Why can’t search-engine optimization be something you just set up once and be done with it? Why must there always be more waves of tweaks, updates, and changes required in order to optimize for the search engines? Why does it always seem like things are a bit chaotic in the world of SEO?
There’s an old saying that I think applies here: “The only true constant is change.” This applies to search engines as much as anything. Google changes, so does Bing, and so do DuckDuckGo and the others. It’s a constant battle.
These upgrades can throw SEO into a tailspin until it has been brought in line with the latest reality. Just do a little searching and you’ll find that Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird are not just the names of cute woodland creatures, but also the titles of updates and algorithms that created serious waves in the SEO industry.
Here are a few resources that I’ve found to be extremely useful in keeping abreast of the changes. After all, you can’t adhere to current standards if you don’t know what they are.
Five Online Resources
- Matt Cutt’s Blog. Coming from the head of Google’s WebSpam Team, it’s not surprising that the content here is Google-centric. This is a great place to keep track of current announcements about changes on Google’s end, as well as the odd tutorial. Since this is the guy whose team is behind many of the changes that are implemented, it’s a top-notch resource, but only for Google information.
- Google Webmaster Central Blog. Another way to stay current on how the biggest gorilla in the room is changing its game is Google’s comprehensive webmaster blog. Info about crawling and indexing, and other aspects of search usually see the light of day here first. Rock-solid advice from the people who wrote the code, on topics like how to handle a site move. It’s also the place you can download Google’s SEO Starter Guide, an indispensible starting point for those just beginning with SEO. It also contains a few tips that might be new to you even if you’ve been in the game a while.
- Google Webmasters YouTube Channel is for those who prefer their news and tutorials in video form. It’s well worth following both the YouTube channel and the blog since they cover different content. Personally, I like having this stuff on video, and since YouTube is the second largest search engine, right after parent company Google, it’s a no-brainer for them to keep it alive and updated. Another nice thing about the YouTube channel is that content is provided in a number of different languages. The biggest strength of this channel is that it is chock-full of video tutorials and videos of Google specialists answering questions submitted by the community.
- The main topics on Search Engine Land are search engine marketing, searching issues, and the search engine industry. The team leader is Danny Sullivan, a journalist who has covered search for the past 11 years. This is one of my personal go-to websites. Another vital thing about this website is the fact that search as a general topic comes under scrutiny here, not just Google like the earlier entries on this list. Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and the entire search ecosystem are examined by the site’s impressive pool of talent.
- Search Engine Watch has lots of helpful stuff, and a vibrant and responsive set of forums. In addition to the SEO subjects covered, it also has dedicated sections for a number of topics only lightly covered by the previously listed websites — PPC, mobile, and analytics, to name a few.
All of the resources listed above have an active presence across mainstream social media platforms, so you connect with them on the ones you use. That’s a wonderful thing about the modern day: You get to choose your own method of interaction.
Things move fast online, and the sooner you can be made aware of any shifts in the landscape, the more rapidly you can deploy proper measures to help protect your search ranking. Seismic shifts — such as when Google stopped letting you see specific search terms in analytics — can sometimes call for radical or extensive reconfiguration of both websites and strategy. Keeping up with these changes should allow you to stay on the leading edge of responsiveness.
Change is a constant, which makes trying to stand on a fixed point somewhat futile. The best way to handle it is to learn to surf the wave of change, and the best way to do that is to have the best and most current data possible.
What about you, dear readers? What are some of your go-to sources for information on the ever-changing needs of SEO? Share them with us in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!
Image by Melty’s Stock
George “Loki” Williams is the community and brand manager for award wining game company Savage Mojo, Ltd. and the owner of SocialGumbo, LLC, an online consultancy specializing in Web content and online communications. Loki has produced content for clients including the Open Society Institute, National Association of Broadcasters, Kobold Press, and Kaiser Permanente. His work has been seen or written about in The New York Times, The BBC, Air America, The Gambit Weekly, and NOLA.com, among others.