last point: just one of the changes we’re seeing in search right now is the increasing involvement of Social Media. That is because it is becoming a mainstream way of making information easily "accessible and useful" to users. Search engines have been taking measures to adapt, and SEO professionals are smart to evolve in step.
Just keep those goals in mind, and put your mind at ease, because the SEO work that you do will last, and the deserving information that you are making more accessible will be used and enjoyed by internet users for a long, long time.
What are your thoughts? Is it possible for SEO professionals and search engines to share (and ultimately see rewards from) the same goals?