In late August, Google announced that they would be terminating the Authorship program, which was originally implemented to allow the search engine to rank content according to the authority of the person who created it. This resulted in a number of users feeling irritated, especially when the announcement was hidden in a Google+ thread posted at the end of the day.
To stop yourself from going absolutely batty, we have compiled these 5 rules to keep in mind when thinking about Google:
1. What if this feature is terminated?
Anytime you use a tool from Google (or any third party you have no control over), it is important to ask yourself what the plan is if and when the tool is dissolved. Ask yourself what you would do if Facebook or Twitter were to disappear tomorrow – when tools and programs are terminated, it literally happens overnight.
2. Google owes you nothing
Keep in mind that ranking in Google is not a right – you don’t “deserve” to have your content found by any search engine, and it’s not a service that you have been promised. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that, because they have put a lot of work into being found on search engines, that they are somehow entitled to the top position.
3. You owe Google nothing
It is also important to note that you don’t work for Google, so whether or not you want to abide by their best practices is up to you. You need to make this decision like an adult, weighing up the pros and cons. Spending hours trying to understand what Google are saying between the lines is just going to leave you more confused and frustrated.
4. Use the tool for what it’s good for
You need to understand that search engine optimisation is a long-term solution, and that there are other ways to connect and engage with your audience in the meantime. If you can tweak your content without messing it up for human readers, go for it; if you can afford to hire a whole team that is dedicated to search, do it.
5. Always serve the audience first
Remember that Google’s robots don’t have credit cards – they can’t buy your product or service. Therefore, instead of trying to serve Google, you should be trying to serve those people who will (hopefully) become your customers. This means creating content that is of interest to them, meets their needs, is useful and entertaining.
By keeping each of these rules in mind whenever you deal with Google, you will find the process a lot less frustrating and will actually be prepared for every eventuality. Trying to do everything under the sun to please Google isn’t going to get you very far, especially when they terminate your favourite tool without notice and don’t like to say what they mean.