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How to THRIVE on Google instead of damning it everyday

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TheFrancophile

Contributor
Feb 5, 2017
31
52
110
32
Lyon, France
Google gets a very bad press on this forum and in MJ's books... especially Unscripted , where he even says "To hell with SEO!" (Though I hope it's just a misunderstanding.)

One of the biggest fears many Fastlaners have is that Google can simply kill your business overnight with an algorithm change.

But if you have a website that adds VALUE to people's lives, a website where they can learn (or buy) something unavailable elsewhere, not only you have NOTHING to fear from Google's algorithm changes, you can even profit from them.


Let's be clear: SEO is a MUST, whether you have an online-based business like me or not.

Yeah, I know, it's a very bad thing that only one search engine (Google) has a dominant position in the West (esp. here in Europe) ... but that's the way it is. It's called reality. Google is an unavoidable partner in business.

In today's age, when most people search for anything (even as simple as a restaurant, pizza joint, or barber shop/hairdresser), they usually search in Google.

And if the issue is buying a home or a car, finding a good school for their kids, or learning a new recipe, you can bet their research on Google will be extensive...

As the old adage says, "Google is your friend."


So, how can you thrive on Google? By following simple yet often ignored SEO best practices, such as:

  1. Having a website that loads VERY fast (under 3 sec) on both mobile and PC. Defer unimportant resources, compress your images, invest in a fast EXCLUSIVE server and a good CDN service.
  2. Optimizing your titles, H1 and H2 headings, text, image name and alt text, etc., with the right keywords (but don't go overboard, this is keyword stuffing, a shady tactic that Google has ZERO tolerance for).
  3. Targeting the RIGHT keywords to begin with: ones that people actually search for, yet not too generic and not too competitive (Keyword Difficulty). Obviously, you don't want to target "white dry wine from Alsace" if few people search for that, but you don't want to aim for the sky and compete for "wine" or even "white wine", as the competition for these keywords is insane.
  4. Creating content that is exhaustive, 100% accurate, documented, yet easy to understand for an 8th grader (the average American reads at 8th grade level). Content BETTER than what people can find on competitors' websites.
  5. Optimizing your website for mobile through responsive design (and a layout of the website that is simple to use on mobile).
  6. Not having a homepage where the entire screen (which is prime SEO real estate) is occupied exclusively by a background image, your logo, your slogan/motto, and the menu. People hate this.
  7. Getting well-earned backlinks from credible websites.
  8. And overall, delivering an OUTSTANDING user experience (UX) to website visitors.
  9. For local businesses, there's an entire set of rules that applies here which I won't list for the sake of brevity (but as an SEO analyst, I'll be happy to share them by PM if you want). The most important issues are customer reviews and being 100% consistent on your name, address, phone, and service hours in Google and in every other place where your business is listed.

So why have so many websites suffered from Google algorithm changes ?

Because their owners were guilty of one or more of the following:
  1. Keyword stuffing, i.e. abusively repeating the same keywords on the same website too often, just to get higher rankings. Big mistake: this is a black hat tactic that Google penalizes SEVERELY (sometimes even by removing your site completely from their index).
  2. Buying links from other websites, instead of earning them. Again, Google's policy in these cases is ZERO TOLERANCE.
  3. Having thin content on your subject which simply doesn't add any value to what other websites say on the same topic.
  4. Having duplicate content, either between several pages on your website or, even worse, with other people's websites.
  5. Failing completely to optimize your website with keywords (Google then has a hard time figuring out what it's about).
  6. Having a website that is very slow to load.
  7. Having a website so boring, or so hard to use, that people quit it in the first few seconds after clicking on your result.
  8. Having a website in the porn, pyramid scheme, and other illegal/barely legal industries.
  9. Failing to optimize your website for mobile (Google gives greater weight to how your website is displayed on mobile, in accordance to its "Mobile First" update; a lot of websites were penalized by this, hence this update was dubbed the "Mobilegeddon").
  10. Not having an SSL "secure connection" certificate.
  11. And again, as regards local businesses, being totally incoherent about your name, address, phone, and service/opening hours.
Unless you're guilty of one or more of these 11 sins, you need not fear Google's algorithm changes.

Hope this helps! Have a great weekend, folks!
 

Madame Peccato

Gold Contributor
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Jul 14, 2018
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Thanks, this is a useful recap.
Buying links from other websites, instead of earning them. Again, Google's policy in these cases is ZERO TOLERANCE.
What about buying guest posts? Are these fine, provided the guest post is actually good?

Having duplicate content, either between several pages on your website or, even worse, with other people's websites.
Not just duplicate content, but also content that targets the same keywords. This is called cannibalization, and it's very sad.
 

