Google Keeps Webmasters on Their Toes

Stephen Yagielowicz

If you are responsible for driving search engine traffic to a website, you have no doubt heard about the ongoing changes coming from Google, which are causing operators to adapt in the face of confusion.

It is also natural for website operators to go into panic mode over sudden and substantial drops in their search engine rankings, but one should fight the urge to make an immediate change. Instead opt for a more measured “wait and see” approach, allowing several days to a week or more for any Google algorithm changes to “settle down.” This is important as previous updates resulted in an unsettling of listings for some time afterwards — so hasty maneuvering may thus work against you.

Diversifying your visitor streams may be more important than chasing Google’s ever moving goal post — and the key to your ongoing success.

Content that is natural, relevant and within context is what humans find to be the most valuable —and the machines are catching up; developing advanced heuristic systems that separate digital wheat from spam-laden chaff. Even when they get it wrong, negatively impacting “good” sites, the algorithms update rapidly, often restoring lost rankings for many sites.

One tip recommended by experts is to leave existing content alone, only applying new techniques to new content. For example, if you believe that excessive keyword density on older video descriptions is to blame for a drop in rankings, do not change those items, but be less aggressive with keywords on new descriptions going forward.

Other important factors include bounce rate, percentage of repeat visitors and time spent on site — all of which are indicative of quality and of delivering the type of content visitors expected to see there. Paying attention to social media, while a balancing act for adult marketers, is also seen as a vital step in the process of convincing Google that your site offers real value and is not merely made up of duplicate content, such as the same sponsor-provided FHGs used by countless other affiliates.

So-called “over optimization” and “unnatural” back-links are additional culprits in the traffic declines reported in the aftermath of the latest series of updates. While Google has long warned webmasters against purchasing links and other schemes, it seems that it is finally doing something about this practice — penalizing sites with artificially inflated link profiles and those using too-carefully crafted linking text, for example.

For adult site operators struggling to maintain outdated business and content marketing models, one thing is for certain: Google is increasingly discounting traditional paid or traded links in favor of real, high-quality and valuable on-site content; elevating quality above quantity. Raise your personal bar and the search giant will reward your efforts at excellence.

Having said this, while Google may provide the lion’s share of search, it is not the only traffic source. Diversifying your visitor streams may be more important than chasing Google’s ever moving goal post — and the key to your ongoing success. Remember, you should not put all of your eggs in one basket; and neither do you want to rely on only one source of traffic for your website.