The Quick Summary
The big data revolution has arrived and those choosing to forgo the tools to analyze what works will continue to fall behind. As more SEOs help to highlight past algo changes, a function of chasing the algorithm, they are contributing to stopping rumors of what you should incorrectly do for your website. Furthermore, given that the UX on your website (local) may differ on Google’s (global) scale, should you not know what works best for your users?
Given that Google asks you to do more than just building a valuable site by focusing on cleaning up links you never purchased, one must remember Google is not perfect having to ask for help from SEOs in noting when their algorithms break. As such, it’s your duty, as an advanced SEO, to chase after the algorithm in order to provide the best SEO marketing for your business.
Welcome to the Data RevolutionImage credit: SiSense
Nearly every job industry is undergoing a data revolution, including in areas such as comedy through building a comedic robot or through data mining a comedian’s own audience to determine which jokes to use based on the small audience’s demographics. When companies focused on the stock market are investing in econometrics to predict human behavior on when the stock market will rise or fall, Google’s algorithm is easy in comparison and should be a part of your SEO repertoire to figure it out as best you can.
Recall what’s been researched and written via Freakonomics or Gun, Germs, and Steel. The value of data and making connections is only increasing over time and at the speed of which technology changes, the more one continues to refuse to chase algorithms, the faster you will fall behind the data marketers your competitors are using (the 2012 campaign between Romney vs Obama is another similar example of why using big data properly matters) to win in the SERPs.
Algorithm History is Chasing the AlgorithmImage credit: screenshot of Moz.com’s algorithm history
When you try to figure out what happened, you are, in effect, chasing the algorithm. When you monitor your rankings, read surveys of what other SEOs think matters, look at past Google patents, or pay attention to correlation studies, these are all a function of wondering about Google’s algorithm and how you should improve your site for the search engine and for your users.
Knowing whether something occurred on a specific day or whether an H1 matters is equivalently the same thing. The difference is the degree to which you are trying to understand the algorithm and whether you are looking into the past versus the present. To claim that it is wrong to chase the algorithm while caring about when Panda or Penguin hit smacks of hypocrisy.
Rumors Run Rampant, Stop Them Quickly
Unless you shy away from the SEO industry, you’ll know that rumors run rampant and nothing faster makes businesses distrust SEOs than the non-SEOs that believe in every hype about what you should do to improve one’s website. Not knowing how to do SEO and what works is why some have come to view SEO with distrust, not to do with white or black hat tactics.
Thus, it’s your job to know whether you need to spend the effort in to telling a client whether to spend a lot of money to insert an H1 tag or whether to leave it alone. It’s your job to tell them whether the 100 links in the footer is going to be a problem for their internal linking or whether Google ignores those completely.
Additionally, it’s your job to stay up-to-date with the newest tactics, tips, and tricks so you don’t go recommending to your clients how Google’s nofollow used to work rather than how it currently works. That means both paying attention to the experts who often have to chase the algorithm to find this out and by running those tests yourself to stay ahead of your competition.