MattL

Bronze Contributor
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Jan 31, 2014
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One of the biggest fears many Fastlaners have is that Google can simply kill your business overnight with an algorithm change.

But if you have a website that adds VALUE to people's lives, a website where they can learn (or buy) something unavailable elsewhere, not only you have NOTHING to fear from Google's algorithm changes, you can even profit from them.

I think SEO in general is misunderstood.

You get pretty far with
A) Common sense
B) Walking a mile in your visitors' shoes

Why is a fast site important?
Why is good UX important?
Why are keyword clusters, silos, important?
Why are backlinks important?

Better to figure out why Google's doing what they're doing instead of blindly following seo blogs and doing exactly what they say.

Then again, that takes time. And effort. Don't know where I'm going with this. Oh well.
 

Andy Black

About to go on a video creation spree...
Staff member
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I think SEO in general is misunderstood.

You get pretty far with
A) Common sense
B) Walking a mile in your visitors' shoes

Why is a fast site important?
Why is good UX important?
Why are keyword clusters, silos, important?
Why are backlinks important?

Better to figure out why Google's doing what they're doing instead of blindly following seo blogs and doing exactly what they say.

Then again, that takes time. And effort. Don't know where I'm going with this. Oh well.
That’s my limited understanding of SEO. Make it so Google is doing searchers a disservice if they don’t find your page.
 

Alfie321

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Sep 29, 2016
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I'd say most businesses are suffering big time by adding a shit ton of 3rd party services and overall having crappy core web vitals scores. The demand for people who know how to fix these is insane, and the benefits are super cool. If you can make your site AMP compatible Google is going to promote it even more!

My website has a few months of being active and thanks to my web developer background I have being cautious about this (and in general, having decent UX and providing great yet easy to digest content) and I was able to gather 30k views last month. That's more than some of the clients the company I work for do on average.
 

NellyG

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 11, 2021
2
1
4
Google gets a very bad press on this forum and in MJ's books... especially Unscripted , where he even says "To hell with SEO!" (Though I hope it's just a misunderstanding.)

One of the biggest fears many Fastlaners have is that Google can simply kill your business overnight with an algorithm change.

But if you have a website that adds VALUE to people's lives, a website where they can learn (or buy) something unavailable elsewhere, not only you have NOTHING to fear from Google's algorithm changes, you can even profit from them.


Let's be clear: SEO is a MUST, whether you have an online-based business like me or not.

Yeah, I know, it's a very bad thing that only one search engine (Google) has a dominant position in the West (esp. here in Europe) ... but that's the way it is. It's called reality. Google is an unavoidable partner in business.

In today's age, when most people search for anything (even as simple as a restaurant, pizza joint, or barber shop/hairdresser), they usually search in Google.

And if the issue is buying a home or a car, finding a good school for their kids, or learning a new recipe, you can bet their research on Google will be extensive...

As the old adage says, "Google is your friend."


So, how can you thrive on Google? By following simple yet often ignored SEO best practices, such as:

  1. Having a website that loads VERY fast (under 3 sec) on both mobile and PC. Defer unimportant resources, compress your images, invest in a fast EXCLUSIVE server and a good CDN service.
  2. Optimizing your titles, H1 and H2 headings, text, image name and alt text, etc., with the right keywords (but don't go overboard, this is keyword stuffing, a shady tactic that Google has ZERO tolerance for).
  3. Targeting the RIGHT keywords to begin with: ones that people actually search for, yet not too generic and not too competitive (Keyword Difficulty). Obviously, you don't want to target "white dry wine from Alsace" if few people search for that, but you don't want to aim for the sky and compete for "wine" or even "white wine", as the competition for these keywords is insane.
  4. Creating content that is exhaustive, 100% accurate, documented, yet easy to understand for an 8th grader (the average American reads at 8th grade level). Content BETTER than what people can find on competitors' websites.
  5. Optimizing your website for mobile through responsive design (and a layout of the website that is simple to use on mobile).
  6. Not having a homepage where the entire screen (which is prime SEO real estate) is occupied exclusively by a background image, your logo, your slogan/motto, and the menu. People hate this.
  7. Getting well-earned backlinks from credible websites.
  8. And overall, delivering an OUTSTANDING user experience (UX) to website visitors.
  9. For local businesses, there's an entire set of rules that applies here which I won't list for the sake of brevity (but as an SEO analyst, I'll be happy to share them by PM if you want). The most important issues are customer reviews and being 100% consistent on your name, address, phone, and service hours in Google and in every other place where your business is listed.

So why have so many websites suffered from Google algorithm changes ?

