Since the first edition of this book was published, Google has launched several substantial algorithm changes, notably the “Mayday” update of May 201019 and the series of “Panda” updates, beginning in February 2011.20

In addition, search itself has evolved. As described earlier in this book, Google Instant suggests queries as a searcher types. Maps, website previews, interactive elements, and other additions beyond links are increasingly being incorporated into search results.

Many people have asked how I would change the advice in this book based on these types of high-impact changes to search. My answer? I wouldn’t change any of my strategic advice. The best strategy is always to solve your audience’s problems. Build websites that meet customer needs, not ones that match some perceived set of algorithms. Certainly, from a tactical perspective, as new types of media are displayed in search results and Web technologies improve, you can take advantage of those improvements (see more on this in Chapter 7).

But Google’s latest algorithms aren’t a shift in focus—they aren’t now valuing different types of pages and content. Rather, Google (and other search engines) are getting better at identifying the types of pages they’ve tried to display for searchers all along—those that best meet searcher needs.

Google’s Panda algorithm in particular received a lot of attention in 2011. Google has said that it “was designed to improve the user experience by catching ...

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