The relationship between Google and the average website owner is indeed a complicated one.  Google has made many enemies over the past couple of years because of its controversial algorithm changes…and yet who doesn’t want to impress Google and be on the receiving end of a traffic hike?

The Google dynamic is highly sensitive, but truthfully, it is a relationship based on honesty.  The basic point these algorithm updates have reiterated is that Google wants white hat SEO methods, and is turning its back on SPAM, and SPAM-like content that is written cheaply and with SEO manipulation in mind.

This means avoiding keyword stuffing, avoiding cheap and easy links, and avoiding “content mill” style writing which basically recycles material into something barely readable.  The entire idea of the content mill is based on “cheap and easy writing” which will create a link or two.  However, the latest algorithms are now penalizing sites that do just this – namely, create dozens and dozens of “too easy” links in a shallow effort to boost reputation.

So yes, Google is going overboard and may accidentally be penalizing quality sites that simply have a few too many cheap backlinks.  However, by taking a stricter approach to quality control – actually analyzing your links and your content and checking them for black hat or gray hat techniques (i.e. poorly worded content, over-optimized anchor text, excessive keywording) you can avoid the penalties that are befalling many companies right now.

The mistake so many websites are making today – and paying for dearly – is to assume that they are safe from Google’s Panda-Penguin updates simply because they have quality content.  It is a far better idea to scrutinize your content well in advance and focus on giving a “clean” and “pure” product to the almighty Google Bot.  Do this and avoid Panda, Penguin and whatever other scare comes your way.

Keep your SEM strategy clean and honest and you will prevail.