Because their owners were guilty of one or more of the following:
  1. Keyword stuffing, i.e. abusively repeating the same keywords on the same website too often, just to get higher rankings. Big mistake: this is a black hat tactic that Google penalizes SEVERELY (sometimes even by removing your site completely from their index).
  2. Buying links from other websites, instead of earning them. Again, Google's policy in these cases is ZERO TOLERANCE.
  3. Having thin content on your subject which simply doesn't add any value to what other websites say on the same topic.
  4. Having duplicate content, either between several pages on your website or, even worse, with other people's websites.
  5. Failing completely to optimize your website with keywords (Google then has a hard time figuring out what it's about).
  6. Having a website that is very slow to load.
  7. Having a website so boring, or so hard to use, that people quit it in the first few seconds after clicking on your result.
  8. Having a website in the porn, pyramid scheme, and other illegal/barely legal industries.
  9. Failing to optimize your website for mobile (Google gives greater weight to how your website is displayed on mobile, in accordance to its "Mobile First" update; a lot of websites were penalized by this, hence this update was dubbed the "Mobilegeddon").
  10. Not having an SSL "secure connection" certificate.
  11. And again, as regards local businesses, being totally incoherent about your name, address, phone, and service/opening hours.
Unless you're guilty of one or more of these 11 sins, you need not fear Google's algorithm changes.

Hope this helps! Have a great weekend, folks!
Food for thought, thanks very much
 

David Fitz

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Speedway Pass
Jan 30, 2020
131
234
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Ireland
Is website SEO a must these days? I mean it's getting pushed further and further down the pecking order on the first page.

I had my Google ads turned off as I was busy and my Google My Business page got suspended for 3 days.

My website is ranked number 2 in my city.

The drop in calls was massive until I got my GMB back and ran some Google ads again.
 

Tourmaline

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jun 4, 2019
902
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Texas
So, how can you thrive on Google? By following simple yet often ignored SEO best practices, such as:

  1. Having a website that loads VERY fast (under 3 sec) on both mobile and PC. Defer unimportant resources, compress your images, invest in a fast EXCLUSIVE server and a good CDN service.
  2. Optimizing your titles, H1 and H2 headings, text, image name and alt text, etc., with the right keywords (but don't go overboard, this is keyword stuffing, a shady tactic that Google has ZERO tolerance for).
  3. Targeting the RIGHT keywords to begin with: ones that people actually search for, yet not too generic and not too competitive (Keyword Difficulty). Obviously, you don't want to target "white dry wine from Alsace" if few people search for that, but you don't want to aim for the sky and compete for "wine" or even "white wine", as the competition for these keywords is insane.
  4. Creating content that is exhaustive, 100% accurate, documented, yet easy to understand for an 8th grader (the average American reads at 8th grade level). Content BETTER than what people can find on competitors' websites.
  5. Optimizing your website for mobile through responsive design (and a layout of the website that is simple to use on mobile).
  6. Not having a homepage where the entire screen (which is prime SEO real estate) is occupied exclusively by a background image, your logo, your slogan/motto, and the menu. People hate this.
  7. Getting well-earned backlinks from credible websites.
  8. And overall, delivering an OUTSTANDING user experience (UX) to website visitors.
  9. For local businesses, there's an entire set of rules that applies here which I won't list for the sake of brevity (but as an SEO analyst, I'll be happy to share them by PM if you want). The most important issues are customer reviews and being 100% consistent on your name, address, phone, and service hours in Google and in every other place where your business is listed.

Which really, isn't this mostly needed for good UX anyways?

You speak an annoying truth that today Google is an inevitable business partner. The market relies on Google, so to not be in business with Google ourselves is denying what the market wants.

Although I'd point out that Microsoft has enough of a market share through Bing that it should not be ignored either.

Of course if one is against both Google and Microsoft, well goodluck to you.
 

TheFrancophile

Contributor
Feb 5, 2017
31
52
110
32
Lyon, France
Is website SEO a must these days? I mean it's getting pushed further and further down the pecking order on the first page.

I had my Google ads turned off as I was busy and my Google My Business page got suspended for 3 days.

My website is ranked number 2 in my city.

The drop in calls was massive until I got my GMB back and ran some Google ads again.
Hey everyone, sorry for replying late. Tonight I'll reply quickly to David and to the rest of you later this week.

David, while Google does often pack the first page with ads, you still have a decent chance of getting a decent amount of clicks IF your website is more relevant than these ads.
Plus, not all SERPs are packed with ads.
As you noted yourself, your website is ranked #2 in your hometown, congrats!

Regarding your GMB profile, I'm sorry to hear it got suspended. Google must have thought you were in violation of one of their policies... I guess.

But again, if your GMB is super detailed and informative, you have tons of positive reviews in GMB and elsewhere, and your Name, Address, Phone Number, and opening hours are consistent throughout the Net, you have a great chance of your business being included in the highly coveted Google Map Pack.

I agree with Tourmaline 100%.

Will be back later this week to answer other people's questions.
 

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