We all know that Google changes the search algorithm several times a day. Sometimes the changes are minor tweaks, and other times we get a larger, more impactful update in the vein of Panda, Penguin or Possum.

Google hasn’t confirmed anything yet, but it looks like there was another large update to the algorithm that took effect in early March. Webmasters and ranking reporting softwares all noticed an abrupt shift in rankings this week.

The latest update, which is being referred to unofficially as “Fred” by developers since it doesn’t have a catchy, Google-sponsored moniker yet, seems to be weighing the quality of backlinks more heavily than previous algorithm tweaks.

What does that mean for your small-business website? Well, let’s take a look.

The Game Changes Yet Again

If you’ve been reading this blog even remotely frequently, you’ll know that the one constant in online search rankings is that there is always something new rolling out. Google claims that they make changes to the search algorithm three times a day on average, which equals out to over 600 changes each year!

This constant change means that as a business owner, you’re probably not able to keep up with every little tweak and change that comes along. Your online rankings may suffer a bit due to this constant evolution, since you’re busy running your business instead of keeping up with the latest search engine news.

I’ve said it several times before, but I’ll throw it out once more: you need a professional to manage your online presence, and they need to be managing it on a daily basis. While that doesn’t have to be an outside agency (hiring an internet marketing manager in-house to maintain your presence may be more cost effective, depending on your business), getting a seasoned SEO and SEM expert to man your campaign will help you to stay relevant online as the rules are amended.

Sneaky Backlinks Won’t Work

One of the things we cover in this blog on a frequent basis is the quality and accuracy of SEO versus taking short-cuts to get to the top of the search engine. White Hat Tactics are always the best way to get long-lasting, Google-approved presence online that will help drive your web traffic through the roof.

No matter how much we advocate against it, there will always be those who try to get quick rankings by using Black Hat SEO tactics, one of the most popular of which is link farming to get additional backlink credit.

This new update seems to be focusing heavily on the quality of backlinks that refer back to your domain, not the quantity. That means that flooding your site with low-quality backlinks won’t help you increase your rankings. In fact, it may actually hurt them, according to some of the early report on this new “Fred” update.

Google has stated repeatedly that it is intensifying efforts to catch and penalize those who try to “trick” the algorithm by using these cheap, sneaky SEO practices. The Fred update sure seems like another step in that direction.

Moral of the story: make sure your SEO company is putting in the work to develop long-lasting, quality rankings that are in line with Google’s recommended practices. If you don’t, it could come back to haunt you later.

Content Still Matters

You’ll notice the one thing that nobody has mentioned about this update, though, is that it minimizes the importance of quality content on the website itself.

That’s because anyone in the industry will tell you, content is still the most important factor in quality SEO. Even though this update does increase the importance of quality backlinks, it doesn’t diminish the massive amount of value that the algorithm places on content.

Your site may have dozens of very high-quality backlinks that are perfectly in line with the latest update, but if your on-page content stinks, Google still isn’t going to rank your site very well.

The fact of the matter is that content is king. It always has been, and probably always will be. Make sure to keep that in mind when implementing new SEO strategies into your website.

Get With A Pro

If you need assistance with your website and want to keep your business ranking high on the search engines (or you noticed one of your competitors isn’t updating their program to account for the newest changes and you want to take their place at the top of the heap), contact our team of experts at Citywide SEO today. Visit our website or give us a call at 210-200-8924.