The last three years have been something of a roller coaster ride for SEOs. From the initial Google Panda update to the more recent Penguin and its followers, an endless barrage of changes to Google’s algorithm have transformed SEO from a deeply math-driven science into something more closely resembling abstract art.

While black hat SEOs and data-driven marketers might be frustrated by the endless changes to Google’s search formula, the search quality updates have been a blessing in disguise for white hat SEOs more concerned with legitimate marketing than link spam and bland, SEO-friendly content.

The unspoken truth of these updates is, of course, that the low quality websites we see dropping out of the search engine rankings are making space for real websites – the type that, according to Google’s webmaster guidelines, should be occupying the top search placements in the first place.

To survive Google’s wave of updates, you need to be on the white hat end of the SEO scale. For marketers, webmasters, and small businesses, this means developing your SEO strategy around the following tactics:

  • High quality, user-friendly content that informs, educated, and entertains your readers instead of boring them with endless keywords and facts that aren’t of interest.
  • Organic, useful, Wikipedia-style internal linking between your pages. Have you mentioned a useful concept in a blog post that you’ve written about in the past? Link to it using a relevant anchor text for a powerful SEO boost.
  • Real inbound links from websites that aren’t simply link farms. Many SEOs fail to realize than when low-value websites are punished by Google, high-value websites are implicitly rewarded with a relative increase in value.
  • An all-round SEO plan that’s closer to a traditional PR campaign – news coverage, blogger reviews, and other organic press attention – than the artificial SEO coverage that many in the industry are used to.

In short, the latest wave of Google search updates punished low quality websites that set out to break the rules, but it also rewarded websites that build their SEO efforts around helping their users. It’s an answer that, despite seeming obvious to outside observers, seemed to be completely ignored by most of the SEO industry.

Recently, Google’s head of webspam hinted at additional changes to the algorithm that would be a loose continuation of the initial Penguin update. As always, most of the SEO industry went into the same state as before: sheer panic. Tweets were fired out at rapid velocity and backlink profiles were checked over with an eye for detail.

The reality, however, is that SEOs shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The past updates to Google’s algorithm have targeted the most obvious of black hat tactics – automated mass link building, low quality ‘search engine food’ content, and inbound linking profiles that are clearly designed to trick the search engine itself.

If you’re building your website using the traditional PR model – high quality, real links, organic discussion, and fantastic on-site optimization, you shouldn’t fear the next search quality update. In fact, as a white hat Los Angeles SEO with little to be scared of, you should be patiently waiting its likely positive effect on your search engine rank

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