During a birthday party yesterday, I came across an article about MetaFilter, an online community for question-and-answers discussion board, by Fast Company. It was wildly coincidental that I just started reading up about SEO.
It discusses the affect of changes in the Google search algorithms as an attempt to optimize a users experience using Google searches by removing spam or suspicious links. Unfortunately, since algorithms are automagical, they may block sites that aren’t, in fact, actually a bad link. This unintentionally affects smaller or older sites, such as MetaFilter, who hasn’t changed much of their site since 1999. They lost 40 percent traffic overnight and they haven’t gotten better since. They count on donations and AdSense for revenue, so with the lack of funds, they’ve had to lay off 3 employees.
Matt Haughey, the founder of MetaFilter, goes on to write about the experience on Medium. It’s a great read about the difficulties in managing spam and a website in general, and how Google has so much control over any websites destiny (Google averages 2/3 of the share of searches in the U.S., as of December 2013).
With Google moving more towards semantic searching in the recent Hummingbird update to their search algorithm, it’s clear that, even if you don’t do much SEO for your site, to just produce high quality content and Google will make sure the traffic will find you.
Also read Frederik Trovatten’s story on how he got into the field of marketing after almost failing high school, but is now the Chief Marketing Officer at Theory & Practice. He also includes some very useful tips and relevant articles and posts!