When it comes to knowing the latest happenings in the world of search engine optimization, few people are as knowledgeable as Todd Malicoat. Todd was kind enough to make the journey all the way from Florida to Royal Oak, Mich. to join me for our latest SEO Web Talk Radio Show.

As it seems with every week, there are a lot of things changing with SEO and search. Todd reinforced that in order to stay ahead of the game, or at least even, you have to keep up with all the latest news and updates. Especially from Google. But even then, “you’ll never know all the moving parts,” he said. He added that if you pay close enough attention, you should be able to see changes coming ahead of time.

In Google’s ideal world, there would be no SEOs

SEO Consultant Todd Malicoat

This would be Google’s dream come true. But luckily for us, that will never be the case. Todd aptly points out that Google’s over-optimization penalty has always existed, but they let the world know about it under the facade of “transparency.” If Google was really concerned with being transparent it would tell us exactly what factors come into play with site rankings. That will never happen and that’s why it’s crucial to document everything you do with respect to your site’s optimization.

Wil Reynolds of SEER Interactive recently showed us just how important documentation really is. In the matter of 12 hours, Reynolds’ site went from being No. 1 in the rankings for its name (SEER Interactive), as well as other search terms, to not ranking at all. SEER’s link profile is extensive (and legitimate), which is why Reynolds was so dumbfounded at its plummet. In his blog post, he said that friends found “a LOT of architectural issues, lazy crap I never thought would impact us (and still don’t) but it is sloppy.”

This goes to show that no matter who you are, where your links are from and how big your social signals are, your site is still susceptible to Google’s algorithm changes.

Link equity goes social

With all of Google’s changes in the past few months (not to mention the past year or two), the backbone of having a good site ranking is still links. But it’s not the same as it once was. The effectiveness of link exchanges was destroyed years ago and now just baiting for links isn’t going to do the trick. It’s not good enough to just have other sites, blogs, etc. linking back to your site. And we know we beat this horse to death every week, but you have to be social and you have to produce quality content.

Quality content will ideally get you “social validation” for your blog posts and other site pages. It’s these social signals, especially within Google+, that will help keep your site atop the rankings. If you’re not being social on a regular basis, get on that. Yesterday.

If you’d like to hear more about what Todd and I discuss in this week’s podcast, listen below!

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