Why You Need to Keep Educating Yourself on SEO
The SEO industry doesn’t stand still. As is evidenced by the recent Google Instant update [see: Why Google Instant Won't Destroy SEO], anything can come along and shift the focus of the work done and the way in which you have to approach optimisation. For this reason your efforts to educate yourself on SEO should never stop.
Google could announce tomorrow that inbound links from sites of PR 2 or below won’t count towards your site’s overall strength anymore. As unimaginable as that is (both in the sense of the content of the announcement and the fact that Google would make it in the first place), the need to keep up with the latest thinking on the subject and amend your understanding is vital.
The fundamentals of good content and a decent linking structure will always provide the solid core of SEO; however, the subtleties can vary over time. What was once considered commonplace may now be entirely obsolete. Just consider the impact of no-follow links. Suddenly sites were using these to try to maintain PR rather than avoid linking to sites you don’t necessarily trust or know. Misunderstandings build and the reality is lost.
Google have since said that you can’t PageRank sculpt with nofollowed links; however, if you were a SEO student circa 2008 you might still be tempted to use it as such. In fact many people still use nofollow purely because they aren’t sure. It’s a maddening world sometimes.
Search Engine Optimisation as we know is all about appeasing the whims of Google an co. Therefore you always have to be mindful of the latest ranking factors. Last year for instance Google officially introduced page load time as a factor. Therefore this becomes a part of an SEO’s armoury. If you want to optimise, you have to have a fast site now.
Whilst we can safely assume that you won’t suddenly be catapulted to the top of Google just because your site takes a few hundredths of a second less to load than your rivals, simply ignoring page load time is now impossible. When the search engines change, so must the way we optimise.
Again, another recent example of where sites had to change focus was with the Mayday update earlier this year. Suddenly huge numbers of sites dramatically dropped in the rankings of Google. During an algorithm update the search giant decided to reward sites on a page by page basis and remove a number of long tail results. So if your links were all going to your home page and you had generic manufacturer’s descriptions throughout your site you could safely wave goodbye to your inflated position.
This can completely bypass anybody who isn’t constantly looking for the latest SEO news. There are plenty of basics that we can all learn, but ignoring the latest updates will see you fall short in your optimisation efforts.