Let’s be frank for a minute. Over the past 3 months, Google has made over 130 updates to their indexing algorithm. Although it is not uncommon to witness hundreds upon hundreds of algorithmic changes per year, it seems like Google has been on a mission of late and that every update they have made has had some kind of an effect on rankings – especially those made in April – in regards to addressing link-building practices. My point: search engine optimization is no longer a matter of building a large quantity of backlinks. Google’s penguin has fixed that. Now, SEO’s must utilize social media and non-spammy (how is that even interpreted today?) search engine optimization.

Firstly, what is non-spammy search engine optimization? How do SEO’s interpret it? Even more importantly, how does Google interpret it? Is spammy backlinking considered using artificial networks to build backlinks? Is it a matter of stuffing keywords into title tags, meta descriptions and URL’s? Is it as simple as building a Squidoo page about how your client is the best “dog groomer San Diego”? In the end, spam is difficult to discern. But, Google’s latest update’s destiny is to destroy spam and the rankings for those who have abused Google’s quality guidelines.

So, what do all you SEO’s out there do when your automated backlink network has been blacklisted or deindexed? You have no choice but to change, right? How do you eliminate any of those backlinks that are associated with your sites? Well, Google simply tells SEO’s to eliminate any unnatural backlinks they may have. This may be easier said than done for many considering the hoops that have to be jumped through and the wait time for the next penguin refresh.

Google’s Quality Guidelines

    • Every page should be intended for a user, not a search engine. Make sure the content is appropriate, high-quality and useful. Also, don’t trick users into clicking on a page with variable content that is low-quality, not useful and inappropriate.
    • Don’t utilize a bunch of tricks to gain rankings. This means utilizing poor backlinking strategies. Be natural. Don’t link with someone for the sake of linking with someone. Build relevance and be comfortable with your decisions.
    • Don’t associate your site with other sites that have the potential to negatively affect your rankings. Just like neighborhoods, your house won’t increase in value if your neighborhood is in poor shape.
    • Don’t utilize any unauthorized programs to check rankings or optimize your site for keywords, i.e., Web Position Gold (Google’s Example).

Now that we know the basic quality principles of Google, we must address the future of SEO. And, the future is now. SEO has merged with social media by means of Google +, Facebook and Twitter. Conversations mean a lot and building brand awareness online is no different than paying NBC to host a television commercial for your business. So, rather than continue to separate the two, online marketing agencies must now begin to combine the two. Social media and search engine optimization (SMSEO) means combining traditional but adjusted on-page search engine optimization strategies with social media strategies (with a twist). Now, we can add microdata that is brought to fruition within the search engines – making our links more user-friendly.

Example of microdata.

Example of microdata.


Microdata Authorship.

Microdata authorship.

Additionally, we should think of our website and social media as one in the same. Without social media, our online marketing campaign is crippled. Without a website, we don’t have an important informational resource for our targeted consumers. In today’s ever-changing world of SEO, it’s all about staying ahead of the game and adjusting to Google’s updates, one update a time.