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Change is in the air for SEO. What’s new?

Update: This piece about SEO components may help further this discussion.

As always SXSW in Austin is a great experience to stay at the forefront of all developments related to search and social. I attended last week with a few of my KPA colleagues and had the opportunity to attend many discussions with search engine optimization thought leaders.  Search was a hotter topic at this year’s conference than it has been in the recent past because the core of the conference, interactive, is watching search become an important component. This time last year, most viewed search and social as two different things but we’re realizing that search is adopting social and social is integrating into search in ways that makes it necessary for a conversation about one to include the other.

 

Automotive SEO is at a crossroads. We do not have to wait for the upcoming changes that Matt Cutts announced at SXSW. I think it is important for everyone at ADM to understand that when they talk about over-optimized websites they are not looking at 99.9% of car dealers. The automotive industry is localized in a way that only the most offensively-optimized websites shooting for irrelevant keywords will be affected by the changes.

 

What will happen at Google as well as Bing in the coming weeks is the concept of quality over quantity. To the handful of vendors and practitioners of automotive SEO that I personally respect, quality is at the heart of what works. It worked well in 2010. It worked better in 2011. It’s separating the properly-optimized sites from the spammy ones on a daily basis in 2012.

 

The only reason to fear the changes that are coming up for both major search engines is if you do not have an expert on your side who is watching them. I take pride in being someone who eats, breaths, and lives search and social every single day and it makes my job more enjoyable when concepts such as search and social integration, quality over quantity, and content marketing in SEO start to show up more prominently. It lets me know that the poor techniques used by competitors that once worked will not be a challenge now or in the future.

 

Change takes place all the time. Matt Cutts explained that Google introduces over 500 algorithm changes every year (something I wrote about last August). It’s my passion to keep up and understand these changes. It’s my passion to include these changes in KPA’s social and search services as we’ve been doing since 2003. And it’s my passion to share the most important ones with the dealer community through my blogs and educational webinars.

 

I just finished discussing these changes further at the Innovative Dealer Summit and will expand on it in May at the Automotive Boot Camp. Let’s keep the conversation going here and I encourage everyone to learn which side of the aisle your automotive SEO vendor is on before buying their service or listening to their training.

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Tags: J. D. Rucker, Rucker, google, search, seo, sxsw

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Comment by J.D. Rucker on March 26, 2012 at 11:51pm

@Stan - Thanks a ton! I appreciate the compliments coming from you.

@Tom - It has always been a matter of quality versus quantity to some extent. The changes that are now starting to show up are more focused on the quality component. It's important that dealers and their vendors use the SEO principles that are long-term, sustainable, and result-driven rather than anything that is, as you call them, "slick". There's a difference between being slick and being smart, and it's through top-notch education and honest conversations on networks like these and in private that the differences between slick and smart can be found.

Comment by Stan Sher on March 26, 2012 at 9:37pm

I appreciate your updates.  You are a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.  Keep it up my friend.

Comment by Tom Gorham on March 26, 2012 at 8:36pm

@JD - I really appreciate this article.  For me, the key is not whether anyone is using  link farming but whether anyone is using slick methods to get to their goal rather than using honest effort.  When you look to the easy way out, you lose in the end.  This is true with SEO and also with Customer Reviews.  If it sounds too good to be true, it is.  As Google and others become more sophisticated in discovery, they have a duty to their own reputation to come down on those who don't earn their way to the top of the page.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on March 26, 2012 at 2:46pm

@Tom - Exactly. Nice find. The SEOpacalypse is here for many who rely on splog networks. Thankfully, nobody I know in the automotive industry is using link farming or splogging as a method of improving SEO, but I haven't looked at everyone. Quality, quality, quality - that's the name of the SEO game going forward.

Comment by Tom Gorham on March 26, 2012 at 9:20am

From Site Pro News, "March has brought the effective closure of 'Build My Rank' (BMR), along with the 'laying off' of thousands of people who relied heavily on the service they once to provided. The announcement made on their website basically acknowledged that the vast majority of their network had been de-indexed by Google. For those who don't know, BMR provided a 'private network' of blog/article websites which were utilized commercially by people looking to develop back-link juice for their own website(s).

It was also interesting to see Google anti-spam spokesperson Matt Cutts acknowledge the latest victory and announce to the rest of the Internet black-hat world that they are firmly on the Google radar screen... While many 'exposed' webmasters scurry around wondering what to do to protect their crumbling empires, it should be stated that now would be a good time to rethink one's strategy regarding search engine traffic."

http://www.sitepronews.com/

Comment by J.D. Rucker on March 24, 2012 at 9:55pm

@Tom Well said. There are certain principles in proper SEO that will always be true despite the whims of Google and Bing.

High-quality, value-driven content will win over automation in the long run every time.

One high-quality, authoritative and relevant link is better than 100 bad links.

Consistent growth is better than a burst of SEO juice.

These things will never change as long as search engines continue to improve their understanding of what people want and how they search.

Comment by Tom Gorham on March 24, 2012 at 7:28pm

Thanks JD.

@Kevin - I read the article you linked to.  Black Hats will always be around.  Everyone looks for an easy-out.  Bypass hard work and effort.  Bypass quality for instant gratification.  My take is that you do the hard work legitimately and it pays off in the long run.  Incremental efforts build into lasting success that isn't vulnerable to the "whims of change".  Black Hats shoot to the top and then dive to the bottom with every change.

Comment by Rocco Penn on March 23, 2012 at 12:09am

KPA SEO has content at its core, which is why the changes that Google discusses shouldn't worry people as much as it has.


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Comment by Patrick Ucci on March 22, 2012 at 2:43pm

All the information is a testament to the passion that we all share in this space. I will throw my white hat in the ring on this as well since unique and non-automated content should be the standing rule as to what gains the most merit. If not then we are ruled by robotic methods and the quality and originality is lost. Great stuff JD!

Comment by J.D. Rucker on March 22, 2012 at 2:02pm

@Rocco - You rocked it.

@Kevin - Yes, and that's the most frustrating part of our job. Luckily, it's better now than it was a year ago and trends are pointing towards quality having more of an influence than quantity in the near future.

@Marc - Perfectly stated. The foundation of quality content leads to the proper links and social interactions that help us most in the automotive industry. Unlike other industries, ours is relatively light on black hats. We benefit from the mass competition that makes our jobs harder in the short term but easier long term. It helps keep the bad guys away from automotive.

@Richard - For a little background for everyone else, there was a time in the past when we considered the techniques that others were employing. We fought long and hard over the issue but in the end we decided to stand our ground on the quality issue and has been paying off (finally) in the last year in ways that we can be proud of.

@Laurie - Thanks for the sentiment. Again, it goes back to decisions of direction that we made in the past that took a while but are finally paying off. People like Pasch and I have been fighting for content, social, quality, and "the hard way" for years and it's good to see the industry is abandoning the negative ways, particularly here on ADM.

@Matt - You and I have nothing to worry about. The changes they discussed at SXSW only strengthen the principles that KPA and PCG have promoted for years.

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