If you have been doing SEO like most marketers out there assuming this is what will rank you higher in Google, you have been misguided just like I was. Google does not function like many of us anticipate, in fact, Google is much smarter in the way its algorithm functions than we give it credit for.
So here I am listing below the most important SEO strategies which I learned after having a long conversation with a Google employee understanding the insides of how they really rank us.
Lesson #1- Google Does Not Penalize or Ban You for the Reasons You Think:
Penalization is a term which you will find many digital marketers using but do you truly understand how this works? I was under the illusion that if bad links point to my website, then Google will penalize me and in the worst-case scenario ban me from their list. Well, if this were so simple then my competitors could create such bad links for my site easily, to knock me off the competition. The person from Google I spoke to made it clear to me that Google is much more intelligent than we give it credit for.
Banning a relevant site due to such bad links may actually backfire on Google as users may want to visit the site and will be disappointed with Google for not listing the site. These users do not really care about SEO as all they care about is to find what they are looking for. Disappointing users will decrease Google's revenue hence they are smart.
Google does not just ban or penalize any random site due to a single factor but there are several factors which are evaluated. Hence if you have been fearing about such negative SEO, do not be bothered as Google is not so easy to be fooled.
Lesson #2- Guest Posts Backlinks are Usually Ignored by Google:
If you think that paid backlinks from websites with high domain authority like BuzzFeed, Forbes, HuffPost, and Entrepreneur will improve your rankings then you need to read this carefully.
After hearing this from a Google employee, even I was shocked as I had always thought that getting backlinks from these sites is like an achievement for Off-Page SEO but actually that is not how things work.
Most big sites usually use a nofollow link so your site does not get an advantage as such but even if they do not use nofollow, Google can easily figure out the Guest Posts from a site and devalue those links. So, if you have been building backlinks by guest posting, I strongly suggest to not waste further time as this will not really have any impact on your search ranking.
If you still are in shock like me and do not believe this, observe your site analytics through SiteImprove before and after posting a guest content in a high domain authority site and you will notice not much difference in your site's conversions.
Lesson #3- Google is Futuristic and You Should be Too:
The world is changing fast and Google is adapting to those changes to stay ahead in the game. From my conversations with employees who work at Google, the clarity which I had was, to be on Google's favorite list, even I had to up my game and stay ahead of others by being futuristic.
Google has figured out that the percentage of voice searches are increasing every day through devices such as Alexa and Google Home. Especially the way millennials search Google for content is different from the older generations. While older generations still type their search queries, youngsters prefer asking questions to voice assistance.
Self-driving cars, appliances, security system, etc- Google is trying to control everything through voice command to make your life easier.
Being sure to adapt to the new technologies for benefiting the users is the only way to go about when it comes to staying on top of Google's list.
Lesson #4- Shortcuts to Rank Higher Does Not Work with Google:
Applying shortcuts to rank higher will never work as fooling the most used search engine which has thousands of brilliant minds and efficient algorithm in place is nearly impossible.
Buying expired domain to boost your ranking by using 301 redirects to your site is what many marketers do but even Google is aware of this and though your ranking may improve drastically, it does not last long and you will see the rankings tank much sooner hence do not try such shortcuts but steadily improve your SEO strategies and rankings thereby.
Lesson #5- Google Algorithm is Not Perfect:
Another interesting insight I received from people working at Google is that Google does not really use thousands of people to fine-tune their algorithm, instead, they work in an automated manner. Hence you keep finding Google updating the algorithm regularly.
Many of us marketers are always concerned that Google may introduce a major update which may tank your site's ranking. Well, frankly, with updates, your website ranking may go lower or higher, this is natural and in general happens to all the sites but if you have been focusing genuinely on creating good content without taking shortcuts, any update will not really affect the rankings of your site drastically hence you have nothing to worry about.
Moreover, if you see your site's ranking going down due to any update, it will be back again after the next update because even Google algorithms are not perfect hence, they introduce updates to make it better over time.
Most marketers waste their time trying to improve SEO, resulting from short term thinking but this will take you nowhere as this is not what Google is looking for. The only way to stay ahead in the game is to think like Google does which is to put yourself in the customer's shoes, anticipate what they really want and work towards providing them with satisfying services. Instead of making Google happy, focus on making your customers or readers happy and this will automatically make Goole happy and rank you higher in the funnel of searches.