Five Step Guide: Gaming Google for the Long Term

Google makes approximately 500 search algorithm changes a year. Looked at another way, Google averages two algorithm changes every business day. Wow.

Many of these changes, like the well publicized rounds of Google’s Panda updates, are designed to remove ways companies have found to game Google’s search results. So how do you keep up with all the changes Google makes?

Focus on the one thing Google is focused on. Focus on your audience.

1. Know Your Audience

What are your audience’s priorities? If you sell insurance and their priorities are risk management and lowering healthcare cost, you need to know. Connect to your audience through their priorities, not your product offerings.

2. Learn their Language

How do they describe their problems, solutions, company, industry and clients? Are they clients, customers or partners? If you don’t know, you don’t know your audience yet.

3. Create Content For Your Audience

Create content that addresses your audience’s priorities, problems and solutions, using the language they use.

  • Describe your content accurately in titles, headlines and links.
  • Avoid using your own company’s unique language.

If you cannot do this, briefly revisit steps one and two.

4. Curate Content For Your Audience

Find great content that addresses your audience’s biggest concerns and share it with your audience, via all of your channels. Ensure this content is available through your website as well in way that respects original sources and makes it easy for your audience to access. and GetCurata can bring content you find onto your site. If you regularly share via Twitter, consider Twylah also. Neal Schaffer’s (@NealSchaffer) post has additional information: Twitter SEO? Think Twylah.

5. Participate in the Content Community

Your company does not exist in a vaccuum, get out and comment on blogs and articles, join forums, and publish on other sites. Like the content you create on your own site and curate from others, your community participation should always add value to your audience.


Whatever you do, focus on your audience. Anytime you are tempted to game Google, remember: If your game is gaming Google, Google’s goal is to beat you at your game. [Tweet This]

Your Turn

What other ways do you improve your search position by focusing on your audience? Share your advice in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

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  • Micah Nyatsambo

    Usually the things that make sense are not as sexy as the latest grey/blackhat tips that will guarantee rankings and traffic for hard to rank terms. 

    • Thanks Micah! Good point, when SEO claims seem to good to be true, they probably are.

  • Nice article Eric

  • Hi Eric,

    Great advice. SEO is a wonderful game. Since Google’s algorithm is complex and secret, SEO experts can claim that they know more about the secret than others. And since that knowledge can be neither verified nor refuted, it’s a great way to sow doubt among those insecure about the quality of their content. Paging Bernie Madoff.

    • Great point Chris, thanks. Just make sure you identify the Madoff’s in search before getting suckered in, right?

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  • Eric,

    I wouldn’t know how to game Google if I tried. LOL.  But I am learning better SEO practices to get that audience to my blog so I can write for them.  For the last year I focused on social engagement and this has brought me an engaged community at my blog.  But I lacked in getting “strangers” from searches on my blog.  2012 is going to be about both.

    You are right, though, I believe Google also “sees” that engagement within your blog and it helps with your rankings.  It’s like Google can see that you are giving great content and they want a piece of it too by placing you higher in its searches. 

    Google has millions to spend on getting the “game” out of searches.  Bloggers that try to game the system don’t have those millions.  Google will win. LOL.


    • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! You have created a great community on your blog, you are clearly doing a lot of things right. As you focus more on search this year, I expect you will see that side of your blog pick up significantly too.

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