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If You Stay White Hat Then You Don’t Have to Fear Google’s Updates

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Google went a little SEO update happy this past March, releasing 50 search quality tweaks. Google has also recently come out with some major algorithm updates, including the over optimization penalty and an attack on spammy blog networks. These are all quality updates following in the footsteps of the initial Panda update from last year that targeted article farms and sites that were heavily involved in article spinning.

When news of the over optimization penalty broke, a few of my clients wanted to know if their sites were at risk. Every time Google comes out with a major update, most site owners get a little nervous that their site is going to get caught in Google’s penalty net. It can take a long time to recover from a penalty, especially if you aren’t 100% sure where you went wrong, and losing massive amounts of traffic and search engine trust can quickly destroy an online business.

So what did I tell my SEO clients? Since I only engage in white hat SEO tactics (both onsite and for link building), these quality updates shouldn’t negatively impact their site. In theory they should actually help my clients! As low-quality sites (or even quality sites that were trying to cheat the system) are uncovered and penalized by Google, all the quality sites left should get a bump in the SERPS, increased online brand exposure and maybe even more new visitors!

I am constantly reminding my clients that as long as they stick with white hat SEO they have nothing to fear from Google’s updates. Since white hat SEO follows the best practice guidelines outlined by the search engines (it’s Google’s world and we have to play by their rules), white hat sites never engage in any kind of activities that might put their site at risk further down the road. At the end of the day, most of Google’s algorithm updates are about cleaning up the search results. They want to provide the best and most useful results to their users, so Google is committed to weeding out sites that can negatively impact the Google user experience. That’s why Google provides site owners with so much free information about white hat SEO – your good SEO efforts help them deliver a better product!

I know that black hat and grey hat SEO tactics can be very tempting for some site owners. It’s a much faster road to results, and since many businesses are currently focused on the short game most don’t want to wait the 6-9 months it might take for a white hat SEO campaign to start producing results. There are plenty of black hat sites out there that have managed to escape undetected by the quality updates thus far, which might make new site owners think they can sneak around Google as well. In my opinion it’s not worth the risk. Even if your site manages to escape penalty for a year or two, you have to live in constant fear that the next update could spell disaster for your online brand. When you stick to white hat SEO you know that each update is only going to ultimately help your site.

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